Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chosen Chapters 15-40

I REALLY wanted to be able to make this cake with you. (Hopefully I will when I have a couple extra dollars in my pocket, then I'll update this post.)

"Once upon a time, there was a Persian woman madly in love with a prince. To make him fall in love with her, she baked him this cake, filled with magical love powers. So the legend goes for this nightingale of all cakes."

Well she's from France and writes her recipes in weights, so we're going to rely on bon apetite for this recipe. 

I thought it was appropriate considering the part of the story we just read.

Persian Love Cake

via bon apetite 


Candied rose petals

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Petals from 3 organic roses


  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 14 tablespoons baker's sugar or superfine sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cardamom seeds (removed from about 5 green cardamom pods


  • 2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 2 tablespoons natural unsalted pistachios


Candied rose petals

  • Whisk egg whites in small bowl until foamy. Using pastry brush, brush rose petals on both sides with egg whites; sprinkle on both sides with sugar. Dry on nonstick rack at least 6 hours or overnight.


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter two 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line pan bottoms with parchment paper; butter parchment. Sift flour, 7 tablespoons baker's sugar, baking powder, and salt into large bowl. Whisk yolks and next 4 ingredients in small bowl until smooth. Add yolk mixture to dry ingredients; whisk until smooth. Beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 7 tablespoons baker's sugar; beat until whites resemble thick marshmallow fluff. Fold whites into batter in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until cakes are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks, peel off parchment, and cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.


  • Combine 1/2 cup cream and saffron in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat; let steep 20 minutes. Chill until cold.
  • Beat remaining 2 cups cream, powdered sugar, and rose water in large bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream. Beat until peaks form.
  • Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer, flat side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill at least 1 hour and up to 6 hours. Garnish cake with rose petals and pistachios.
Hungry for More? If you have a question about this recipe, contact our Test Kitchen at To see more recipes like this one, check out our Cake Slideshow.
    • Market tip

      Rose water and cardamom pods are available at some supermarkets and at Indian and Middle Eastern markets, or at

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    Chosen Book Club Chapter 15-40

    A few guidelines while participating in this book club
    How to participate in a discussion
    1. Watch your language! Try to avoid words like "awful" or "idiotic"—even "like" and "dislike." They don't help move discussions forward and can put others on the defensive. Instead, talk about your experience—how you felt as you read the book.

    2. Don't be dismissive. If you disagree with someone else, don't refer to her as an ignoramus. Just say, "I'm not sure I see it that way. Here's what I think." Much, much nicer. 

    3. Support your views. Use specific passages from the book as evidence for your ideas. This is a literary analysis technique called "close reading." (LitCourse 3has a good discussion of close reading.)

    4. Read with a pencil. Takes notes or mark passages that strike you—as signficant or funny or insightful. Talk about why you marked the passages you did. 

    5. Use LitLovers for help. Check out our Litlovers Resources above. They'll help you get more out of what your read and help you talk about books with greater ease.
    (Discussion tips by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online of off, with attribution. Thanks!)

    We'll conduct this discussion in a similar fashion as the bible study. I will post a series of questions. You can use them as a jumping off point for the discussion. Answer any you like, or none at all and come up with your own comments or questions.

    I hope I didn't push you too hard to get this reading done! I felt like it was getting juicy! Is this story interesting you too? 

    Has anything surprised you? Confused you? 

    I really thought there were some great passages in this section of the book. I wanted to share some of my favorites with you. 

    "We are all destroyed, everyone, in our lifetime but few will rebuild. You must redeem your suffering Esther." pg 79

    Can you relate to what Hagai is saying? Ar you perpetually broken or rebuilding?

    "Why is it beauty inspires men, and leaves women troubled?" pg 98

    Good question.  What are your answers if you could speak with Esther?

    "I never cease to be amazed at how G-d will use everything, even evil, to work for good..." pg 147

    This reminds me of Jeremiah 29:11

    "I will trust that G-d will still be at work long after I am gone, and that these later women will know how best to use their freedom." pg 147

    What legacy do you hope to leave behind? Is it faithful? Quiet? Bold?

    "Do not let me betray my king, or my G-d, with thoughts of the happy past. Let those be forever sealed and lost, for they belonged to a daughter named Hadassah who walked among the Jews of Susa. She is no more..." pg 150

    At what point did Esther change from Haddasah? Have you experienced a similar change in your life? 

    "I wonder so often what is the nature of love- is it a decision made on earth, of logic and reaon, a choice made in the time here between dust and dust? Is it made in heaven, a supernatural force that binds us together in this world, and the next? I s love made in mans will, or G-d's heart...For who can teach the heart? I can pose my arms just so, I can cast down my eyes and roll my hips, I can seduce, but I cannot control whom I love. The physical arts are just a masquerade, and these jesters pray no one removes their secret, innermost veils, or the deception is lost. Yes, every girl who goes into the king is an amusement, and nothing more, meant for him the way you would amuse a baby by some shinning scrap" pg 151

    I could write an entire essay on this quote alone. 
    What jumps out at you? What comments do you agree with? What touch your broken heart? 

    "Is this all G-d has called me to? Why, Oh Lord, have you endowed me with such qualities that will never be used in my situation? Why have you given me a desire for more, when I know it can never be?" pg 150

    Oh how this is a constant question my heart cries out. Was I born for more than this? Or is my longing of what C.S Lewis calls an unsatisfied desire? 

    "If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." ~C.S Lewis

    What passages inspired you? What passages touched you? What passages asked you to think differently? 

    I wanted to provide a better format for us to discuss this book. Of course you can discuss it here, but seems like a good platform to keep you in the loop.

    For next week I would like us to make the goal to read to chapter 40.

    Grab button for reEducation of the Feminine Soul