In 2010 I ran a little half-marathon, called the Veteran’s Marathon, through the Indiana countryside with my sisters. In 2011 I was back to run the race with a friend. Last fall my wife decided to run the race with her sisters and I said I could watch the kids while she ran. But a couple of months before the race the friend that had run with me the previous year asked if I would run the full marathon with him. I said to myself, “Myself, you just finished a triathlon so you’re in reasonably good shape. Yes, there isn’t a lot of time to build up the mileage but the race is nice and flat. How hard could it be?” Sometimes myself can be such a moron.
But it wasn’t myself’s fault. I blame the race directors that laid out the course. The first half, the half that I had run twice before, had a few little rolling hills but wasn’t too bad. So you can imagine my surprise when almost immediately after the halfway point the road started going up and down like a 13 mile rollercoaster. They weren’t huge hills but they were relentless. I imagined the race directors in a smoke filled room scheming how to ambush unsuspecting racers.
- Race Director 1: How about we line the race course thousands of killer bee hives?
- Race Director 2: I have a better idea, let’s make the first half flat and second half absurdly hilly.
- Race Director 1: I like the way you think! **Maniacal Laugh!**
Let’s just say the rest of the race didn’t go well. After about 17 miles my calves started seizing up and couldn’t run up the hills anymore and I had to do a walk up, run down strategy.
As I limped across the Indiana countryside I had some extra time so I started pretending that the traffic signs were written for me. I happened to have my cell phone with me so that I could send progress updates to my wife (so she wouldn’t be waiting at the finish line for an hour wondering if I had been attacked by killer bees). So here are a couple of texts that I sent to my wife:
- “I'd go faster but the speed limit is 45. I assume they mean 45 minutes per mile.”
- “Now there's a sign that says ‘SLOW’”
Then towards the end there was one pleading with them to leave me and save themselves and a lot of delirious whining, but I’ll spare you that.
I really need to tell myself to shut it when he starts suggesting crazy things.
Speaking of bees, I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet. I made it today for a birthday gathering at work. I had two people say that it was the best thing they'd ever eaten and one ask, seriously, if she could make an order for her next event. It comes from a historic reception center in Salt Lake City, UT called the Lion House, at which I used to work. I found a recipe a while ago but there are definitely some tricks to making it.
Sting of the Bee Cake
- 1 c. butter (no substitutes)
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 c. flour, sifted
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ c. milk
- Butter cream filling (below)
Cook topping as described below and set aside to cool.
With mixer, cream butter and sugar until soft, add eggs and mix well. Mix in dry ingredients; slowly add milk. Beat until dough is thick, scrape sides and mix a little more. Prepare 10-inch spring-form pan: Place parchment on bottom of pan. Attach side of pan and line with a strip of parchment paper.
Scoop dough into the pan and spread out. Sprinkle small amount of flour on top of dough and press dough evenly in spring-form pan. (Dough should feel firm and press against the sides of pan.) Pour topping on dough and spread evenly.
Cover pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until cake looks firm and golden brown. Allow to cool in the fridge for at least an hour. Split in half horizontally. Fill with Butter Cream Filling and raspberry preserves.
Note: This cake is similar to biscuits in texture.
- ½ c. butter (no substitutes)
- ½ c. sugar
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 1 c. almonds, slivered
- 2 tsp. vanilla
In medium saucepan, melt butter until almost boiling. Add sugar and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Slowly add milk, stir carefully as mixture will pop. Return to a boil and add almonds. Bring to a boil once again. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool to room temperature if made early in the day, or cool in refrigerator until thick and cool to the touch. For best product, topping should be same temperature as dough.
Butter Cream Filling
- 1 c. butter (no substitutes)
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- ½ c. raspberry preserves
Soften butter. Beat in powdered sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Spread on bottom of split cake. Spread preserves on top of butter cream and replace cake top.
Adapted from the Lion House