The soft, warm, pale-yellow glow that envelopes all of us growing and sprouting creatures is something that I simply can't help but to draw copious amounts of pleasure and inspiration from.
Just this afternoon, this late afternoon with its breeze, its scents of blooms, its buzzing little beings, its green grass swaying, I took a cup of warm, lemony-blueberry green tea as one companion, and my little dog Lola as another, and off I went into the back yard to daydream for a just a smidgen of a spell.
And as I sat there on the little brick ledge just below the heavy-with-fruit, drooping branches of our precious apple tree, our fruit-bearing girl, slowly and leisurely sipping my fragrant tea, I felt an overwhelming moment of connection to my longings and my desires.
I felt a connection to those things that grow and stir in me like new life does, those things that I so desperately want to touch and to make a reality, and felt a sweet, rich, buttery sorrow, like bites of a moist, sweet cornbread cake with a generous spreading of salted honey butter frosting that dissolves on the tongue, drift over me like that familiar-yet-friendly shadow that I know so well.
As I sat and sipped, eyes narrowed to keep the full strength of the sun's rays out of them, and my quieted soul open to the myriad of natural soft sounds that occasionally punctuated, I observed and experienced not only my own contentment, but Lola's as she found the perfect spot to carefully lay in the soft, fresh, cool grass, face turned towards the glow, her shiny black coat being gently teased by the breeze.
And then I saw her eyes narrow and become shiny in the strength of the sun, as well.
We sat in our places, as happy as two peas in a pod, with contented spirits, inspired and moved by the unassumingly beautiful space we found ourselves in.
We rested as two kindred souls, each knowing that we needed a few moments to have her own private thoughts, and were quiet.
Ah...a new season.
A new season of the year, and a new season of life, both miraculous and purposeful, both a cause for celebration and also of a sort of sweet melancholy for the old season about to pass.
Sometimes it seems like the golden light itself is a muse, a dancing sprite that comes and beckons one to remember where they originally came from, and to long for it.
To long for home.
To long for the taste, the sound, the feel of the ether from which we sprang.
But that is the friend that is this golden season, this companion that inspires and makes us crave, from deep within, those things that seem to be just out of reach, yet amazingly close and graspable.
It is a space, a time of year, a feeling—call it what you will—that reminds me that I, like everyone else, have been created with an inner longing that is meant to bring me to that place that God has already prepared for me.
Now I, along with you, just need to taste its sweetness and claim it.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Sweet Cornbread Cake with Salted Honey Butter Frosting
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 2 8” cakes
• ½ cup yellow cornmeal
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
• 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
• 3 eggs, room temp
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temp
• Salted Honey Butter Frosting (recipe below)
-Preheat the oven to 350°, and line two 8” cake pans with parchment, and spray with cooking spray.
-Add the cornmeal to a small saute pan, and place over medium heat; toast the cornmeal, stirring it constantly, for about 1 – 2 minutes, or just until it begins to become warmed with a nutty, corn aroma; remove from pan, and pour into a medium-size bowl to cool for about 5 minutes.
-After the cornmeal has cooled slightly, add to it the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and the salt, and whisk to blend everything well; set these dry ingredients aside for a moment.
-To the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter and cream that by itself until it becomes fluffy, about 1-2 minutes; next, add in the sugar, and continue creaming until the mixture becomes fluffy, about 3 more minutes.
-Add in the eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding in the next.
-Add in the vanilla and the honey, and continue mixing until incorporated.
-Next, alternate the dry ingredients with the buttermilk, beginning with about 1/3 of the dry ingredients (allow those to completely incorporate), and then half of the buttermilk (allow that to completely incorporate); then another 1/3 of the dry, and the rest of the buttermilk, finishing finally with the remainder of the dry ingredients; mix just until combined, taking care not to over-mix.
-Pour the batter as evenly as possible between the two prepared cake pans, and bake for about 32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean; then, allow the cakes to rest in their pans for 10 minutes.
-Turn the cakes out, and allow them to completely cool before frosting; then, frost only the tops, generously, with the Salted Honey Butter Frosting, and serve. (You can also save one of the cakes for a later time, if desired, by wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and freezing it; then, just thaw at room temp and frost, etc.)
Salted Honey Butter Frosting (frosts 2 8” cakes, tops only) Ingredients:
• ½ cup unsalted butter, room temp
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1-2 tablespoons milk
-Add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whip attachment, and whip on medium-high or high speed until they come together and become very fluffy and light, about 2-3 minutes (at first the mixture may seem a bit crumbly, but it will become fluffy as you whip).
-Use immediately, or keep covered in the fridge until ready to use, at which point you can re-whip the frosting until light and fluffy again.