How any of you in an office can get even a modicum of work done today is beyond me. I dropped my kids off at school and had to take a walk. A fast walk. Cranked up the iPod and sang too loud, off key (like I care?). I'm a bundle of nervous energy.
I wish my tiny "I voted" sticker were larger. I wish it were as big as my head. Bigger even. Watermelon-big. "I DID MY PART," I want to scream. "I VOTED!" I see the folks lined up outside the school cafeteria and I want to envelop them in a warm hug. "Thanks for coming," I'd coo. I wish I had something sweet to give them.
But I'm actually a real mess. Can one be both buoyed and terrified simultaneously? I'm filled with hope, yet tempered by fear, and I bet many of us won't be able to fully exhale until this is all over. Tonight, when I finally tuck my children into bed, way past their bedtime (to be sure), will I be able to whisper: "This moment, this night, is historic. It's bigger than you. It's bigger than our family. This is the night the world became a better place."
I've already baked the celebration cake. In fact, I baked two: one for my friend Lisa, whose birthday is today, and one for us to eat tonight. I put coffee in the batter since we'll be staying up late.
O. O. O.
Recipe for Mocha Chip Celebration Loaf Cake
I'm not superstitious, but I did bake a celebration cake before I'm completely sure I'll have something to celebrate. Whether you do the same is up to you. This cake, which was inspired by Nigella Lawson's excellent Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, has undergone something of a transformation: the addition of coffee and mini chips, a reduction in sugar, a darker chocolate, and a dose of whole wheat flour. It's actually better the next day, if you can wait. Finally, a warning: choosing not to line the loaf pan with parchment would be a grave mistake.
Makes 1 loaf cake
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chips
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups dark brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
4 ounces dark chocolate (I used 72%), chopped and melted over simmering water or gently in the microwave, and cooled slightly
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons hot brewed coffee (brew it extra strong if you want a more pronounced mocha flavor)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Coat a loaf pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom and all 4 sides with parchment cut to fit.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, and salt. Place the mini chips in a second medium bowl and dust with 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture. Give a stir and set aside.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar for about 5 minutes on medium speed until very light, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one, and then add the two extracts. Very gently beat in the cooled, melted chocolate on low speed.
With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the hot coffee spoonful by spoonful. Work slowly and deliberately here -- it will take a few minutes. Touch the batter with your finger. If it feels lukewarm, add the flour-dusted mini chips. If it still feels hot, wait a few minutes. (The chips will melt a little regardless, but you don't want them to melt completely.) Scrape batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 20-30 minutes longer, or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached. Cool COMPLETELY in the pan. For best results and a super-moist, dense cake, wrap the cooled cake -- still in the loaf pan -- in foil and allow to sit overnight before slicing and eating.