And so, with some traditions stricken from the record, I realized that we had space to create some new ones of our very own. For example, last year, with my brother visiting from North Carolina, we thought it might be fun for each person to contribute one dish to Christmas dinner. And so, Christmas dinner became a small, three-dish potluck, or as Matt referred to it, "a weird hodge podge of foods." Needless to say, it didn't stick. So, this year, we decided to go back to something we tried out two years ago and have been thinking about ever since.
Bon Appetit's version:
our 2008 version:
our 2010 version:—Orange Polenta Cake, Mushroom Turnover, just to name a few. I'd like to think that for those early posts, the blog and I were still finding our voice and aesthetic. But there was one attempt that cast a large shadow over the others. It was the very first one, the first fail, the impossible cake that birthed Bon Appetempt. If I was going to move forward, I knew I'd have to deal with the past, and that meant retrying my hand at the Devil's Food Layer Cake with Peppermint Frosting.
Though the above slice looks a little anemic and isn't standing upright as we hoped (Wasn't gonna happen.), the cake as a whole survived. Even after we sliced it. (See below.)
After all, I was reminded, I had bird-by-birded this thing two years ago when I knew nothing about making cakes. And two years later, the behemoth came together quite nicely—the only real failing arriving when trying to plate the perfect slice for the photo. (It should be noted that the cake is enormous. It weighs about 15 lbs and is roughly the size of a microwave oven.)
Time will tell, but I have a feeling this tradition will stick. It's a major crowd-pleaser and putting it together is the sort of undertaking one looks forward to exactly once a year.
p.s. My Christmas iPad from Matt came in handy.
Happy Holidays! See you in the new year!
Recipe via Bon Appetit: