Sometimes, I need to be reminded that in order to grow I need to move out of my comfort zone. Whether that would be grueling through an intense strength-building hatha flow yoga classes or challenging my culinary techniques through daylong baking projects.
Most of the time, I feel good about my effort. I mean, it’s one thing to have to waddle for a whole week from a challenging series of hip-opening poses, but at least, I know I will have increased my range of motion!
Other times, I wonder why I try at all. After trying the Pierre Herme’s Italian meringue method for macarons last week, which failed despite careful monitoring of the temperature, I felt totally defeated and hopeless. None of the cookies had the characteristic feet, and two of the batches stuck to the paper due to my erroneous substitution of waxed paper for parchment paper.
Literally, it was a waste of time, ingredients, and energy. Somehow, I managed to convince myself it was okay to try another grueling baking project this week. This time I devoted my Monday afternoon to the well-raved but tricky Flo Braker yeast coffee cake.
Although I badly wanted to make this recipe the first time I saw it, the ambiguous directions were a major deterrent. In fact, it seemed to be a comment many bloggers have made in regards to it. “I love the cake, but I wish the directions were more clear.” Still, bloggers were not deterred by the ambiguity, as can be seen here and here, so why should I?
I got my hands (and later the rest of myself) dirtied in the flour and the dough. I kept my hands busy washing dishes between rises. I pulled my ruler out for the first time in years and carefully measured each rolled out layer of this cake.
The result was one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever made thanks to the very detailed and helpful visual instructions provided by Lola Mansurov. Usually, cakes this gorgeous deter me from wanting to take a bite, but it is a “pull-apart” coffee cake after all. I just wanted to get my hands into it to see if it will indeed pull apart! Who can resist the idea of a cake this approachable and friendly? ;)