I can’t tell you the next time it will rain. I can’t tell you if the way you see orange is the same way I see orange, and I can’t tell you if you’ll get a pony for Christmas.
I can’t tell you if you’re going to get the phone call for that dream job, your dream boy or your dream girl. I can’t even tell you if you’ll dream at all tonight.
What I can tell you is that this bread is delicious.
I’ve been doing a lot of realizing lately. I’ve realized that often, no matter how hard I try and no matter what I do, things don’t go as I’d planned/hoped/wished/dreamed. If they had, I probably wouldn’t even been writing this. I’d be too busy working for The New York Times. And I’d probably hate it.
Sometimes, I wish time would fast forward to that moment I’ve been wanting for so long. Sometimes, I wish time would stand still. Most of the time, though, I’m grateful that I don’t have that kind of control. There’s a plan for me, and though a lot of it is still hidden in the clouds, I know things will end up all right.
Even with baking, I’m not always sure how things will turn out. I put a bunch of tasty ingredients into a bowl, mix them up, put them into the oven and hope they come out just as tasty as they did when they went in. Sometimes, it works like a charm. Sometimes not. But that’s how life goes, doesn’t it? You’ve got to have a few bad eggs along with the good ones.
It reminds me of my favorite quote, by writer Anna Quindlen: “Life is made of moments — small pieces of silver amid long stretches of gravel.” Word. I like to think this quick bread — this jammy, tart, sweet, moist and spicy quick bread — is one delicious piece of silver.
Sorry, my inner monologue got away from me for a second there. The moral of the story is, make this bread. Perhaps it’ll be the only thing you are sure of today, but at least that one thing is mighty good.
Cardamom-Cherry Jam Quick Bread
Adapted from Better Recipes
Yields: 1 8-by-4-inch loaf
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup tart cherry jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together flour, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In yet another small bowl, combine sour cream and jam. Alternately add dry ingredients and sour cream mixture into the large bowl with the butter mixture and combine, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Allow to cool in loaf pan 10 minutes before removing and placing on a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with mascarpone cream or a hearty spoonful of extra cherry jam.