Butternut Squash Cake with Brandy Butterscotch (& growth)

Everyone’s always talking about how much growth happens during the first year of marriage. Adjusting to a new life together, learning how to compromise, figuring out the best communication style to avoid hurt feelings.

Butternut Squash Cake with Brandy Butterscotch

All very real things that Seth and I have dealt with. All things that we’re learning as we grow in life and in love.

There’s also been a much more literal kind of growth in our first year together. We started a garden! We grew tomatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi – the list goes on! There were rows of sweet corn and piles of green beans. Birds are still eating seeds from sunflowers the size of hubcaps. Then there were the total and complete failures too: radishes so spicy they made our eyes water, Brussels sprouts that never got larger than a marble, one measly little watermelon that was more rind than fruit.

Butternut Squash Cake with Brandy Butterscotch

This last failure I blame on our squash. I don’t know what it is about our soil, but our squash plants went absolutely bonkers. They took over a quarter of the space, crawled over the fence (and pulled it down!), and smothered any and all other plants in their path.

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Yellow Cake with Caramel Icing (& Zack)

I have been very fortunate in my short time on this earth. I married the love of my life, I’m working for myself, my dog is heavily medicated and, thusly, well behaved.

Yellow Cake with Caramel Icing | Midwest Nice

Blessedly, I have never known great loss.

My husband has.

Thankfully, I don’t know what it’s like to have to say goodbye to someone you’ve known your whole life.

My husband does.

Unfortunately, I don’t have memories of Zack.

My husband does.

Yellow Cake with Caramel Icing | Midwest Nice

He has told me about Zack. Relayed stories and shared secrets. There have been tales of snow-covered hay bales, piano practice, and football games. Recollections of tiny hands pushing even tinier tractors around the living room rug. Mentions of cross-country family trips and harrowing encounters with the neighbors’ dog. An anecdote of how he held the steering wheel. A guarantee that we would have butted heads.

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Chocolate Cake for One (Or Two) (& tastes)

There was a period of time in college where I wanted nothing to do with chocolate.

Didn’t care for it. Not the sight of it, the smell of it, and especially not the taste of it.

This continued for about a year. Not wanting anything chocolate flavored or related or even tangentially connected to it. And this was way back when I worked at a candy magazine and was constantly surround by chocolates of all varieties. It was a dark time.

Thank god that’s over.

The distaste was merely a blip, a nonevent in my tastebuds’ lives. Now, blessedly, I love chocolate once more. Can’t get enough of it, actually.

My favorite way to eat it? In cake.

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Carrot Cake Loaf (& sweets)

‘Bout time I earn my keep around here.

I’m embarrassed at how long it’s been since I’ve posted a baked good of some kind.

Lately, I’ve been more into main courses and side dishes than anything. A gal can’t live on cake alone, after all.

Lord knows there’s been no shortage of sweets in my life, though. I eat dessert/something sweet nearly every day. Lately though, it’s been ice cream topped with cinnamon toast crunch (trust me on this) or those mini chewy M&M cookies from the grocery store.

On occasion, it’s also been a piece of carrot cake from work.

There’s a lovely woman at work that does all of the baking. It is not me. I was hired to bartend, not to bake. I tell customers that on a weekly, if not daily, basis (inevitably after they see my tattoos and then glance at the pastry case). I have no desire to usurp her territory and I’m enjoying a break from professional baking. That, and she makes a damn fine carrot cake, arguably better than mine.

Until now.

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Angel Food Cake (& the elderly)

I’ve always considered angel food cake to be kind of an “elderly” dessert. Something grandparents crave or that is served at the VFW Bingo Night. Never something I wanted or even considered as a legitimate dessert option. They were always lauded for their airy-ness, low-sugar content, and lack of fat. (Especially the ones at the grocery store in those clear plastic containers.) Umm…hello? This is dessert. I want rich. I want sugary. I want fatty. Thankyouverymuch.

My lack of desire for what I deemed to be a senior sweet is surprising considering my taste in every other area of my life. My house looks like that of anyone’s great aunt (I do love me a good floral pattern and light pink color scheme), I prefer vintage items to new, and I drive a Buick the size of a small yacht. I love old people tropes, relish in them.

It wasn’t until I dusted off my own two-piece tube pan (given to me by my grandmother years and years ago, getting carried from house to house on the off chance I’d suddenly be struck with the urge to make a dessert I had no interest in), that I realized what I’d been missing out on for nearly two decades of my life. Yes, it was light. Yes, it was delicately sweet. Yes, it was delicious! Especially when paired with fresh whipped cream and macerated berries (or even some jam!)

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