For YK, DS, JEL, CJR, SH, MOM - thanks for inspiring me.
The main source of my conflict came from close friends, who are full-time working moms, who are incredibly smart and hold these high positions in super-prestigious companies. I found myself wondering, what is my title? Why aren't I a VP, Chief Counsel, Director, President, Esq, Ob/GYN, SOMETHING. Mostly, my title is MOMMY said in a wailing voice and suddenly I began thinking that MAYBE, I wanted a title. I wanted something to say that I was something more than a Stay-At-Home-Mom.
But it was a conversation with one of my friends that helped me regain some of my loss of equilibrium. I asked her, "Exactly what is your TITLE?" to which she responded VP. I congratulated her and then started asking some crazy questions of her, such as "Do VP's get to shop more," or do "VP's get to choose fancier clothes", "Or do VP's only eat at nice restaurants." Truthfully part of it was jealousy of the title and the other part was curiosity about how her life was different from mine. She laughed at my questions, but gave me perspective in this regard. She said, "This VP has a son draped around her, because he can't sleep. It's 10:15 PM, and this VP can't find a way to get her son in his bed sleeping."
I realize that I'm pretty proud of my title Mommy, even when it is said in the most annoying, whiny, needy way. Husband works hard and we have decided together that I am the happiest while being home with the kids and that I am most driven where motherhood is concerned. It doesn't mean that I can't have other titles later (cookbook author, PhD, book expert) but for now, the title of Mommy is plenty hectic enough for me.
Joanne Choi, Mommy (oooh...I can add, Bundt Cake Maker. Not a bad title at all.)
This bundt cake is really lovely in how subtle it is. There is a bit of heat from the cinnamon, a bit of tart from the apple, a bit of sticky sweetness from the caramel all held together by a super moist cake. All the flavors seem to fill all the spots that may be missing in your mouth.
Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
Makes 10-inch bundt cake, serving 12 to 14
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, and chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (½ stick of butter)
Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour inside of 10 inch bundt pan.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla extract. At low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream. (Add a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour.) Fold in chopped apples.
Scoop batter into pan.
Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto another rack. Place the cake, on the rack, over a baking sheet.
While cake is baking, make caramel. Have both butter and cream, measured and ready to go. In a heavy bottom sauce pan (bigger is better - go for a 2 or 3 quart saucepan) add sugar and heat over medium high heat. The sugar will begin to melt and caramelize. As this happens, slowly drag sugar to the center of the pan and swirl the pan around so as to not burn the sugar. Allow all the sugar crystals to melt, using patience and diligence to watch and check the caramel. As soon as the sugar is all melted and is dark amber in color (Dave Leibovitz says like the color of a dirty copper penny) add butter all at once and whisk vigorously incorporating it into the sugar syrup. After butter is all melted remove from heat. Add cream and whisk until the caramel is a delicious mixture, all uniform in texture. Transfer caramel to a jar. Once cake has cooled for an hour, pour caramel over the entire surface of the cake. Using a spoon, spoon caramel over hard to “pour” areas, covering as much of the surface of the cake as possible. (I used up about ½ of my caramel sauce.)