Molly, you give me Spring Fever!

photo by Ron Wurzer
photo by Ron Wurzer

It is with deepest envy that I sit down to write about Molly Wizenberg. For those of you who have not spent the last several years of your life admiring her, Wizenberg made her name with Orangette, the fabulously successful blog she began 10 years ago. She is the author of A Homemade Life, and the owner (with her husband) of two Seattle restaurants, Essex and Delancey.

And she has red hair. Ginger Power, Eaters, Ginger Power.

Here in Olympia, we were recently blessed with a string of soft, Spring days and it was just the time to buy Crème Fraiche (That’s what I like to do in Spring! Also: frolic, pet lambs and sneeze a lot) and make Bouchons au Thon (tuna corks!), one of Molly’s recipes from her time in France. These are tiny quiches (frittatas really, since they don’t have crusts) that are handy to have around to serve cold on salad. They aren’t especially photogenic, and certainly not as picture-pretty as Molly.

IMG_2311[1]The thing about buying a container of crème fraiche is: what to do with the remainder?  The answer – I know, I’m predictable- is CAKE. Once my tuna corks were baking, I paused long enough to have a cup of tea, and then set to baking Wizenberg’s legendary French style lemon-yogurt cake. Or in this case it is marycake’s legendary lemon-crème fraiche cake.

It is legendary for me, because my girls were crazy about it, even though I used gluten-free flour (and cut the sugar in half, Molly has a sweet tooth). But the reason this cake is so legendary for Wizenberg, is that it lead her to her husband. A fan of her blog, he wrote to her about this recipe and ignited an epistolary romance. Readers eagerly devoured the progress of their French-food-fueled love, via Orangette’s postings.

The cake was so good, I turned around and made it all over again when the cake pan was empty. This morning, we are going to toast the remaining slices for breakfast. And you are thinking, “If it’s so great, where’s the picture?” Ah yes, well you see, the sun has retreated for a time. It’s regrouping. The mood to tickle little lambs under their little lamb chins has deserted me completely. No light means no photo shoot, since I take all my photos outdoors.

This cake is good plain; I don’t usually make Molly’s syrup and icing. It would be lovely served Especial! Especial! means with a dollop of whipped cream (thank you for that, Genevieve). You can serve many things Especial! Just be sure you always snap your fingers and strike a Flamenco dancer pose when you say the word: “Especial!” Snap! Strike pose!  Good.

Cut back on the sugar; life is sweet enough. And I prefer butter to oil because…life isn’t buttery enough.  And as in cake, so in life: don’t skimp on the zest.