Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Little Poetry, Tea and Cake

On Wednesday a friend who has recently returned from a holiday in India, invited a small group of women to her home for masala tea, nibblies and poetry readings.

I thought this was a lovely idea and decided to share a happy poem. One that brings me joy when I read it or hear it.  I can  "see" the daffodils come alive through the words of the poem  "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud" (sometimes known as "Daffodils"), by William Wordsworth.  

For the nibblies, I contributed some Gingerbread Cake.  I haven't made it before and I found it had a nice, dense texture which was perfect for dunking in tea.  I left my cake plain rather than add a sweet topping because I knew there would be other sweet nibblies at the gathering. I  added some fresh ginger to the recipe in addition to powdered ginger but it was the fresh lemon zest that really gave it it's great taste. Not too sweet. Just perfect.

First I'll share the poem and then the recipe in case you'd like to try it too. 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed---and gazed---but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

A small piece of Gingerbread Cake, strawberries and Rooibos Tea

Gingerbread Cake 

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup 113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (105 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 1 lemon (outer yellow skin of lemon)
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsulphured molasses (To prevent the molasses from sticking to the measuring cup, first spray the cup with a non stick vegetable spray.)
1 cup (240 ml) milk

Lemon Icing: (Optional)
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sifted confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar
2 - 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter and flour a 9 inch (23 cm) round or square cake pan with 2 inch (5 cm) sides.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
In bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and molasses and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the dry ingredients and milk, alternately, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing cake from pan. Let cool completely and then, if desired, frost with the Lemon Icing. 
Lemon Icing: Mix together the sifted confectioners' sugar and lemon juice until smooth. (The icing should be thick but still spreadable.) Pour the icing onto the center of the cake and spread with an offset spatula. Some of the icing will drip down the sides of the cake.

This cake will keep for several days at room temperature. Can serve with softly whipped cream, lemon curd, or slices of apples sauteed in a little butter and sugar.

Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cake



Denise said...

Such a nice post. Thanks for sharing the recipes.

orchid0324 said...

I love to observe clouds, wonderful poem♡♡♡ Happy for your lovely reading day♬♬♬
Thank you very much for visiting and your sweet comment.
Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

Jan said...

Thank you for the recipe and the poem. Sounds like a great gathering. x

Dimple said...

I am finally learning to appreciate good poetry. This one is beautiful, thanks for posting it.

I think I may try this cake...

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Poetry is so beautiful. Thank you sharing this lovely poem. The gingerbread looks yummy. I am happily your newest follower.

affectioknit said...

I loved the poem...and the cake looks yummy! easily veganized...

~Have a lovely day!

Linda said...

Love the sweet poem, and the recipe sounds like something I MUST try! Thanks for sharing it, Penny. Have a wonderful Christmas season!


Gail Dixon said...

Beautiful poem. The gingerbread cake looks scrumptious. Thanks for sharing!

Pat said...

Your gingerbread cake sounds yummy! I really like the Wordsworth is definitely a happy one.

Rosemary said...

This poem brings such a smile to my face, really this is the effect nature has on us, makes us happy! Ooooo, I must try this gingerbread and fill my house with the smell of baking :)

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Wonderful poem, I can almost see the daffodils too. Sound like a great way to celebrate together.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, yum! Will definitely be trying this one!

momto8 said...

what a lovely poem...thank you!
have a great weekend...enjoy that yummy cake!

Ricardo Miñana said...

Hola, interesante espacio el tuyo, un placer.
ya llegan estas fechas tan entrañables deseo que la paz y la ilusión llamen a la puerta de tu hogar, que las disfrutes.
un abrazo.

Mildred said...

A nice cup of tea with strawberries and a piece of cake! How nice!
The gingerbread seems delicious! Yummy!

Happy day****

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I reallyloved your choice of a poem > I know it by heart since the 7th grade. And your gingerbread seems very yummy. The photo is gorgeous.

Joyful said...

Wonderful Heidi, I think I first read this poem in Grade 7 too! But I haven't committed it to memory ;-) I hope you're having a wonderful weekend in TO. I am just preparing dinner for guests. Hugs. x

Joyful said...

Nature has a wonderful effect on me too. I know artists of all kinds are inspired by nature. I think you are too as you create some wonderful photos. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Joyful said...

Hello Linda, lovely to hear from you again. I hope you try the gingerbread cake. I think it would be great with the lemon glaze.

Joyful said...

Wonderful Dimple. Poetry and great literature add so much to our lives.

Joyful said...

Thank you for visiting Ricardo.

Joyful said...

Let me know how you enjoy it Rachel. Perfect with your tea ;-)

clairz said...

It's been a long time since I have read any Wordsworth, so thank you for the poem. I have always loved his idea of joy and beauty remembered in tranquility.

And thank you for a not-too-sweet recipe. I need to take something along to my knitting group tomorrow and this might be just the thing.

Written to you from an America that is reeling from sadness. We need to remember joy, and you have helped with this post.

Fred Alton said...

Thanks for the masala tea and the daffodids

Arr said...

Such a nice snack on a chilly day.

Delightful poem.

Vores have said...

Hello Joyful
Thanks for your comment / speedy recovery to Tilde.
Maybe she has kennel cough - even though she has been vaccinated for it a month ago.
She coughs and coughs are both penicillin and corticosteroids for it.
Wish you a good day :)
Hugs Hanne Bente

Carole M. said...

...I certainly remember the poem and drawing in a 'field of daffodils' on the page to offset the verse. Know that the ginger-cake (with lemon icing) would be tops

Anonymous said...

Hi! The gingerbread cake sounds delicious. Love to try it.
Stopping by to wish you Merry Christmas!
Hope to be back in January.

emilyclare said...

Do you know that's one of favourite poems too! And always cheers me to read it. And ginger cake/bread is my favourite accompaniment to tea as well! Happy week to you xx

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