this i believe

It’s hard to top a day on which I get to hang out with my mom and dad and watch my beloved St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cubbies in extra innings at Wrigley. Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks and I don’t care if I every come back…

Even though there were at least as many Cards fans as Cubs fans in the stands, and even though the Cubs are a miserable 33 games out of first place, it’s clear that nothing can shake the beliefs of a true baseball fan. We sat behind an octogenarian Cubs fan who I overheard say he had been coming to the stadium since he was 8 years old. When I hollered for joy at Carlos Beltran’s game-tying homer in the late innings, this gentleman turned and said to us, “Sit down! You seemed like very nice people until I found out you were idiot Cardinals fans.”

This elderly gentleman’s loyalty to the lovable losers, even after (as my roommate puts it) “104 years of shame and embarrassment” since the Cubs last won the Series, got me thinking about the unshakable beliefs that baseball fans have in their clubs.  It got me thinking about this monologue from probably the best baseball movie of all time, Bull Durham.

Crash Davis Believes In….

I certainly believe that the DH should be outlawed and I certainly have my own list of beliefs that are questionable importance to anybody else in the world and of utmost importance to me. At the top of my personal list is “I believe that everybody should have a homemade cake on their birthday.” If you are my friend and I am aware that it is your birthday, this is a non-negotiable point.

Sometimes I am so busy that I forget about my own rule until 1 hour before I am supposed to be at the birthday party and the “cake”  is Pizookie, one of the laziest but most delicious desserts I know (Recipe= Tollhouse cookie dough baked until warm but still gooey and topped with vanilla ice cream).

Sometimes I make my very favorite chocolate cake of all time and then forget to take pictures of the finished product. And now I have a wonderful excuse to make it again soon so I can post it.

Sometimes I want to serve birthday cake for breakfast and so I make this coffee cake. I believe that any cake can be a breakfast cake if it tastes good with coffee, but not all people share this belief and so I am forced to make a cake that is socially acceptable for breakfast.

I believe that the combo of sour cream, chocolate chips, and cinnamon-sugar is as sweet as the perfectly executed 4-6-3 double play. I bet that even that crochety old Cubs fans would agree with me on this one and I bet you will too.

Classic Coffee Cake

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 c granulated sugar

3 large eggs, separated

1 1/2 t vanilla

2 c sour cream

3 c all-purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1 1/2 t baking soda

3/4 t salt

1-2 c semisweet chocolate chips (adjust depending on how chocolatey you want it to be)

1/2 c sugar

1 t cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter or spray a 9×13 pan and cover the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper.

Cream butter and 1 1/2 c sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda, baking powder, and salt. Alternate mixing in dry ingredients and sour cream until the mixture is smooth and very thick. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and fold into batter.

Mix together the remaining cinnamon and sugar. Spread half the cake batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half the cinnamon-sugar and half the chocolate. Dollop on the remaining batter and spread it carefully. Top with remaining cinnamon-sugar and chocolate, pressing the chips into the batter slightly. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Serve with coffee (duh) and revel in eating cake for breakfast…

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