On Marriage & Love
Last Monday marked M's and my first year of being husband and wife. Well, if you are counting from our first wedding anyway. I think I have mentioned in passing that we got married 3 times which is not your average thing to casually say, so let me explain.
Coming from different countries and cultures, the question of how to get married was almost as weighty as should we get married. In the end, we decided to fly to my hometown of Minneapolis- his first time to the U.S.- and get married officially in the Hennepin County Government Center. I wanted to show him my hometown, be with my parents, and we wanted our real paper-signing to be something small + special. That day, January 9th, is the day we are now celebrating. It was the day we drove through -20º windchill to go meet the judge, accompanied by my parents, my aunt and my best childhood friend who had been living with me in Tangier and watched our whole love story unfold. It was the day when we exchanged vows, tried not to cry, and had a celebratory brunch afterwards at the Nicolette Island Pavilion. It was intimate, simple, and absolutely perfect considering the complexity that had been the journey of getting the two of us together in that space at that time.
We followed it up with wedding number 2, a week later, and invited a larger handful of family and friends to my parent’s house for an evening of revelry and good vibes. Number three was the most grandiose and labor-intensive: the Moroccan fête. Really, I should just dedicate an entire post to the rollercoaster of that day, but I will say that the result was spectacular and sparkling. It was a once-in-a-lifetime extravagant affair- a beautiful way to re-launch us further into our new togetherness.
I have to say that marriage is not something I was prone to fantasize about when I was younger. In fact, this whole thing caught me completely off guard and kicked me way-far out of my comfort zone. I finished my solo travels, landed in Morocco with my first job teaching dance and then suddenly here comes this man who throws everything I had vaguely planned for my life out of balance in just a little over one year. Once an engagement was on the table, I obviously had to cope with this through excessive reading, because that's what I do. Our decision to get married happened to coincide with the release of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Committed, which became my sort-of marriage bible at the time. I had to stop myself from constantly exclaiming to M, “and look what it says here!” Eventually, Gilbert’s final definition of marriage became my inner mantra-
“A little bit of privacy in which to practice love.”
I was consoled and reassured that being married does not mean you have to fit into any kind of mold- it is what you make it. Exploring what it means to us is something I have actively chosen to view as an adventure and so far, it has been more so than I could have imagined.
The journey of learning how to love in marriage is a colossal and ongoing task, but the beauty that I have found within it’s depth is that not only does your heart start to crack open for that one other person, but in general you find more capacity within yourself to love the world. Everything entwines and connects and I must say, it is an exciting path to tread on.
I made this cake to bring to M’s family the first time I met them. They loved me and still beg me to make it again to this day. I made it for M on Valentine's Day the second year we spent it together. He proposed to me 3 months later. I’m not saying that this cake is magic… but there’s definitely something special in it. It seemed appropriate, therefor, to make it for an occasion as special as our first year anniversary. For some balance, I topped the rich & fudge-y cake with light, vanilla-scented whipped cream, and obviously could not resist making a batch of sugar cookies on the side, since I had the perfect cookie cutters for the day.
The recipe for this amazingly simple fudge brownie cake is below, and if you want to try my absolute favorite sugar cookie recipe that my family has been making since before I can remember, you can find it on my ancient food blog, That’s So Vegan. I de-veganized it here and used 2 eggs instead of egg replacer, true to the original Mr. Cookie Baker Book. To decorate, I made a basic royal icing and smashed a couple raspberries in it at first just for color, but the flavor was lovely as well so I would highly recommend it. This is possibly the first time that the image in my head of what I wanted this cake to look like made it into the sphere of reality. Finally.
Make this cake and feel the love. <3
Fall-in-love Fudge Brownie Cake
Adapted from taste.com.au, makes roughly 12 servings
- 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 125g unsalted butter
- 150g (1 cup) all purpose flour
- 225g (1 cup) sugar
- pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs
- optional: 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks
Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and thoroughly butter + flour a 8" or 9" round baking pan. In the original recipe they call for a double boiler and you can use that if you prefer, but I always just melt the chocolate and butter together in a pan, stirring constantly with a spatula until it is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a large bowl, sift out the flour, then mix in the sugar and salt. Add the chocolate + butter, then whisk in each egg one by one. If you are using chocolate chips, fold them in at this time.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan, spread evenly and bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. Let it cool for ten minutes before removing it from the pan and cool it down completely before you add any frosting or whipped cream. It is also absolutely delicious on its own, too, so feel free to leave it bare and dig in.
Fall in love with chocolatey goodness, share it, enjoy. xo