neighbor cake.

March 14, 2019

Neighbors and cakes just go together, don’t they? Need a cup of sugar? Borrow one from your neighbor. Short one egg? Knock next door. Beware the big bad wolf, et cetera, but a little friendliness and generosity on the neighbor front is generally rewarded in spades, if not also in ingredients you can fold into batter.

I’m a sucker for a bit of synchronicity. No matter if something in the cosmos actually aligned to make it work out this way, but the past week has been filled with good cake and good neighbors and it all feels worthy of a show of gratitude, or at least a celebratory slice.

Above our table, a new lamp. On the table, a dozen eggs. In the three different kinds of cakes we’ve made over the past week, those eggs. All of them by way of neighborhood friends.

It’s not every day that I commission a tiny lamp from a neighborhood shop and get sent home with two different shades to try and a dozen of their just-gathered eggs for good measure. And it’s not every day that I can immediately fold those extra golden yolks into cake recipes so delicious we’ve been compelled to make three of them in one week.

All week, we’ve had cake on the table and a lamp overhead.

I can’t supply the eggs, but if you’re looking for foolproof cake, our neighbor and fellow lover of all things simple, Odette Williams, has her first book, Simple Cake, out this week from Ten Speed Press. It’s delightful and beautiful and photographed by another Brooklyn friend, Nicole Franzen. The recipes are simple enough to let you succeed at making them, but special enough to make you feel extra proud of yourself for doing it. Odette will make you double-sift your flour and hand-whip your cream, but you won’t even be mad at her for it. And in spite of what sounds like extra effort, just twenty minutes later you’ll have a cake in the oven and your dishes already sudsy in the sink.

In celebration of Odette’s genius, I’m giving away two copies of Simple Cake today on Instagram—one perhaps for you and one for a friend. All of the instructions on how to enter are on this post (US only; winners to be selected Friday, March 15, 2019, 12pm EST)!

For the curious:

+ We bought our new lamp from one of our favorite local shops, Holler & Squall. The shade is vintage milk glass, paired with a new cloth-covered cord and brass fittings. It’s perfect and it transformed our apartment overnight.

+ Speaking of neighborhood shops, when I remembered that I’d given away our non-stick cake pans in a fit of purging, I stopped into Whisk and bought two 8-inch round uncoated aluminum cake pans. They’re the ones Odette recommends in her book. They’re solid and sturdy and six individual cakes later, we’re very pleased.

+ Speaking of beautiful eggshells, after a little hiatus, the team at East Fork is back to making their very wonderful mugs (shown above in their eggshell glaze!). Mugs are relaunching today at noon and you can find them alongside my other East Fork favorites (like those side plates!). Use the code TEALEAVESFAVES for free shipping on your order. (Expires 4/15/2019; US shipping only.)

This post includes affiliate links. Reading My Tea Leaves might earn a small commission on the goods purchased through those links. East Fork Pottery is an RMTL banner advertiser and affiliate partner, but this post is not sponsored.

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  • Reply Doe March 14, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    lovely lamp!

  • Reply Rachel March 14, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    An emphatic thank you for linking to The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Scieszka was ahead of his time when he wrote about the importance of context. Plus, it’s a great story. 🙂

    And I was quite pleased to see your lamp update!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 14, 2019 at 1:35 pm

      True story: I had so conflated his version with the originally version, that I almost forgot this might not be a universal reference point!

  • Reply shin March 14, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    You’re making me drool!

  • Reply Lexie March 14, 2019 at 2:08 pm

    Love a cake post on Pi Day! There is room for both desserts today!!! 🙂

  • Reply Cynthia March 14, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    The gift of eggs upon buying your beautiful lamp reminded me of one of our favorite freebies. My husband had driven six hours across the mountains to purchase and pick up our yellow lab puppy. He was born on a stone fruit farm and the kind folk sent my husband home with the puppy and a hundred pound bag of apricots! We almost named the little guy Peach in their honor.

  • Reply Doe March 14, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Just made Odette’s cardamom coconut cake for a birthday lunch here tomorrow with B, D, L! Oh, the aromas! Next will buy the book! xo

  • Reply Sarah March 15, 2019 at 1:06 am

    Woah! Is it possible that the mugs are already sold out? Or did I misunderstand the timing? They look beautiful.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE March 15, 2019 at 6:21 am

      They did sell out! But they’re restocking ASAP!

  • Reply Ashley P March 15, 2019 at 9:10 am

    THANK YOU for the mug link! I’ve been waiting to buy mine for a year now and I’m so glad I jumped on it when I saw your Instagram post 🙂

  • Reply April March 15, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    Cakes in spring are the best. I adore that lamp and the mug 🙂 I will definitely check out Odette’s book because cake makes life so much happier!

  • Reply Allison April 5, 2019 at 10:37 am

    Hello! Love your blog!

    I am planning to invest in some East Fork pieces in the near future and am wondering what you find most versatile to begin with, since they are a bit expensive. I have my eye on a couple of the Everyday bowls. Do you find they are large enough to work as both serving bowls and as individual bowls?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE April 5, 2019 at 11:29 am

      Hi! I was definitely going to suggest the Everyday Bowls! We love them and find ourselves reaching for them very often, especially because we’re so often eating one-pot meals like pasta dishes, soups, stews, grain salads, etc. I would say they’re large enough to pile a bunch of small apples in, or to serve something like a side for two, or to use to serve chips or crackers, etc.for a few friends, but I’d say they’re really more of an individual sized vessel when serving something like a full dinner.

  • Reply Allie July 30, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Love Simple Cake! I was curious–when you baked this cake, does the recipe call for a 10-inch pan? If so, did you split it into two 9×3 inch pans or do you think all of the batter would fit into one 9×3 inch pan without overflowing?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE July 30, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Hmm. I think I used two 8×3 pans? I don’t remember exactly what I did, but there should be notes about using alternate pan sizes in the sidebar! There are on most recipes in the book!

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