I make this cake so many ways—with herbs and spices, citrus juice and spirits, and various extracts and essences. I’ve never added fruit or nuts, because I prefer the crumb unadulterated, but I’ve started to wonder how peaches might fare. I bake it in layers, in bundts, in tiny little flower molds. It’s a house favorite, a backbone of my cooking-for-many repertoire.
Why? Because it’s as simple as making pancakes, bakes up to have a moist interior and a crispy, golden exterior, and because it’s a blank slate for whatever floral notes or earthy spice I want to infuse it with that day. I’ve even subbed white wine that needed using for the citrus juice to good effect. Grand Marnier is good too. Maybe a nice Calvados and warm spices in winter. This cake is a hero with a thousand faces. Epic.