cakes, prose, woes -- the photos, food & thoughts of a french-speaking seattle-native in brazil

In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it. -AB
In the end, you're just happy you were there—with your eyes open—and lived to see it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

And do you, Mr. Orange Take Miss Lentil to be your Lawfully Wedded Wife...

the pound-caking objection of mistress anisette

It is starting to get cold. Not chilly, not brrrr, not wow maybe i should put on a jacket because my nose is sniffling, but cold. I won't lie, I do not fancy this cold unless chairlifts and powdered moguls are involved. Morning is dawning at seven. November gives the Spokane sky a picturesque glow--it is bright, but not sunny. A sad bright, if oxymoron may be called upon. It looks cold, if cold is a look. A beautiful coldness. The sun sits hovering behind wispy clouds stretched far too thinly over the Tiffany blue backdrop, the look is quite promising, though the skeleton trees and frost stiffened grass cry silent intimations through the window pane of no! do not let him fool you, your day has dawned sub-zero! How unfortunate that tricky sun gloating above us in all his mockery--you may see me but you can not feel me. To leave one building means only a race to get into another. That is the winter game. Well we will play our own winter game mr. sun, with smarties of your likeness. Orange in America is a winter fruit. It grows in the real sun of the south. The rays are bottled in its sun-tanned rind; thus sun made orange in his own image. The savior is then sent northward to we the vitamin D deprived. Why, little glowing citric orb of heat; you are my sunshine. So on y va.

So what of this lentil and orange business? That is a good question. No one really knows why they are together, but there they are all the same, in a cake. Lady Lentil is quite the jewel; small and bubbly, a protein, a staple, versatile and malleable. Could you ever imagine her in a cake? Orange did not, but what could there possibly be to lose. Orange lentil cake, what a perfect idea; healthy and yet sweet, is that not the divine marriage of flavors. But perhaps flavor divinity is in the eye of the beholder, for while the butter whipped and the flour sifted, a little seed spilled onto the counter, shouting in her controversy to be taken along. Orange and anise, they were made for each other. A striking slap of bitter licorice, yet there is some power of sweetness dissolving her bite. Anise, a tricky little spice. You either love her or you hate her, there is nothing in between. Orange and Lentil stared at one another, unknowing of what to do. But Miss Anisette could not be shaken, and tipped head first into the batter. But what could be done? To pick out a million specs is impossible, there's no getting rid of her now. Lentil and orange, though they sound mysteriously unique are not enough on their own. Lentil as flour is too void of flavor and personality to compliment citric orange. Thus we must remember that it is not the surprise ingredient that stands out, but rather what you do to it (who saw that ostrich egg on top chef last week?) Orange lentil cake--no. Orange anise lentil cake--now we're talking.

Now that you have been wrung through a poorly written and seemingly unnecessary pastry soap opera of personified foodstuffs, perhaps there is some splaining to do. Lentil cake! Yes lentil cake, but why? Why--because I am me. And my fridge is empty and I am starving. I see a bag of lentils. There are bean cakes, so why not a lentil cake? A cake without gluten, a cake I could eat. So in Salty Cod fashion, we crossed our eyes, hailed mary, poured a glass of wine, and played baking god. And what do ya know, my Frankenstein, he lives!

Orange Anise Lentil Cakes:

Ingredients: 1 cup pureed lentils ~ 1 cup gluten free flour mix like bob's (or if you could give a damn about gluten, just use a cup of regular old flour, any flour actually) ~ 3 eggs ~ 1.5 cups powdered sugar ~ 0.5 cups butter (1 stick) ~ 1 tsp baking powder ~ 0.5 tsp salt ~ 1 packet vanilla suagar (or extract) ~ 0.5 tsp almond extract ~ 1 tsp anise seeds ~ zest of whole orange

method: 1) combine butter and sugar, add eggs, extracts, zest, and anise 2) in another bowl combine flour, bs, and salt 3) combine wet mixture and flour, add lentil puree 4) divide into sprayed muffin tins or a loaf pan 5) bake at 350 F until done.

