The ingredients list is from the recipe our family uses, titled “Grandma King’s Hot Cakes.” The instructions are based on my own experience. It’s from my Grandma Jorgensen’s ward cookbook so there was probably someone living in Salina who had a Grandma King who made these. That’s as well as I can do for attribution.
3 T Sugar
3 T Oil
½ t Vanilla
1 C Milk
1 C Flour
1 T Baking Powder
½ t Salt
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat egg, sugar, and oil in a larger bowl. Add milk to wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Let stand a while while you heat the griddle.
There’s almost no point telling you what temperature to cook them at. The recipe at my parent’s house says 450° but this morning I cooked them at closer to 300°. I suspect there isn’t a close correlation between the temperature you set your griddle to and the actual temperature of the surface. Or maybe it really doesn’t matter much and it just changes the cooking time. As a kid I was taught to cook the first side until a bubble popping on the top leaves a hole that doesn’t close. Experience tells me this is only good advice if you cook them at a lower temperature. I cook by color and smell.
The baking powder was listed as 3 t in the original but that’s exactly the same as 1 T. I suspect that might be too much baking powder but I haven’t tried it with less yet. Vanilla is not in the original. The order I’ve set for mixing should allow you to dirty only one tablespoon and one cup.
I used to think that mixing technique was important and I’ve experimented with various over the years, including two cake methods and the muffin method. The muffin method (roughly what I listed) is probably the right one but the results seem to be about the same any way you do it if the batter is not too thick. Today, for instance, I mixed my batter with a hand mixer. Normally this would result in a very bready, even rubbery texture, but with a thin batter it doesn’t make much of a difference.
Anyone who bakes much knows that one cup of flour is a useless measurement because the density of flour varies widely depending on how you put it into the cup. I have a can of flour which I always shake before opening and then I try to make sure I don’t pack the flour while measuring. Obviously it would be better to measure by weight. The amount of flour determines how thick the batter is.
I like to top mine with butter and cinnamon sugar.
23 July 2008
8 lbs 8 oz
Noah and I decided to camp in the back yard for the first day of summer. John helped setup the tent. Having a two-year-old help setup an old dome tent with fiberglass poles can be frustrating but we got through it.
We looked at stars some but mostly we talked. I told him about memories I have of camping and the kinds of things I talked to my Dad about. I also told him other stories from my childhood. Now he asks me to retell those stories and says how fun he thinks my family is.
I highly recommend air mattresses. They’re good for overnight guests too. Way more comfortable than a hide-a-bed couch and way cheaper too. Thinner is better. The thicker the mattress is the wider the margins you can roll off of. Leaks are a fact of life so save the box and receipt and abuse the 1-year warranty ad infinitum.
A battery powered pump is also a must-have unless your lungs are in really good shape. No, you can’t run your canister vacuum off your car power inverter. I found that out the hard way last year.
Some time ago I started to write an entry about kites. It was about the fun my family and I were able to have with a pair of kites we bought for a dollar. The cheapness of the kite adds a little to the challenge of keeping it up in the air. Economics nuts will agree that I get to realize a lot of consumer surplus. They really are fun once you figure them out. You even have some control over how it flies though you only have one string.
I highly recommend getting one at your local dollar store or supermarket. But that’s not what this post is about anymore.
Yesterday Marc Christensen took some of his co-workers to fly kites during lunch. He owns a variety of stunt and power kites. The smaller stunt kite is a lot of fun. It’s amazing how much control you have with just two strings. Marc also has some much larger kites including one that requires a harness and a variety of safety features.
Rusty had a reasonably easy time of it so I thought I’d have a go. Honestly I didn’t really think about it much. If I had I would have declined.
With your back to the wind there is a cone-shaped area in front of you toward the center of which the pull of the kite gets stronger. The idea is that you keep the kite to the sides of that cone or above it.
This is what happens when you cross through the middle of that cone. I brought the kite over from left to right safely and then started to turn it back to the left. Apparently I brought it too low and lost control. I was launched about 20 feet forward and was very lucky that the kite crashed into the ground. I have several nice bruises and some sore muscles. It was fun, yes, but not a good value proposition for me. I’ll be sticking with smaller kites (or a good deal less wind) from now on.
When we finally got a new camera a while back we gave our old one to Noah. He loves to take pictures. The fun thing is that every once in a while he gets a really good shot. Seriously, check out the composition on this photo:
See more of his photos in his own album in our gallery.
The old camera in question is an Olympus D-360L Eric sold me for $5 after picking it up at DI and fixing it. I promptly destroyed the SmartMedia (smart for manufacturers, not so for consumers) and Rebecca and I had to run down to Circuit City to put it in a camera smart enough to format it.
We baked a cake for dinner with the Browns last week. It was a cake Rebecca and I had sampled at my Mom’s house and I needed to have again.
While it’s obvious my dusting technique is wanting, that didn’t affect the taste. Given the opportunity the Browns and Jorgensens would have devoured at least half a cake more.
Cake mixes are awesome. They’ve got all kinds of neat stuff in them to make it hard to fail. They can also be boring. People will even try to fix a boring cake by putting frosting on it. Yuck! By contrast cakes from scratch require some education and some care to get right. Luckily you can have your cake and eat it to. Cake mixes can be used as the basis for tastier, more interesting baked goods.
The cake in question here is Almond Cream Cheese Pound Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn.
We were once given a bag of some unknown mix and directions for cookies. Months later we finally gave it a try and were delighted at the results. We hungered for more only to discover weeks later what you have already surmised.
Regarding dusting: If someone knows of a store in Utah County where I can get some Baker’s Joy please let me know, or just bring me some. Pam makes a similar spray but I am told that lecithin can leave a sticky residue on my Bundt® pan.
For nearly a year we’ve had these crayon colorings on our fridge. They’re from a family home evening lesson about the creation story. They’ve been falling off the fridge lately. I wanted to share them because to me they’re an interesting example of the difference between Rebecca’s style and my own.
Ignore the subject and the outlines, of course, as they were drawn by a professional. Rebecca colored the plants, I did the animals.