Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Looking for Love in all the Right Places

I probably don't need to tell you that Valentine's Day is right around the corner. It's still 2 weeks away, but if you've gone into pretty much any store in the last month you've seen the build-up: cards, stuffed animals, flowers, boxes of candy, champagne. And whether you're someone who buys into the hype or not . . . well, Valentine's Day's coming, and it does have meaning.

This year, to me anyway, Valentine's Day is even more important than in past years. No matter your politics, I don't have to tell you that our country is divided, anger and hate is out in the open, people are taking a stand not so much for something but against something, and often that something is other people. Many of us, especially those of us who are in the minority (or who love someone who is marginalized), are fearful in a way we haven't been in many years. And there is not one public face representing comfort or compassion or even acceptance. No single place we can look to for hope.

If we're going to succeed as a society, I think it's essential to stop spending so much time looking inward, instead we need to be magnanimous, look outside ourselves and I'm not even talking about looking far. In this current climate, it's critical to look for love not with binoculars, I'm talking about starting with just a magnifying glass. I believe that we all have the innate desire to belong, to love, to nurture and be nurtured, to grow as a person and to succeed as a society. But truly loving and showing appreciation of that love really begins in a much smaller circle. It's especially important in this moment in time to acknowledge that in love lies our humanity.

Looking for Love in all the Right Places, think small and you’ll find it. | Grapic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #ValentinesDay

I'm asking you to consider, this Valentine's Day, no matter what you feel about the capitalization of the "holiday," that you buy into it. Give a card, a stuffed animal, a box of chocolates to those who you love. I'm not even suggestion a gesture of charity (yes, they're needed too and yes I've written a lot about, and will continue to write about acts of kindness, but not the point I'm making today) or even that you reach out to someone in your outer circle. I'm saying take this holiday at face value. Be part of the grand recognition, all of us on the same day, aimed at those whose unconditional love provide us with real, palpable, emotional sustenance on a regular basis. 

Commercialized? Yes. Exploited? Yes. Over sold? You bet. But this year, maybe just this once, buy into it. In some way. I don't even mean necessarily financially. You can look for expressions of love in the grocery store, in the discount stores, in department stores, probably even in gas stations. Or you can find them in your pile of crayons or your own garden (well, if you live in the south), your kitchen. Make a card, my kids used to do that when they were little and I think I still have every one. I know what I'm going to do (and I bet you do too). 

Most important, critical even in this climate of emotional instability, go out of your way to acknowledge the love in your own world, at the core of your life. Take time to really look around your dinner table, in your text messages, at those people who just by their presence put a smile on your face. Celebrate those people.

And if you're ever looking for love and at a loss, stop by my house. Head for the kitchen. You'll find it there.

Raspberry Chambord Cake, a beautiful black raspberry infused white cake with cream cheese filling and a whipped cream frosting. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInaTornado.com | #recipe #cake

Raspberry Chambord Cake
Raspberry Chambord Cake, a beautiful black raspberry infused white cake with cream cheese filling and a whipped cream frosting. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInaTornado.com | #recipe #cake

Created with my own hands, conceived in my imagination, produced using ingredients in my pantry, and offered with heartfelt appreciation.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Raspberry Chambord Cake         

Printable Recipe

1 box white cake mix and ingredients specified on the box
3 TBSP Chambord (or any raspberry liqueur)

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP Chambord
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup freeze dried raspberries, slightly chopped (plus a few more whole ones for decoration)

2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 TBSP Chambord
3 TBSP seedless raspberry jam

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans.
*Prepare the cake batter according to package directions and pour evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely. 
*Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and 2 TBSP Chambord until smooth.
*In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup of the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. NOTE: you'll use this bowl again for the frosting.
*Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Then fold in the freeze dried raspberries. Set aside.
*In the same bowl you used for the whipped cream before, beat the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream with the remaining 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and 3 TBSP Chambord until stiff peaks form. Remove about 3/4 cup and mix with the raspberry jam for decorating. Set aside.
*Place one layer of cake onto a plate. Pierce multiple times with a fork and very slowly drizzle 1 TBSP Chambord over the cake and allow to sink in. Spread with 12 of the cream cheese filling, top with the second layer of cake another 1 TBSP Chambord and the remaining cream cheese filing. Top with the final layer of cake, pierce and drizzle with another TBSP of Chambord.
*Frost sides and top with the whipped cream frosting. Pipe with the whipped cream/jam mixture and decorate with freeze dried raspberries. Store, covered, in the refrigerator.


  1. Looking for love with "just a magnifying glass". Brilliant!

  2. Very sweet, appropriate for Valentine's Day, calls to action! I do look forward to reading what alcohol beverage and or candy you are going to use in this week's recipe. Not disappointed!

  3. Tim always says he doesn't need a special day to let me know he loves me, I feel different

    1. That is a sweet thing for Tim to say, though, as long as he follows through on some of those other days.

  4. Wanted you to know if I try to pin using the buttons right above your comments, Pinterest is still blocking as "it may lead to spam". I am able to work around it and this rich cake deserves it. Weight Watchers just died! No, only kidding. I may just send a Valentines Day card to my son (late 20's) although it might still embarrass him. Why not? Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. I still send them to my boys. I think they'd wonder if I didn't.

  5. Beautiful cake and a really beautiful idea - I'm no fan of the Valentine's Day commercial blitz but digging past that and celebrating the underlying idea of celebrating love? Heck yeah.

  6. Your kitchen is the FIRST place I'll look! <3


Warning: Comment at your own risk. I have Comment Moderation, meaning I approve all comments before they show up here. So go ahead, I'm not scared!