I'm told by many of female friends that most women have been planning their wedding since they were little girls marrying off their Barbie dolls. Many of them admit they are, in fact, some of these women. They know the china pattern, the first song, how they'll dance with their father, and what the dress will look like down to a sequin-sewn T. Some women already have their favorite florist on speed dial just in case. I know bakers who attest that some brides in question have called them about cake flavors before even informing the parents about the big news.
The fairer sex may just be a tad crazy, it seems.
Men (well, maybe most men, I can't speak on behalf of my sex or sexual preference) never think about this. I certainly never have past the fact of, "Dear Lord, if I ever want to do one of these giant circus weddings with 300 people please let the flower-and-glitter-laden gazebo I take my vows under collapse on top of me." Because, honestly, I'm not a wedding fan; and though I have been to some rather lovely ones and enjoyed myself I have had no desire to really take part in the whole affair.
Now, apparently, I have to do another wedding. Mine.
Because BF proposed.
And I said yes.
Fiancée and I were having our first night to just sit down and unwind since I had returned to China. We had a lovely night at home watching movies and eating a dish I was testing for the cookbook. Eventually we retired for the night. Suddenly he grabbed me close and he told me he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.
Then in the comfort and warmth of our home he got on one knee and asked me to marry him.
Never have I met someone who matches me so well, who can make me laugh, who can charm my parents, who can calm me down when I panic, who thinks about my needs, who sets me straight or humors me when I need it and knows which response to give, who takes out the trash without being asked, who can make a fine cocktail, who supports me in everything I do, who makes my rockets fly, and who enjoys cooking and eating an epic meal.
It was probably the easiest questions ever asked of me.
So yes, now we have a wedding to plan. (Who am I kidding? I'm asking a friend in the planning biz to do all that craziness for me). How one even goes about this I have no idea. My lack of ovaries never prepared me for this and as much as you think two gays might have this sort of thing down pat, we apparently are going to have our pink cards rejected on the notion that table seating seems beyond insane to me.
All we know is we want it to be small, intimate, and informal. Oh, and we want tacos. Tacos kick ass.
Still, right now, I think we're just happy enjoying being engaged. It gives us time to reflect about us and our future. It gives us time to enjoy each other because somehow things magically change after marriage.
(Note that it's a marriage, not a gay marriage. It's not like I gay park my car. I just park it. California is having that Prop 8 legal battle right now; fuck you anyone who voted yes on passing that homophobic law. We would like to sign a piece of paper and have equal tax treatment, thank you. Till then, civil union it seems or be patient and see what the courts say.)
Another part of enjoying this engagement time is stopping every once and a while and just baking together. This simple persimmon spice cake is one such thing. I made it the day after the engagement. Persimmons so fresh and husky with fragrant, natural spice adorn the top. Classic spices such as ginger and cloves give it a warmth and aroma that fills the room. It's an upside-down cake as well, and is therefore soaked with caramel flavored by the fruit.
I've taken to calling it engagement cake. I'm becoming smitten with that word all of the sudden. You understand, right? (Just to be clear I mean the word "engagement," but I'm equally smitten with the word "cake" as one usually entails that the other will be occurring at some point in the future.)
Today, our first day engaged, was spent home putzing together on the couch. We watched the overcast clouds pass by, we talked about nothing in particular, and fielded calls from overjoyed and supportive family and friends. We also ate a lot of engagement cake, which, right now, I think is my new favorite cake of all.
Upside-Down Persimmon Spice Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 persimmons, peeled and sliced thinly
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and spices in a bowl and set aside.
2. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of the sugar and cook, stirring until it comes to a boil. Pour into a 8x2-inch circular pan. Place the persimmon slices inside in a circular or sunburst pattern.
3. Using a stand mixer beat butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the rest of the sugar and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for 30 seconds each and being sure to scrape down the sides and bottom. Add the vanilla extract and mix in for 30 seconds. Reduce speed to low and add 1/2 the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, Add the milk and mix in. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Pour batter over persimmons and level the top.
4. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cake is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove it from the oven and run a kinfe around the sides. Carefully turn the cake out onto a plate. If some of the persimmon slices stick to the pan scrape them out and place them on the cake. Serve.