How has the year treated you so far?
For me last year was a year of professional growth and some personal challenges. I saw some more of our beloved country, met new people, networked with some awesome colleagues, got a lot of new clients. In all, the balance was good, and it seems like this year will continue the same.
Sometimes I still wonder how I got here. I’ve mentioned my zigzagging professional career before. I believe in pursuing whatever makes you happy. We have only one life, one chance to do it right, one opportunity at happiness. If what you do does not fulfill you, if you don’t wake up each day excited at what the day will bring then it’s time for a change. I have never been afraid of new beginnings, check your parachute and then take the plunge.
I wake up happy each day I get to do what I do for a living. I always loved photography, and each day, even the challenging ones I get to make beautiful images that bring people inspiration. Every time I see one of my images in print, or on a client’s website, I feel a sense of accomplishment like I never did in any of my previous jobs.
Yes, I am very lucky.
This cake was inspired by a recipe from my mother-in-law, one of my biggest influences when it comes to everything food. Every time we visit her she makes an orange cake, filled with light, fresh citrus taste. A couple of years ago she tried to make it here, but for some reason our oranges didn’t yield the right result. It was disappointing.
And then came Christmas, and Christmas here means mandarin oranges. I wondered if mandarin oranges might yield a better result. It did. The mixture between vanilla and the citric aromas of mandarin oranges really pack a punch. You will love it.
The arrival of mandarins on corner fruit stands signals the beginning of the holiday season in the Dominican Republic. Treat your guests to the flavor of the season.
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 stick of butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon of mandarin zest
- 2 tablespoons of mandarin juice
- Extra butter and flour to grease pan
- Peel of a quarter of a mandarin orange
- ¼ cup of brown sugar
- 1 cup of mandarin juice
- ½ vanilla pod, or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 ºF (175 ºC)
- Grease and flour a 6-hole mini-bundt pan
- Sift flour and baking soda together. Reserve.
- In a mixer bowl, using your paddle attachment, whisk the butter and sugar over medium speed until it turns a lighter color (about 1 minute).
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds between each egg.
- Add the mandarine juice beating until it has been mixed in thoroughly.
- Increase the speed to maximum and add the flour in quarters, waiting until each quarter has been thoroughly incorporated before adding more.
- Add the zest.
- Pour into the pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool to room temperature before removing from the pan.
- Wash the mandarine peel. Scrape off the white layer from inside. Chop into thin slivers.
- Mix 2 cups of water, juice, sugar, vanilla pod (halved) and boil over very low heat until the liquid has reduced to half a cup.
- When it's time to serve, bathe the cakes with the syrup and serve garnished with the peels.