tall authors and cake: both impressive ::::
The abundance of summer peaches is waning. It makes me a bit wistful for the early summer, peaches just hard nubs on the tree, the anticipation of what was to come. It also makes me feel like I need to get busy, as autumn always signifies a new academic year for me, despite the fact I am no longer in academia. College was quite a while ago.
And so I think of my college friend Jeff who has been very busy lately. He has reached the pinnacle of a writer: he got published. Scourge of the Betrayer is a tale of deception, betrayal, and lots of bloody sword-fighting with some self-deprecating and lewd humor to keep the attention of the male readers. He took time to write it (it is his debut, well-thought out, brooded over), now treading the exciting eddy of fans. There is a landslide of reviews that warrant guest blog posts and couple of book release parties. And he’s expected to work on the book’s sequel. How this Superman manages a full-time job, writing/editing a book, internet surfing to post on blogs, and be the father to three young girls, I do not know. I find when I work at 80% time (which still means 50 hours a week in my reality), I barely have enough time to sit thoughtfully and write in one string of consciousness session. If there is even a minute of downtime at work, I feel guilty taking away from clinical journals I should be reading, or a pre-emptive review of a patient chart not coming in until the next day. And when I am home, Peach and Grub are like a sticky, vociferous octopus, grabbing at me when I walk in the door, try to use the bathroom, or attempt to sit down for one second. At the end of the day after work, usually too tired after wrangling the kids to bed and to write a complete sentence, I have multiple half-thoughts on paper, hanging like nascent grapes from early vines. When I previously tried to ignore my needs, like sleep, meals, exercise, that is when I fell into an unexpected cancellation of a trip to Hawaii and a four-day hospital stay.
Another reason why Jeff popped into my head is how he and this fresh peach cake have something strongly in common: height. First, the dude is TALL. And this cake was taller than I expected, just cresting the surface of my 8×8-inch pan. Impressive, just like Jeff and his writing.
Have I piqued your interest? Amazon, Barnes & Noble, an iBook version and Jeff’s blog are great resources. And it’s not just me giving kudos: the reviews on multiple fantasy fiction blogs, Amazon, and GoodReads are outstanding. I don’t peg myself as a Fantasy Fiction reader, have no interest in LARPing, and find the whole concept a little goofy, but this book was a great read. Jeff writes well and hooks you into the storyline, wanting the follow-up book to come soon.
And have I piqued your interest in a peach cake? My storyline isn’t full of bloody battle scenes, but it bound to impress.
- ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1½ cups sugar, divided
- 2 extra-large eggs or large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and sliced (my small peaches weighed 688g and I used almost all of the slices)
- ½ cup chopped pecans*
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan. (I actually lightly greased an 8x8-inch pan and used parchment paper.)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined. It will be a thick batter.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup sugar and the cinnamon.
- Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture over the peaches.* Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.
- Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (If using an 8x8-inch pan, bake for about 60 minutes.) Serve warm or at room temperature. This easily comes together as a breakfast coffee cake or a simple dessert.