So, how are you?
Do anything exciting over the weekend?
Did you go out?
Where did you go?
Do you ever have those conversations where you practically have to cross-examine someone to keep it (painfully) moving? This isn’t even an exaggeration – I’ve found myself talking to people who literally won’t say more than a word in response to a question. It’s awkward as fuck and I have precious little time to waste on someone who cannot engage with the English language. I eventually give up and just turn around to face whatever the hell else is behind me, be it another human, a houseplant or a brick wall. Even taking into account that some people may be shy, it still takes two to keep a conversation going. Sorry. Moving along!
Or how about the people who think they’re in a Shakespeare play and will spout off an hour long monologue? Though I seem like a rude cow on my blog, I’m actually very polite and considerate in person. I’ve become a pro at smiling, nodding, laughing in appropriate places, and mm-hmm’ing my way through “conversations” that are completely one-sided. Why is it that I know every excruciating, minute detail of someone’s day/week/month/year and they can’t even be bothered to ask me a single question? Or, they’ll ask me how I’m doing but will interrupt me in the middle of my answer to start talking about topic number one: themselves.
I’m an excellent listener. If you say something to me, I will listen to your thought in its entirety and I will respond in a way that lets you know I heard what you said, that I digested it, and I will follow it up with a question or a comment to show you that I’m emotionally invested. Please stay silent until I’m finished with my thought. Please extend the same courtesy I’m extending to you. I hate those conversations where the other person has seemingly finished saying something, I take their silence as my cue to speak and as soon as I’ve uttered the first three words, they start talking again, raising their voice so as to overpower mine to ensure that I’ll hear what they’re saying.
Is this really necessary?
What is unnecessary is me pretending to talk to you because this isn’t a real conversation. Conversations involve two people who hopefully like and respect each other, sharing thoughts and words and emotions. There’s sharing, mutuality, validation.
I’ve had conversations where I was asked a question, I start answering said question and then the person I was speaking to immediately answers their own question, talking right over me. So I fall silent. And then I listen to them talk for an hour before I really lose patience and leave.
I don’t think it’s in response to how self-centred and chatty I am either. I rarely ever talk about myself. First of all, I don’t think my life is very interesting, nor do I EVER want to be seen as bragging about any part of it. I never talk about the law unless it’s with colleagues. I don’t want to bore non-law-talking-folk with legal shit nor do I want to be seen as flaunting my brilliance. So I don’t talk about it. I dumb down my language. And this does a disservice to myself.
I am worth something. Far more than how I treat myself and allow myself to be treated.
The Husband and I try not to look at our cell phones when we have dinner. It’s hard for him because he’s a realtor and he gets a lot of calls/emails/text messages from clients and other agents at all bizarre hours of the day. But we do what we can. Whenever we go out for dinner, I always point out other tables to him where every person seated has their face tilted down towards a screen for the entire meal. No one speaks to each other. It’s bizarre. I’ll see them typing into their phones, be it Facebook, Instagram, text messaging, whatsapp, whatever. Talking to the faceless masses on the internet but not to the person sitting next to them. For.the.entire.meal. Alas, that’s the world we live in. Where the art of face-to-face conversation is dying. It makes me sad. It makes me want to quit this bitch.
I’m getting so cranky about the whole thing that I’d rather spend my weekends home, alone, away from people. And baking and eating this cake because it’s soaked in rum.
Earl Grey Rum Cake (adapted from The Baking Bird)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
the contents of 2 earl grey tea bags
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm, strong earl grey infused tea
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, all spices and the contents of the tea bags. Make a well in the center and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, warm tea, lemon juice, vanilla, sour cream and rum.
Using a metal whisk, stir everything together until fully combined. The batter will be fairly runny. If using the white chocolate chips, add them now. I’ll explain why using them may or may not be a good idea down below.
Spoon batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, approximately 55 to 60 minutes. While the cake bakes, make your rum syrup.
Rum Syrup (slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark rum
Melt the butter in a medium sized sauce pan over medium high heat. Once it has melted, add the sugar and the water. Boil for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and add the rum. Move back onto the heat and allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil for about 30 seconds. Add the salt and the vanilla, stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
After you’ve removed the cake from the oven, leave the cake inside the bundt pan. Poke the cake with a skewer to form holes on the top. Pour some of the syrup over top of the cake and let it soak in. After five minutes, pour some more syrup over the top and let it soak in. After the cake has rested in the bundt pan for at least 20 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack that is placed onto a pan or baking sheet. Poke the underside of the cake (now the top) with the skewer and slowly pour more of the syrup over top. Repeat every five minutes until the syrup has been used up. If any syrup runs off the cake onto the pan/baking sheet, you can scoop it up with a spoon and pour it back over the cake. You want it to soak up as much of the syrup as possible.
Now, I said that the white chocolate chips were optional and this is why: the batter is so runny that most of my chips sank to the bottom of the pan while baking. They stuck to the bottom of the pan and made it difficult for me to flip my cake out. The bundt came out of the pan but all the chocolate chips were still stuck to the sides. I removed them with a spoon and carefully arranged them back on the top of my cake. It doesn’t look that great but trust me, it tasted aaaaaaaah-mazing! White chocolate caramelizes when it’s cooked. The chocolate chips were crispy, with a deep, amber, buttery, caramel flavour. I loved it. I was actually picking chocolate chips off and eating them on their own.
This is one of the best cakes I’ve made in a while. The sides of the cake were fabulously crispy and the inside is incredibly moist. It probably would’ve been moist without the rum syrup but trust me, you have to use it. It’s intoxicating in the best way possible – each bite of cake bursts with sweet boozy flavour, which pairs unbelievably with all the spices and the earl grey. You’d think this would be a sweet cake with the syrup but it’s not. It’s perfect.
Store the cake at room temperature in an air tight container for three days, after which I’d store in the fridge (if there’s still any left!). The cake remains moist for days on end and would probably taste fantastic warmed up with some whipped cream or ice cream.
Who needs conversation when you have this cake to keep your mouth occupied?