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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bittersweet Celebration

I'm settling into my unemployment quite well.  Though I'm not technically unemployed, yet.  Due to Warn Act laws in New York State, companies of a certain size must give their employees 60 days notice before they can just shut down.  So technically, I'm still employed by my company.  They just don't want me to come to work.

If only I could get paid indefinitely to not come to work, I'm quite good at this not working thing.  The house is clean, the dishes are done and all the laundry is folded.  Yesterday I got to sleep in, I headed to my 9am Crossfit class and did some grocery shopping.  I even got a pedicure, something my running weary feet loved.

It's not all fun and games though.  As much as I want to imagine this will last, I realize I only have a few months before they won't be paying me to sit at home.  I've been dusting off my resume and contacting all my friends and former advisers.  I am so thankful for all my friends and colleagues that have reached out to me.  I have had the privledge to work with some amazing people over the years, including those that I have just parted with at OSI.

I know that all my friends will come out of these sad times even stronger.  While I don't want to say that it was a good thing, the site closure, but I'm sure there are opportunities out there for all of us.  The world of pharmaceuticals is strangely tiny, I know it isn't the last time I see my friends.

This is a celebration cake.  Not of the end, but of a new beginning in my life, a new chapter.  Full of sweet, early summer peaches, and covered in tangy, sharp ginger cream cheese frosting, this cake is a little bittersweet, just like this week.  Make it for yourself.  If you're having a rough week, it will totally cheer you up.

One Year Ago: Morel Risotto
Two Years Ago: Parmesan Zucchini

Ginger-Peach Pound Cake
A Wilde Original

This pound cake totally deserves its name.  It's dense and delicious.  There is a high probability that you will gain at least a pound when eating this.  I roasted the peaches to concentrate their flavor a bit.  Be sure to use ripe peaches that smell amazing in their peels.  If you use unripe peaches, you won't get the rich, summery flavor we're looking for.

2 ripe peaches
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons skim milk

Peel peaches - cut an X in the bottom of your peaches.  Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and set a bowl of ice water next to it.  One at a time, place a peach in the boiling water and roll it around with a slotted spoon.  Let it sit in the water for only 30 seconds.  Remove peach from the water and dunk it in the ice water for 5 seconds.  You should be able to strip the peel off, starting at the X you cut at the top.  Repeat with the other peach.

Roast the peaches - Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Cut peaches into quarters, removing the pit.  Roast peaches for 20 minutes in the oven.  Remove and let cool completely.  Cut the peaches into small chunks.

Make the pound cake - In a large (or the bowl of your stand mixer) beat sugar, oil and butter until light and fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla extract and fresh ginger, beat until smooth.

In another small bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a third small bowl, whisk together sour cream and skim milk.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixer, beat on low until combined.  Add 1/2 of the liquid mixture and beat until smooth.  Add 1/3 more flour, mix.  Add remaining liquid, mix to combine.  Finally, add last bit of the flour mixture and stir until smooth.  Add peaches and fold in by hand.

Hopefully your oven is still at 350 F.  Coat an 8 or 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and pour cake batter in, smooth out the top.  Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until golden brown on the top.  Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the rack before frosting.

Ginger-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
A Wilde Original

Using fresh ginger in this frosting gives it a bit of a kick.  I think it balances out perfectly with the oh-so-sweet cream cheese frosting base.  I made a batch twice the size and was stuck figuring out what to do with the leftovers.  Turns out a spoon was all I needed!

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar

Beat butter, cream cheese, ginger and vanilla to combine.  Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Eat out of the bowl or top your cooled pound cake with the stuff.
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