One of the sweetest things about this daring and new phase of life, this settling into marriage and days in a different city, is the establishment of new traditions. Ask anyone who knows me well at all, they'll tell you that I am a traditions fanatic. Maybe it's that I'm the youngest of the fam. Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe it's just in the threads of my being. Whatever it is (I'm going with the latter), I can't stop.
At first, I've mourned the loss of well-known traditions- ones that felt like home and comfort. The ease and habits of having female roommates. The way I could hole away at any time for personal renewal. The family dinners we'd established in college. My coffee shops, my frequented locations. The music I'd always listen to. These things were part of my composure, I thought. But what I'm finding is that I haven't lost them entirely. Sure, some of them were and will only be circumstantially confined to my college days. But that's okay. Because truly, they're not gone. They're still here. They're simply being polished and refined as they converge with those of my husband.
And when I think about it, that's a really, really sweet thing. That's one of the most precious things that could happen to a person.
And thus, one of our newest traditions has formed. It wouldn't exist without the both of us, and I wouldn't want it any other way. Typically it occurs in the first part of the week, when our evenings are still somewhat calm. Aaron's best friend Sam comes over. We pour the wine and crack open the beer and spend the evening all together. We cook a darn good meal and it's always a bit of a fluster at the end, but then we sit. In our customary seats. And we eat and we catch up, we dream a little bit or solve some of the world's problems or discuss some heavy-hearted thing. We do life together, around the table, and then from the couch while we watch New Girl or football, and I love it.
Sam's birthday was a couple of weeks ago. As I've gotten to know this friend I've learned of his unfailing affinity for all things peach and cream cheese. And so, cake. This little 6-incher is a spiced peach cake with a cinnamon-caramel-cream cheese icing.
Peach Cake with Cinnamon-Caramel-Cream Cheese Icing
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 ripe peach, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1/2 a peach, peeled, poached, and sliced, for garnish
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temp
- 2 cups powdered sugar (or more if you want a thicker consistency)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup caramel
Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 6" pans and line bottoms with parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together all your dry ingredients. Add half of the peaches and toss. In another bowl, mix egg, oil, and milk. Add the other half of the peaches and puree with an immersion blender (or a potato masher if you don't have one). Add wet to dry and fold to combine. Pour into pans and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when you touch it. Cool cakes while you make the icing.
For the icing, cream butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar until well combined, then vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel. Make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated, and your set. Ice that cake and top it with some peaches and make some people smile.
Cheers to friends and traditions, new and old.