Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust
The alarm clock blares into the pristine quiet. The dreams I was drowning in pull away as I’m pushed through the thick haze into a state of waking. I pry one eyelid open and peer at the clock, flip to my stomach, and bury my face in soft sheets. Breathing deep.
“Mom, is there school today?”
He stands with his blanket, his locks flopping into long-lashed eyes. Instead of answering, I pull back the covers and invite him in, tickling his sides and kissing his soft cheeks and he squeals along with the sound of the alarm.
I stand at the counter in the thunderstorm-darkened kitchen cutting radishes that streak the blade of my knife with pink. I place breakfast bowls on the hard table top and wipe spilled milk all while discussing the newest LEGO creation which has accompanied them to the breakfast table and making up sentences for spelling words as I quiz the boy in an attempt to get him to think about them even once before test day as he groans about there being two more days for him to procrastinate through.
My head stuffed into the refrigerator surveying the contents and determining the lunch situation. They eat so much lately. I can barely keep up. Green rice is prepared, and as I go to add it to their thermoses, dumping the hot water into a pot in the sink to use as wash water, I feel one by my side.
“Not grits, green rice,” I humph as I spoon steaming hot rice into the metal containers. Maybe I’ll make you grits for dinner, though, you little stinker.
“Oh, it smells delicious!” Lene pipes, coming around the corner, her grey eyes wide with anticipation.
I set out containers, and they load them willingly into their bags, choosing fruits, vegetables, and snacks to accompany the dish before zipping them shut.
“Do you have your shoes on?” Silence. “Kjell, does Magnus have shoes on?”
“Mom, Kjell put his breath right in my face!” I sigh, heading towards the living room where backpacks litter the floor accompanied by tennis shoes and small bodies seemingly taking a break right there on the rug. I tie shoes, brush hair, sign sheets, and zip up backpacks as they lace their arms through the straps.
“BUS!” the neighbor kids warn from the driveway as they see the yellow box approach the stop sign across the street.
“Okay, go, go, go.” And they’re halfway down the driveway, me watching at the door when he turns back. Pushing the screen door open, the rainy mist hits my face. “What did you forget?” I question.
“Nothing,” he says as he climbs the stairs, wrapping his arms around me. Then another from my girl, and yet another from the smallest.
“I love you, Mom.”
“I love you. Have a good day!” and they’re back down the driveway just as the squeals of the bus announce its presence and the doors open.
These cakes are one part madeleine, one part financier, and all parts tea cake – or my interpretation of a tea cake, rather. I opted for mini muffin cups and my madeleine pan as my molds of choice. If I had them, I would have baked them in dariole molds and had the ganache drape down the sides. As it so happens, it didn’t matter in the slightest.
The minute my kids hit the door, they followed their noses to the kitchen, gazing on the cake-covered counter and asking permission to fill their faces.
Tender and rich all at once, the chocolate-scented tea, cinnamon, and cardamom carries through the almond flour in these cakes. They’re just dense enough to dunk, if dunking is your thing, and they disappear faster than you would expect, long before the ganache has properly set, kids licking chocolate from their fingers.
Chocolate Spice Tea Cakes
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon chocolate spice tea or other spiced tea, finely ground
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup finely ground almond flour
- For the ganache:
- 4 ounces heavy cream or coconut cream
- 4 ounces dark chocolate
- Using 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, liberally grease 36 mini muffin tins. Apply a light coating of flour, and then set them aside. If your coconut oil is a solid, melt it slightly until liquid and then set aside.
- In a medium bowl beat the eggs until frothy, then add the sugar while mixing. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are thick and ribbons form when the beaters are turned off and lifted from the bowl.
- Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, tea, and the salt. Sift the flours into the bowl, ⅓ cup at a time, folding after each addition. Fold in the remaining ½ cup coconut oil.
- Fill the mini muffin or tart tins ⅔ full, about 1 tablespoon per mold. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. While the oven is preheating, place the tins in the freezer to chill slightly.
- Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Remove from the oven, run a knife gently around the tins to release the cakes, and allow to cool completely.
- To make the ganache, place the cream into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat just until it simmers. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk until thick and smooth.
- Allow the ganache to cool slightly so that it stiffens just a bit, and then dip the cakes into them. Place on a wire rack to allow them to set. Alternatively, you can simply dust the cakes with powdered sugar to finish them.
Each and every day I have the opportunity to feed my kids, pack their lunches, and hug them as they run out the door to school. It’s not an experience I take for granted. From the roof over my head to the opportunities afforded my children by getting a quality education, I know how blessed we are through it all.
This Mother’s Day you can celebrate mothers the world over by choosing to buy Certified Fair Trade products for eating (food items), drinking (coffee and tea), smelling (flowers), and wearing (clothing), which ensures the workers are compensated fairly. It opens the door to allow other mothers and their children to have opportunities that will help them give thanks for those same small moments. Read the stories of just a handful of moms whose lives you stand to impact on BeFair.org. I’ve teamed up with Fair Trade USA, Whole Foods, and Vitamix along with a wonderful group of bloggers to bring you the very best of Mother’s Day brunch. They’re on a mission to show just how moms make a world of difference with biggest Mother’s Day card, which you can sign on the website.
Fair Trade Certified Products featured in the tea cakes:
- Whole Foods Vegan Cane Sugar
- Frontier Organics Vanilla Extract
- Frontier Organics Cinnamon
- Numi Organic Chocolate Spice Tea
- Nutiva Organic Coconut Oil
- Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate
You can follow along on social media sites using #FairMoms, and enter to win a few Fair Trade Certified gifts for you or someone you love.
Giveaway photo credit: Heather Baird of SprinkleBakes, whose Skillet Cinnamon Bun is rather phenomenal.
Fair Trade prize package courtesy of Allegro Coffee, Guittard, Nutiva, BarkThins, prAna, sweetriot, Numi Organic Tea, Frontier Natural Products, Choice Organic Teas, India Tree, Honest Tea. Words, recipes, opinions by me.