This morning during Bible study I realized that cooking is one of my passions. I know, seriously! How could I have not realized that? Food is the topic of my facebook status most of the time. Also, I have been cooking since preschool, collecting recipes since I was able to read, writing this food blog for over a year, yet it wasn't until I was pondering Leah and how she found joy in the midst of her trials (her amazing story starts in Genesis) that I realized cooking is one of my passions. I love that I started living out my passion before I had even acknowledged that I had it! I love that it was in the midst of a group of beautiful Christian women that I came to understand it.
As I was listening to these women discuss their zest for bike riding, sewing, playing the cello, organizing, and writing, I thought about this past weekend when I had thoroughly enjoyed making an Orange Pistachio Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting. I was in the kitchen by myself (a rare occurrence), listening to NPR on the radio, appreciating the large window in my kitchen that overlooks the backyard, and doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. I even lost track of time (an even more rare occurrence for me). Now I understand that doing what I love no matter how mundane is a way for me to embrace God's abundant life and to experience my passion.
The fact that I was baking the Orange Pistachio Cake at the request of my husband was an added bonus. I carefully ground the pistachios, zested the orange, and measured the flour while enjoying every second of it. Then I whipped the cream cheese, frosted the cake, and licked the beaters. Next I decorated the top of this eight inch square confection with a star because my husband truly is a star of a dad. My family loved the bright flavors of the cake and the creamy texture of the frosting. I love that my passion for cooking is something that I can choose to enjoy and practice everyday.
Orange Pistachio Cake Recipe
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) finely ground unsalted pistachio nuts
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 8 x 8 x 2 inch pan with Pam for baking or grease and flour the pan.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until the mixture is fluffy, thick and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the oil, then the vanilla and almond extracts and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the finely ground pistachios and orange zest and mix until combined. With the mixer still on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix just until no white streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cake for about 40-45 minutes, until the top feels firm when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
- Leave the cake in the pan for a rustic feel or use a small sharp knife to loosen the sides from the pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack. Invert the cake again onto a wire rack so it is right side up. Set aside to cool completely.
- When completely cooled, frost with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.