Projects and Updates, 2021Q2

So I've been baking recently...

Projects and Updates, 2021Q2

So I've been baking recently...

Playlist of music in this post: Spotify

Baking Science is the Best Science
A friend recently said "baking science is the best science", which is hard to argue against...



Here are some recent baking adventures.

Earl Grey Cupcakes
I've been experimenting with an Earl Grey cake recipe, to ultimately make Earl Grey cupcakes. The first few attempts were too dense for my tastes.


A too dense example

Researching other cake recipes[1] gave me ideas for tinkering with the recipe's flour:

  • Using cake flour instead of the all-purpose flour the recipe requests.
  • Reducing the flour from 190 g to 160 g.

The result was much better... next up is testing 160 g of normal flour, to see how it compares to 160 g of cake flour.



160 g cake flour

My cookies have been baking flat, recently, and I've found the culprit...


More precise measurements replaced a flour heavy hand

After buying a digital scale, I started using the recipe's 300 g of flour exactly. When I was using 2.5 cups the weight was probably closer to 350 g.


340 g flour; still a touch flat, but we're getting closer

The Pandemic confessions of an outgoing introvert
It's Memorial Day weekend and I've spent a maskless 8 hours playing games and eating brownies with 7 other adults and an almost two-year-old. The almost two-year-old likes it when she's looking at me and I notice her looking at me; she doesn't like it when she's not looking at me and I notice her anyway. There's normally nothing abnormal about this scene. This particular weekend, it's a palpable sign that the COVID-19 pandemic is ending for me and I should figure out how to deal with whatever comes next.

At some point during the pandemic I deleted all of my calendar's recurring events. My calendar (not me) dictated what I would be doing throughout all the hours of every day. Since none of those recurring events would happen for over a year, I decided to directly acknowledge that particular truth and delete them. I assumed the act would be melancholy or upsetting; it was a relief unlike anything I've ever experienced.

Some existential dread notwithstanding[2], I felt healthier during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, my joie de vivre felt overwhelmed... underwater. Life was fun but hectic. While beautiful, the fire was never quite worth its fuel. When it was time to stay inside for the good of mankind, it felt really good to drop whatever it was I was holding and walk away. I mostly kept it to myself, but the extra solitude was wonderful for me.[3]

And now we're here... the final act. I've found this lovely, quiet, contemplative space for myself, and I'm not sure I know how to protect it. But I have discovered that healthier is out there, and that's at least something to point toward. For now, I'll do my best to keep moving and stay pointed in the right direction.

Five Albums

  • Ascenseur Pour L'échafaud, Miles Davis
  • Calambre, Nathy Peluso
  • Kiwanuka, Michael Kiwanuka
  • Manga, Mayra Andrade
  • Prince, Prince

Spotify playlist

  1. (Bonus: I learned the difference between white, yellow, and vanilla cake.) ↩︎

  2. Brought on by both the virus and the in-charge-at-the-time Federal Administration. ↩︎

  3. For the record, and thankfully, I have an excellent partner I got to see on the weekends... the pandemic would have been very different without her. ↩︎