A female parent.
A woman in authority.
The source or origin.
Something that is an extreme or ultimate example of its kind.
To give birth to.
To give rise to.
To care for or protect.
What does the word “mother” mean to you?
In my mind, the word mother connotes strength, creation, tenacity, versatility, nurturing, warmth, intelligence, patience, and, most of all, LOVE.
My own mother embodies all of these words and more. She has been my biggest champion and my staunchest supporter through the years. Even now, she continues to do all that she can to make sure that I’m okay – that I’m healthy and happy. And she cares for my children as though they’re her own.
Throughout this last month or so, I’ve been torn in a million different directions. Between my professional life and my home life, I’ve struggled to find a balance that works for me. I’ve found myself spread too thin and coming close to missing deadlines for very important things (like a Mother’s Day celebration at my son’s school). At every turn, I’ve been fortunate that my own mother has been there to help me through. She jumps in and helps where she can, and she offers perspective when I really need it.
Yesterday, as we were discussing our Mother’s Day meal, she asked what sides we should have with the baby back ribs we were planning to cook on the grill. We talked about cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans. As I started talking about buying heads of cabbage and soaking dried beans overnight, she put her hand on mine and told me to stop. She urged me to forgo my usual from-scratch proclivity in favor of prepared dishes that would allow for a more relaxing Mother’s Day. As much as it goes against so much of what I believe, I listened to her (mother really does know best sometimes) and was able to enjoy my Mother’s Day outside in the fresh air with my children rather than inside over a hot stove.
I couldn’t let the day pass without baking a little something from scratch, though. I chose this small 6-inch chocolate sour-cream cake hastily iced with orange-infused cream-cheese frosting. It came together quickly in the morning, and its rustic simplicity was just what today called for. Mother’s Day is nice, but Mom should really be celebrated every day. And this is an everyday cake – no pomp, no circumstance, just simple delicious goodness.
Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
prep time: 15 minutes
bake time: 20 minutes
yields: 2 6-inch cake layers
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sucanat
2 large eggs
For the Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese
1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
zest of 2 medium (baseball-sized) oranges
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 6-inch round cake pans (or one 9-inch pan)
Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Stir the sour cream, water and vanilla together. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the butter and sucanat. Beat on high until light in texture and color. Reduce speed to medium and add the eggs one at the time, allowing them to become fully incorporated.
Reduce the speed to low and begin adding the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream mixture in two parts.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir with a rubber spatula to finish mixing.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
Split the layers in half lengthwise and frost with orange-infused cream-cheese frosting (recipe follows).
For the frosting:
Combine cream cheese and softened butter in the bowl of your electric mixer. Beat on high until light and fluffy.
With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar slowly until fully incorporated.
Add the orange zest and mix to incorporate.