November came faster than I expected. I was celebrating my birthday with my coworkers and out dancing with Kevin and friends before I knew what hit me. There is a part of me that was uncertain about twenty-six, as if crossing the divide between my early and late twenties was significant. If it is at all, it’s because of the people and experiences that I’ve had this year that contribute to the person I’m becoming.
I’m writing this almost two weeks after my birthday, but like most things in my life, I just need time to think – to sit on a feeling, idea, or thought until it makes sense of itself or I turn to make sense of it myself. I like birthdays because they’re an excuse to spend time with the people I love over phone calls, skype chats, emails, facebook comments, drinks out at a bar, or (on the rare occasion) a handwritten letter. I hang all my birthday cards from my refrigerator as a reminder of the people in my life who are scattered around the world.
If you come over to my apartment, you’ll find a letter from my coworkers splayed out on the top of my refrigerator next to a blue card that Kevin gave me, complete with a cook’s hat and whisk. I try to keep things clean and simple around the house, but small mementos of people’s love are hard for me to throw away. I have a box in our office filled with old cards. Sometimes, I’ll pull them out and read over the words people chose to describe our relationship and it brings back a flood of memories.
Aside from words, I’m like this way with smell. I opened a box from my grandma and found myself burying my nose in the shirt because it reminded me of her apartment in Santa Clara and all the memories we’ve shared over games of backgammon and dominos late into the night. Each birthday is like a small container of memories, reminding me of who I have been and where I am going. And the best part about November, in my family, is that we have a birthday every week.
Even though I’m 3,000 miles away, I’ll make phone calls, write cards, and send gifts (probably food) well into December. But for all my Boston family and friends in other states, thanks for all the love. I love you too.
Prep Time: 30 min | Bake Time: 1 hr | Yields: 1 Bundt Cake
Bundt cakes are my favorite, even surpassing birthday cakes and ice cream cakes. It’s a strange cake to have as your favorite, but I’ve always followed my taste buds. I like bundt cakes because they are sweet, slightly savory, and can be topped with many different icings, caramels, sugars, or fruits. This particular bundt cake combines the spice of ginger with the sweet and fragrant taste of quince. You can top this with a light vegan caramel sauce (recipe below) to create a fall bundt for a birthday, celebration, or maybe just to let someone know you’re thinking about them.
3 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup raw sugar
2 tbs ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup almond milk
2 cups cold water
2/3 cup non-dairy butter or coconut oil
2 tbs apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup almond milk
1 tbs bourbon
pinch of sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil a bundt pan and set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, including flour, sugar, ground ginger, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
- Mix the wet ingredients thoroughly in a medium-sized bowl, including water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix thoroughly. Once totally combined, place in an oven and bake for 50-55 minutes.
- Once the cake is done baking, cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely before icing. Dust with powdered sugar & drizzle with icing.
- Simmer sugar and water on medium heat in a small pan. Swirl the pan for 15 minutes until the mixture turns deep brown. If the sugar starts to bubble, then the burner is too hot and you should turn it down to a low simmer.
- Turn off the burner and remove from heat. Slowly add cream while stirring, as well as a bunch of salt and bourbon. Return liquid to the burner and stir on low for 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer to a heat safe container and let chill before serving.