Monday, November 14, 2011

my other family

When I go home, I get to do a few things that make me extraordinarily happy: see my family (actual blood relatives AND the "Charlotte" family), shop, sleep with no alarm set, and cook in a big kitchen. I got enough of all of that this past weekend that a coworker actually commented that I looked "really refreshed" today. Glorious. 

Anyways, our "Charlotte" family is comprised of people we've known since we moved to North Carolina when I was ten. Because my family moved so much when I was growing up, the Charlotte family are some of the people who've known me the longest in my life. When they first met me, I was learning cursive and algebra, and acting like a mini adult. Now, we talk about mortgages and 401k accounts, and they get a kick out of the fact that I'm finally a real adult (debatable). The mind boggles at all the things we've seen each other through in the past fifteen years. 

So when we all have time to get together, we like to make it count. And I like to bake in my parents' large, well-stocked kitchen. Which brings us to the chocolate cake with salted caramel icing that I referred to yesterday. It was fairly simple, despite my general aversion to cooking on an electric stove. Not boxed cake mix simple, but these are my people. They deserve more than Betty Crocker. 

We had everyone over to our house for a happy hour of sorts in front of the outdoor fireplace, then went out to dinner, and finally came back to the house for cake. Even our one family friend who hates sweets had a piece. AND LIKED IT. I can't tell you how exciting that is for me (because I'm a grown up now, and get excited about things like chocolate cake, paint chips, and furniture shopping).

So if you find yourself in need of a good chocolate cake recipe, and want to top it with the oh-so-popular right now salted caramel icing, click this link straight away. Her pictures are far prettier than mine, but here are a few from my parents' kitchen:

it always surprises me that sugary water turns in to...

this salty caramel deliciousness


stacked cooling racks (i'm in love)

exactly the right size for our crowd (plus small leftovers for mom, dad, and i)

once again, pardon my poor food photography skills 
(it's far tastier than this makes it look)

really wish i didn't live 400 miles from this set up

PS-I'm on a roll with the baked goods lately. Check back soon for the gingerbread cake I made last night!

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