You are correct, orange and anise do sound of classic biscotti, but now they are lentil pound cake. deal with it. You wish to know if the cake tastes of vegetable? If you are yet doubting, which i do not blame you for, I will here gloat that none of the cake's consumers were told of the ingredients, none, and yet eyes fluttered back in pastry ecstasy of palatable bliss! And well, because I am so full of myself, I will say these cakes were quite successful. Sorry Lentil, Orange is nothing without Anise. So on a cold sunny day--we found our sunshine.

à bientôt


Christy said...

I have to say that I like the description of orange. It really is an orb of sunshine, even though I personally would not have came up with the thought had you not suggested it.

I'm one of those people who hate anise. I hate the flavour of licorice on its own. But paired with orange, now that's another things. Funny how the perfect marriage brings out the best in each other.

So how's that term paper going? And that wooden spoon (and the tray and bowl), was a souvenir from Ubud, Bali. Yes, they are sold in a shop close to the Monkey Forest! How serendipitous it is that you suggest it be used for the tea time monkey sighting tour!!

Pea and Pear said...

Mallory, the little lentil cakes look divine. And I do love lentils so. I think I will definitely give this a go. As always a beautiful and lyrical post. Fabulous x Ali

Mallory Elise said...

:) hooray! the wooden spoons are already there, we don't have to have them shipped with the rest of the stuff!

yes please try this friends--christy you don' like anise, eh use something else then. cranberries and almosnds, chocolate and raspberry i don't care :)eh but Ali hooray for we the far and the few who not only stomach anise, but like it! oh but hey no garlic with the lentils this time!

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

oh wow!!! i want this!!! lentils and orange in a gluten free cake? that's me! because believe it or not, i am on a gluten free diet... well, sort of. it looks delicious mallory!

Anonymous said...



You manage to make better pictures day after day even though I love that one from the "road to apples"... But these ones in this post are awesome. It's weird. I feel proud of a talent that's yours! Creepy!

A warm hug from sunny down here,

P. (yep. me)

Katie said...

I could read your writing forever, I really could. And look at your photos, too. It is so addicting!

Mallory Elise said...

why thank you P. but its not creepy, i'll share it with you.

Aran only the lucky among us are gluten free.

katie that is what every writer dreams of hearing, thank you.

Helene said...

I already translated this and forwarded it to my dad who is also celiac. His response "honey, you bake, not me, I cook. So you will have to make this for me when I come visit....please" He said the magic yes, I will happily make this for him. It sounds delicious and super vitamined too!

Núria said...

You are soooooo smart girl!!! I love how your brain works :D :D :D.

Not only your writing is bright and amusing and clever; your pictures enlighten my screen and your kitchen experiments are so daring. Bravo for you Mallory!

Christy said...

Thanks for the offer of pumpkin goo!! But I'll try to find it here first so 1) you do not have to do anything illegal, and 2) you can save some money on shipping (never bought them before but very positive they are heavier than Splenda). Very much appreciate the offer though!!

Katie said...

Usually I by bars individually at Whole Foods, but lately I have been receiving a lot of free samples. I know what you mean about the price, though - they really add up after a while.

Manuela © said...

I love the ingredients in this little cakes :) The pictures are great!

jesse said...

Delicious! I love the story you've provided... you have such an elegent style of writing. =) Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

It's still warm down here in CA. Oh how I would love to be in cooler weather, something I miss during this time of year.
The orange/anise flavor together sounds amazing! I have not had the combo together yet, but will very soon. Beautiful mini cakes!

MC said...

These plump little cakes look totally delicious. I'll have to find a way to reduce the butter though (the Man shouldn't really have any). I'll try over the holidays. Your pictures are gorgeous. They make me feel all warm and cozy even though it is freezing outside here in the Northeast. I mean really freezing, not West Coast cold... ;-)

GC said...

I was looking for something to do with my overcooked lentils and google brought me to you. This recipe sounded so delicious...but I was out of oranges and anise.

I substituted lemon zest (from two lemons) and ground cardamom. They turned out delicious! So when you're feeling a little more Indian, try those subs.

Thank you for the beautiful blog. I'm already addicted!