January 23, 2011

You know what?  I am never going to be less than a size 10.  I am never going to not want to sing along to a Disney musical if in its presence.  I am always going to feel the need to plan things, to be obsessive and make lists, to send out texts and emails, “Hey do you want to…?”

I will procrastinate by cooking.  I will cope by eating things that I find delicious.  I will never be able to skip more than two days in a row at the gym because I am addicted to endorphins.  I will start books (particularly “thinky” non-fiction books) that I feel like I “ought to” read and never finish them, opting for really addictive, well-written fiction instead.  I will feel slightly guilty about this, and about the fact that sometimes I listen to music in the mornings on the way to work instead of NPR, but not guilty enough to stop.  I will go weeks without writing and when I finally set aside time to do so, I will think “Why don’t I do this more often?”

Every once in a while, I will snap at Jill for something that totally isn’t even her fault. I won’t call my mother as often as I probably should.  I will tell people “I love you” more times than is necessary, in ways that they’re not sure how to respond to, but that won’t stop me.  Sometimes I may pretend to be asleep when the dog needs to go out in the middle of the night.

If you ask, I’m going to tell it like it is.  (I may do that even if you don’t ask).  I’m going to save bacon fat in a jar in the fridge & then fry eggs in it, I’m going to flirt with good looking waiters, I’m going to lust after unnecessary shoes, I will probably always be a little bit vain, and I am never going to not want dessert.

The end.

adapted from Bon Appetit

I love the texture that polenta brings to sweets; the pairing with orange is classically Italian, though this cake is more like a pound cake than anything else.  The original recipe calls for plums & blackberries to be served alongside, but I stuck to just the latter.  I also substituted good old-fashioned whipped cream for the more high-maintenance (though delicious sounding) buttermilk ice cream suggested.


1 ¼ cups flour
¾ medium-grind polenta
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup + 2 T sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
finely grated zest of 1 orange
4 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup plain yogurt (preferably whole milk)

oven: 350°
pan: 9x5x3-inch loaf pan, buttered & floured

Whisk the dry ingredients together and set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, butter, & zest together until fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and blending well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.

Alternately add the dry ingredients and the yogurt, starting & ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined, then pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake until the cake is golden and a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean or with dry crumbs clinging to it.  This may take anywhere from 50 minutes to 1 hour & 15 minutes, depending on your oven.  Cool the cake on a rack in the pan before running a knife around the edges and inverting the cake.

Serve with blackberries tossed with a little sugar & vanilla extract and some homemade whipped cream or ice cream.


  1. I love every single one of these things about you. xoxo.

    Comment by Mnelle — January 23, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

  2. love this! i’m right there with you on many of these things too. own it, girlfriend 😉 xoxo

    Comment by Lauren — January 24, 2011 @ 9:52 am

  3. You make me want to cook this…and it has nothing to do with the cake itself. I just sank into your writing and it made me want to experience that authenticity.

    Thanks for the cake, Nishta.

    Comment by Kimberley — January 24, 2011 @ 10:53 am

  4. That’s the beauty of age, no? Wisdom, acceptance, and hot diggity, now for the good stuff!

    This looks fantastic. And perfect for right now.

    Comment by molly — January 24, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  5. i want to eat this right now.

    Comment by Leslie — January 25, 2011 @ 3:54 pm

  6. Marynelle & Lauren–thank you, ladies. starting to own these things & it feels good!

    Kimberly–thank you, I really appreciate that.

    Molly–agreed a million times over; I’ll never go back to me at sixteen because I feel so much better in my skin now than I did then. as for the cake, I think it is perfect for right now…not too sweet, hearty, hint of citrus, could get away with it as a breakfast item 🙂

    Leslie–do it!

    Comment by Blue Jean Gourmet — January 26, 2011 @ 8:09 am

  7. I too am everything you described, except for the going to the gym … never (unfortunately) been into that!

    That’s a great little cake to go along with a great post.

    Comment by Maria — January 27, 2011 @ 1:53 pm

  8. I’m making this cake because it looks yummy but because your words are delicious. The shoulds in life are over-rated; so is NPR. Let them go.

    Comment by Mary — January 30, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

  9. […] has become one of the most important things in my life.  Jill’s partner says it best in her blog post: “I will tell people “I love you” more times than is necessary, in ways that they’re […]

    Pingback by brokenpurplecrayon » Stop the Crap — February 3, 2011 @ 7:21 am

  10. We headed straight here for this recipe. It was fabulous. We used almond extract instead of vanilla and lemon instead of orange. We also added about 2T. of lemon zest to the batter. The confessions about reality were the icing on the cake.

    Comment by Carolyn — January 17, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

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