Check out that gorgeous confection! You’d think it was made use all the usual modern conveniences such as high-speed mixers and modern ovens. Well, you would be WRONG. This cake was baked with love in a wood-burning cook stove fueled only by, you guessed it, wood (and the love).
Yeah, that’s not your everyday oven. And let me tell you, this was no cake walk. Sorry, bad pun. This was no piece of cake. Dammit! There I go again. Anyway, it’s tricky to bake a cake in an oven with irregular heat generated by charring logs and smoldering coals. Yes, this sentiment does make me feel like a spoiled, pampered 21st century baker, but hey, the oven in my Brooklyn apartment isn’t much better than this ancient one.
Check out that temperature gauge. That’s right, only three hand-written settings. No numbers, no degrees, just SLO, MOD, and HOT. What does that even mean!? And look how cute that worthless little Cupid’s arrow pointing to the ‘temperatures’ is. Super helpful. We deduced that somewhere between mod and hot would be the appropriate cake-baking temp and persevered through our lack of accurate readings and efficient appliances.
Did I mention that this cake was for my Gorgeous Grandmother’s birthday? Well it was, and that’s what made it all the more special and definitely worth the extra effort. We were fortunate enough to spend her birthday at our lovely, if rustic, house in West Virginia where peaceful beauty is abundant, but modern luxuries are severely lacking. Hence the fancy footwork with the powdered sugar — our recipe for Seven Minute Frosting couldn’t quite hack it bubbling away on the wood-burning cooktop, so we resorted to spelling our her initials with a dusting of powdered sugar and some festive candles. That’s not to say we haven’t tackled any other unorthodox culinary projects in the Appalachian wilderness though. We’re always up for a challenge.