Posts tagged ‘Mom’

Mother’s Day Lemon Chiffon Cake

Generally, every baked good I make goes through the same life cycle. I make it because baking is my ultimate form of escape. I focus so hard when I’m baking that all my stresses just melt into the background, and as the pan goes into the oven and I wash the dishes by myself, I just think. And it’s utterly relaxing.

I don’t give too much thought to what happens after I’ve finished. So I’ve got an entire cake, or five dozen cookies. Now what?

Usually my mom and I eat a little of what I make. She doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth, so she’ll try a small slice or one cookie. I’ll try it too, and if I like it, I might keep some and eat it throughout the week.

More than half of what I make, however, is always shared instead of kept at home. My mom sends plates of pretty stacked cookies over to our neighbors, who never bake themselves. I carry treats to school in my plastic cake carrier, stored in my locker until lunch time. And sometimes my mom brings it to work, so that whenever I’m in her office I inevitably get the question, “When are you baking again?”

But this cake. Oh, this innocent looking cake is a completely different story.

The first time I made it, my mother was actually shocked to like it. I had only just gotten into baking, and most everything was too rich or too sweet for her taste. But this chiffon cake, light as air and served without frosting, did it for her. Granted, it’s a small cake, but the two of us ate it all by ourselves.

I’ve made the cake countless times since, for her birthday and other special occasions. Once, over the course of 5 hours, my mom, dad, and I finished the entire thing. We started by cutting equal slices and carefully plating them, passing around forks. By the end, we tore off pieces of cake and brought them directly to our mouths. No utensils required.


May 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm 38 comments

Mom’s Carrot-Flecked Dinner Rolls

Sometimes when people find out that I like to bake, they assume that I have great knife skills, can whip up fresh tomato sauce, and know how to fillet a fish. “Oh,” they say, “you’re a cook! That’s so cool.”

No. It would be very cool if I were a cook, but alas, I’m scared of the big chopping knife, I have no idea how to make tomato sauce from scratch, and I can poorly fillet a fish (just barely.) I am a baker, even though I’d love to expand my abilities.

My parents, on the other hand, they are good cooks. My father is the sort of person whose shopping cart is filled with eggs, butter, fresh produce, and milk, never frozen dinners or Hamburger Helper. The kind of person who cooks salmon and mushroom roulade without a recipe and gets asked to do dinner parties.

My mom, too, has her specialties. The limited Chinese terms my father knows are all for describing the foods she makes. Her rice is the best we’ve ever had, anywhere. Her pot stickers are so perfect that when one of my friends said she loved Dragon Wok’s dumplings, I forced her to come to dinner so she could see what she was missing. And unlike my father, the cook, and me, the baker, mother’s favorite is something unique: bread.

My mother ate like a bird as a child. She loathed meat, hated most vegetables, and didn’t care for fruit. Instead, she bought freshly baked bread on the way home from school and ate the whole loaf herself. When she moved to this country and was first introduced to my father’s family, the only thing she ate was mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. To a group of thick steak and buttered greens loving foodies, this was unimaginable, prompting my grandfather to title her the Carbohydrate Queen.

My mom eats basically everything now, but she still loves bread best. And so it was she who baked these delicious rolls with freshly grated carrots. Me, I’m scared of yeast. But my mother, she’s fearless.

On another note, thank you to Eliana of A Chica Bakes for passing the Friendship Award onto me. It’s so sweet! I have to pass it on to 8 other bloggers…


“These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated.”

Thanks to all of these bloggers for supporting 17 and Baking, and inspiring me with their delicious creations.

– Amanda of Is This Thing On?
– Marta of Just Call Me Marta
– Alicia of Bakeaholic
– Alana of The Good Girl Gone Blog
– Darina of Gratinee
– Jenny of Raising Our Kids in America…
– Danica of Think It, Bake It
– Kristen of Dine and Dish (A special thank you for hosting the Adopt-A-Blogger event… More on this later!)


April 25, 2009 at 10:30 am 33 comments

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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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