Monday, February 06, 2006

The cake that ate our electricity

Sure, we were getting a little cocky. Two space heaters, two dehumidifiers, the occasional vacuum cleaner, and all the table lamps you could want. For six glorious days we were environmentally unsound, scarfing down all the electricity we could get our hands on. But it wasn't enough. I had to go and try to bake.

Baking: one of the things, right up there with blow-drying my hair, that would make me feel most at home. And it wasn't anything fancy, just a bizcocho, which is the Spanish version of something between a sponge cake and a pound cake. I had to improvise the recipe since the Spanish recipes I have all called for metric measures, and I only have American ones, conscientiously imported. I had to melt the butter instead of creaming it, since we don't yet have a mixer, but the batter tasted fine.

After the bizcocho had spent three minutes in the oven, however, the power blew--all of it, right as dark was falling. To be honest, I knew that back when we were running off of water power, the oven, which is gas but has an electric broiler, routinely overloaded the circuits. But I had hoped that now that we have some 17,000 watts at our disposal, I'd be able to bake a simple cake. I would be wrong.

So, we turned off the oven, lit all the candles in the house, and finished making dinner. After, as we huddled next to the fire for warmth, Geoff pointed out that since the electricity was already gone we might as well re-light the gas and finish baking the cake. So we did, and spent our Sunday night eating steaming bizcocho in the dark.

The recipe:

2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
125 g (sorry. that's the size they come in) plain yogurt.

Mix everything together. Pour into greased baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Serve warm.

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