Making Do (CtBF: Not Almond Cakes with Browned Butter)

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt

Making do with what one has available is a life skill and apparently, a dying one at that.

My children are less competent at it than I am.

I am less competent at it than my parents are.

I am pretty sure my parents, in all their awesomeness, are still not as good at it as their parents were.

Somehow, the combination of parenting a large number of children, living through The Great Depression, northern pragmatism and sheer necessity brought forward those skills in my grandparents and the tradition was passed on to future generations.

At times, this sensibility comes across through hoarding of seemingly unnecessary objects. At other times, it may manifest in the retention of items that have long since outlived their usefulness (while three unused replacements are hanging around). It may further exhibit itself through the ability of using items that are not quite what is needed to accomplish the same end goal.

Now, as noted above, I am not putting myself in the same camp as my parents or grandparents in thrift or creativity; but this week's recipe where "making do" was the only reason I was able to generate a dozen nut-flour based cakes at 8:00 PM on a Thursday night.

My baking sabbatical has left my pantry relatively scant of non-standard ingredients (although, this is a relative comparison...) and the stash of almond flour that I thought was tucked in my freezer was really a bag of polenta. Sigh.

Fortunately, a almost depleted bag of hazelnut flour was hiding under the sad remains of a Christmas ham from long ago and I was able to "salvage" the recipe - but seriously, does using ground hazelnuts instead of almonds in a recipe with browned butter truly count as "salvaging" the recipe?

I didn't think so.

If I had added some chocolate nibs, it would have been a Nutella cake. How's that for making do?

This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays, where a group is currently working their way through David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen (not an affiliate link).

Peace out.



  1. Hazelnut flour sounds like a great alternative to almond meal. I like it in cakes. The pan in the picture looks amazing too.

  2. Maybe it's not almond but they do look delicious. I like the pan that you used, very decorative.

  3. ummm. I'm willing to bet they tasted BETTER with the hazelnut flour. I mean, I like almonds and all, but hazelnuts take the proverbial cake in deliciousness, in my humble opinion. I love your pan--it almost looks like a cannelé pan!

  4. Every time I read one of your blog posts, I realize how much you were missed. It was pretty awesome how you began with Teddy and then wandered on to saluting all your forebears and then somehow got to hazelnut flour. It takes a special kind of brain to make that happen.

  5. Jeez, I’ve missed you, Cher! Sounds like you improved on the idea at hand. Too bad you didn’t have the cocoa nibs. Nutella cakes sound great. Xo


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