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 fulfil 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 mandarines 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 stick of butter at room temperature , plus extra to grease pan
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour , plus extra to flour pan
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 eggs , at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons of mandarin juice
- 1/4 teaspoon of mandarin zest
- Peel of a quarter of a mandarin orange
- 2 cups of water
- 1 cup of mandarin juice
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- Seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod , or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 ºF [175 ºC].
Grease and flour a 6-hole mini-bundt pan (see notes).
Sift flour and baking soda together. Set aside.
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. and mix in.
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 water, juice, sugar, vanilla, 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.
In case you've never squeezed a mandarine before (I hadn't), just do it like a regular orange and remember to sieve before using.
I used this sylicone 6-hole mini-bundt pan that requires no greasing.