Pology Cake: Bake as you see fit

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No single apology could ever fit the countless circumstances in which we humans seem to find ourselves hurting each other. In fact, the words themselves don’t often seem to matter so much as the sincerity of delivery, and conveying the trueness of our feelings is as individual as our thumbprints. Accordingly, no one recipe for Pology Cake could ever suit every situation. It is incumbent upon the Pologizer to determine what kind of baked good best communicates the message. So, bake responsibly, but more importantly, bake sincerely.

Lemon Cream Cake

After hurling invectives at Father Jake for his “secret life of misery,” Janie ultimately decided to bake him a Lemon Cream Cake.

“Sweet but not gooey. Self-effacing without being overly self-denigrating. It says I was right, but I had no right to say so.”

See if you agree.

½ cup shortening
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 cups cake flour
3 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat all ingredients together for several minutes until smooth.
Bake for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Do not over cook. Cool completely before frosting.

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

½ cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
4 – 5 Tbl. lemon juice

Cream butter and sugar. Add lemon juice one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Add a few drops of yellow food color if you feel like it.

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut butter cookies are a whiff of sugary childhood. Easy to make, fun to embellish, and one of the few cookies that boast that extra bonus of protein. (That makes them healthy, right?) Baking with children is also a great way to find out what’s on their minds. As Janie and Dylan make Peanut Butter Blossoms, Dylan suggests that they bring the cookies to Keane. Janie asks why he hasn’t been sitting with Keane at camp.

Dylan pressed a cookie too hard and it splayed out over the edge of the baking sheet. “I felt bad to him.”

“What did you feel bad about?” Janie picked up the smashed batter and rolled it into a ball again.

“His mom scared you, and you yelled and he cried, and I was very not happy.”

Janie studied the wad of dough. “That happens sometimes. People don’t always get along.”

“So I guess we should just eat the cookies all ourselves.”

She sighed. Pology Cookies, she thought, a first.

½ cup white sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 ¼ cup flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
bag of chocolate kisses, unwrapped

Beat sugars, peanut butter, shortening and butter together until smooth.
Add in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
Preheat over to 375 degrees.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Flatten in criss-cross pattern with a fork dipped in white sugar.
Bake until just starting to brown, 8 – 10 minutes.
Press a chocolate kiss into the middle of each cookie.
Remove from cookie sheet and cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Struffoli

My little Italian grandmother made Struffoli every Christmas. She would yell at us for picking them out of the bowl with our fingers. One year, I led a revolt of the grandchildren and encouraged them all to grab a handful right in front of her. She laughed her head off. She appreciated a certain amount of right-back-atcha.

Unfortunately, I never got her recipe. Actually, I’m quite certain she didn’t have one, at least not written down. My aunt and I once tried to get her recipe for tomato sauce, and all the measurements were something akin to “enough salt to fill the lines in the palm of your hand.” When we mentioned that our lines might be different from her lines, she just shrugged. Our problem, not hers.

What follows is my best guess about how she made Struffoli. It doesn’t quite look like hers, but it tastes good, and she would be pleased that I made the effort. Also, she would love the idea that Janie gave them to Tug as an apology. Grandma was tough, but also deeply romantic.

With the bowl of Struffoli in her hands, Janie felt like Oliver Twist, begging for gruel.

2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ cup white sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
oil for frying
½ cup honey, warmed
candy sprinkles

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add liquid ingredients except oil for frying and honey.
Knead well until smooth and pliable. Add more flour if needed.
Roll pieces of dough into ½ inch ropes. Cut into ½ inch pieces. They’ll look like little pillows.
Pour enough oil into a frying pan to generously cover the bottom. Heat to medium high.
Place the little pieces of dough in the hot oil, leaving enough room to flip and roll them around.
In a minute or two they should be golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon or spatula and place on paper towels to drain off excess oil.
Place in a bowl and drizzle warmed honey over them, tossing to coat evenly. Add candy sprinkles.
As an alternative, you can make a mixture of cinnamon and confectioners sugar to sprinkle over it, however, I must warn you that my grandmother would not approve.

The muscles in his abdomen relaxed, and she felt herself sinking lower into him. She slid down to his side, curling herself to the contour of his body.

“Hey,” he whispered against the top of her head. “What’s this about apology cake. I get the feeling it’s something I’m gonna need to know.”

“I’ll tell you tomorrow,” she yawned.

Drowsiness settled on them and they slept.