Currant Caramel Cream Cake

Currant Cream Cake
Please note that I refrained from titling this post “currantly.” Hold your applause, though. Since I mentioned it, I obviously thought about it.

Currently, my patience is lacking. I’ve started shaking in my chair, due to lack of inspiration, I guess. I’ve suffered; others have probably suffered. I’ve been a little too honest, a bit less nice, and a lot sarcastic.

But pluckin’ currants, or what I like to call, spiny little devils—now that’s a lesson in patience. That will slap the sarcasm right out of you. When faced with small 1/2-pint boxes of rubies and pearls and branches, I usually feel helpless before I start, like my fingers will be too weak for the task. Pulling out each thin stem feels a bit like plucking an eyebrow; the stem resists, releasing from the thick skin of the tiny, seed-filled berries with an inaudible pop. It usually comes out clean and whole but sometimes, it will leave behind a tiny fragment of itself. The process can be pleasant, though. Each of my plucks feels prodding and deliberate. It calms my nerves. I plucked the currants for this cake alone at 10pm in my 85-degree mid–heat wave kitchen, which I had lit dimly. I resisted the urge to play music or to check emails while plucking. I focused on just plucking. With each branch, I got faster and better; my plucks became cleaner and more graceful.

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The Last (Caramel) Apple

Caramel Apple Cake

I meant to take a photo on Sunday while I was capturing the above cake. A photo of my yard. It was the first time I really looked at it since autumn had begun. I thought I had missed the foliage this year, complaining of under-tinted trees and lots of yellow but little blush. But then I looked into my yard, on October 28th, and I saw trees afire. I hadn’t sat down, I hadn’t taken a break to notice until October 28th. My attention stolen by the cake, though, I didn’t snap that shot. It was just my backyard. It didn’t really matter.

One day later and those leaves were dead. Gone. Washed away by Sandy, the East Coast storm that came and went. Ordered to stay home from work, I sat, trying to be productive, as I heard those leaves flapping one by one from the branches damp and brown and ripped at the veins. I was hypersensitive. I felt fall’s end, taken not, coincidentally, by a cold winter breeze or a Halloween snow storm (like last year) but by a tropical front: muggy air, bands of flooding rain, branch-stripping winds.

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