Let The Travel Begins

Sorry for the radio silence. Yesterday was Vietnam’s Independence Day, and we had a long weekend (which coincided with Labor Day weekend – hope my US readers had a good time!) so my family decided to have a road trip to our hometown. It’s also sort of a preparation for me and Debbi, now that September is here and we’re going to start our traveling for earnest. More posts about the trip will be up later this week, but for now, here’s something from our outing last Friday. We went out for dinner, had delicious Black Forest cake for dessert, and went to a bar ran by my friend from high school to watch some pretty good short films. Other than the fact that we got lost trying to find the bar even though it’s right there (never rely on Google Maps in the maze of Hanoi Old Quarter), it was fun.

On me: tailor-made dress (it was my mom’s but she decided it was too young for her), Target belt, Payless flats
On Debbi: tailor-made shorts, Target cardigan, Gap tank top

The Black Forest cake, and an Engrish menu (the “jambon and format” one is actually ham and cheese, from the French “jambon” and “frommage”)

By the way, this is the inspiration for next week’s Style Imitating Art – Portrait of Louise Trudaine by Jacques-Louis David. I thought we’d go back to something simple this time.

Recipe: Upside-down Cake

For my first recipe post, I decided it would be best if I make it a baking recipe. I like cooking as much as baking, but I cook because I have to eat, whereas I bake because I enjoy it.

Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.

What You Need:
A 9-inch cake pan, or a cast iron skillet
Fruit Layer:

3 Ts butter
3/4 C packed light brown sugar
Sliced fruits enough to cover the bottom of your pan in a thick layer  – anything you like, peaches, apricots, plums, pears, apples, or, the traditional, pineapple (I used 4 small nectarines)
Berries (optional. I added blueberries before, but they’re not on sale now)
Cake Layer:

1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 ts vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 1/2 ts baking powder
1/4 ts salt
1/2 C whole milk, room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in your pan (I do it on the stove. If you’re using cake pan, just stick it in the oven.) Add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar is melted and begins to bubble. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Once cool, arrange the fruit in a pinwheel design, added berries if used.

3. Beat the 1/2 C of butter and sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla, then one egg at a time, until smooth.

4. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Do not overmix.

5. Spread the batter over the fruit, then bake for 45 minutes to one hour.

6. Remove from oven, let cool, then place a cake plate on top, and flip the cake out on to the plate. Ta-da!