Kintsugi Cake and the Art of Imperfect Things

Sometimes imperfect things can be even more beautiful than perfect ones.  Take a look at the Japanese art of pottery repair known as Kintsugi, for example.  Broken pottery is fixed with lacquer mixed with gold or silver dust, oftentimes leaving a more visually interesting piece.

This cake mimics the beautiful pattern of a kintsugi pot.  It’s a vanilla butter cake with three layers of banana custard and two layers of semisweet chocolate ganache.  The icing is vanilla buttercream.  A thin layer of fondant veils the three layers, contrasting nicely with the yellow cake.  If I were to make this cake again, I think that I would opt for using an icing glaze instead of fondant.  The yellow lines have a chunkier look than what I was aiming for.  I’d love to make this cake again and decorate it with an icing pattern similar to the markings on Mille-feuille pastries.

I think that the perceived flawed elements in a person’s life have the potential to be transformed and overpowered.  In a way, we are given the chance to show our true colors and turn those flaws into gold.  Obviously, this cake has given me some New Year’s resolution food for thought!

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Lemon Crinkle Cookies Recipe

These lemon crinkle cookies have the magical power to blast away gray skies.  A lemon a day keeps the doctor away!  Each cookie bite was chewy and tangy.  As it turns out, when life gives you lemons, your day takes a turn for the better.

We all have those days when we just drag… nothing seems to get done, despite the copious amounts of effort we put forth.  On days like that, you need an energy boost that doesn’t pull you even farther down.  These cookies weren’t the heavy, chocolatey vices that we usually turn to during times of distress.  Granted, you probably shouldn’t eat an entire tray of these in one sitting, but if you stick to a few, I guarantee that they will be the silver lining in your otherwise uninspired day.

When facing a challenge that’s seemingly impossible, I think that it’s important to view it from the perspective of delusional optimism.  When you take it for granted that big, positive things will happen, you train your mind to process in a way that will actually help to make it happen.  I believe that it is this optimism that lays the groundwork for those coveted days when everything in life seems to fall into place.  Just like the sunny taste of these cookies, it’s important to keep a bright, brave outlook when it comes to goals.

I tested this recipe from the blog Fresh April Flours and am pleased to report success.  I would like to stress a few of my own tips, like chilling the dough as long as possible before trying to handle it and roll it in the sugar.  When you need to add a jolt of optimism to your day, test out the recipe and let me know how it goes!

Ingredients:

  • ½ cups Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • ¼ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ⅛ teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ½ cups Powdered Sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking sheets with non stick cooking spray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest and juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in all dry ingredients slowly until just combined, excluding the powdered sugar. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.
  3. Refrigeration is a must… I would let the dough sit in the fridge for at least an hour.  I pulled my dough out of the the fridge a little too early, and the cookie dough was still unmanageable and hard to shape into balls.
  4. Pour powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in powdered sugar. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough.  I chose to also roll the dough in an additional layer of sanding sugar after this step.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melty or shiny).

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