The Great Eight Bake

The Great Eight Bake

Feb 18, 2015 by Andrea Lucaciu

I like to bake. It’s comforting to me, not just because of sweet, vanilla smells wafting through the air or the warmth and glow of an oven, but because the recipe tells you exactly what you need to do.

My sister Anca would always terrify me when it came to her cooking. I’d ask her how she made this or that and she’d say something like, “Well, I just added whatever was in the fridge,” and, wait for it: “I eyeballed everything.” I’m sorry? You don’t measure a thing? Nothing? Nope. Nada.

And I always resented that. Such blaring confidence. But you know what, no one can do that with baking. Even the pastry chefs. You have to measure it all out or you’ll get something else entirely.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that what you bake will taste or look like what it’s supposed to, even if you follow the recipe. But you know what? The batter can never taste awful (er, unless you OD on the leavening agents). Can you do that in cooking? I think not.

That’s why you’ll always catch me and the eight girls of Casa Josef baking in the kitchen. It’s just what we’ve always done since they were toddlers learning to count how many cups of sugar we’ll add to the mix. Now, they’re baking all by themselves (with missing measuring cups, too. Can you say can fraction conversion? Math is useful and tasty!) and lucky me, I get to eat.

Maybe one day we’ll feel comfortable enough to veer over to the cooking side, but as for right now, we’re busy enjoying David Lebovitz’s Black-bottom Cupcakes and Banana Walnut Oatmeal Bars with Salted Caramel from Top with Cinnamon.

Andrea Lucaciu, our little (biological) sister, decided it’d be her job post-college to be a big (adopted) sister to eight girls abandoned by their families at birth. Daily life happens in a small Transylvanian hillside town and sometimes they bake together. You can read more about their adventures here.

photos by Paul McEntire