Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ways to say "I Love You," and Grand Marnier Cake

Valentine's day is approaching, and it seems appropriate to talk about love.  In January, I took a class which emphasized the essential qualities of a counselor.  The subject matter was largely introspective and reflective, but even so, I think the class could have been alternately titled "How to love others well." 

As I took this class in January and had a proverbial mirror held before me, I realized how little time and effort I spend intentionally seeking to love those in my life.  I think it is easy to go on "auto-pilot" when it comes to loving family and friends.  We let the days and weeks pass us by, while we love one another only clumsily, if we make any effort to love at all.  So, in light of Valentine's day, a day to celebrate love (whether romantic or not), I want to reflect a bit on practical ways to love others intentionally. 

Call, Text, or E-mail.  My tendencies concerning communication revolve around necessity rather than love.  If I need something, or I need to communicate something, I will pick up my phone or computer.  But rarely do I purposefully seek to encourage or love others without prompting.  I hope to be more purposeful in initiating loving and encouraging words using these oh, so easy conveniences!  I know those words will be appreciated and the recipients will certainly feel loved. 

Write a hand-written letter.  This is another area where I struggle.  I want my letters to be heart-felt and well-worded, and so I tend to put off letter-writing for another time when I can invest more time and thought.  But the truth is, hand-written letters will be greatly appreciated, no matter how brief or brilliantly stated. 

Spend time together.  Whether time is spent together studying over books, chatting one-on-one over tea, or savoring the company of friends and a good meal, I am learning more and more the benefits of setting aside time for others.  I find that I am more purposeful about this when I put it on the calendar.  When we do spend this time together, I am learning to make sure that I will not be distracted, so that I can truly enjoy and love those in my company. 

Do something for them.  As I am learning to be more intentional in loving others, I realize that sometimes lives can become hectic and there is little time for tea, much less dinner together.  But loving well might mean going to the store for a friend, or proof-reading a paper, or doing something else that might make their "to-do" list a little lighter. 

Give them a gift.  This is easiest for me, but I still need to strive to seek to love others in a way that they would feel loved.  A trip to a favorite store, a box of a favorite kind of tea, tickets to a movie, or a thoughtful after-school snack will all be sweet reminders that "I love you."  And, of course, chocolate, especially in cake form, being synonymous with love, also expresses that sentiment. 

I hope that my musings and strivings to love others well have encouraged you to think about how you can intentionally love those in your life.  I would love to hear your ideas of how you purposefully show love to your loved ones!

Grand Marnier Chocolate Bundt Cake

Adapted from Mom's Special Company Cake, Cooking Light, September 1998

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
2 large eggs
Zest of one orange

For the Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup stick margarine or butter
1/3 cup Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven 350.

Butter and flour a bundt pan. In a large bowl, combine all of the cake ingredients except the orange zest. Using a hand mixer, beat the ingredients for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for three minutes. Using a spatula, stir in the orange zest. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Leaving the cake in the pan, prick the cake all over with a fork or wooden pick. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil for one minute. Pour the glaze over the cake; allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, remove to a serving plate and store in an airtight container.

This cake is even better on the second or third day, and would be excellent with Frangelico, Kahlua, Amaretto, or other chocolate-friendly liqueurs in place of the Grand Marnier.

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Amanda said...

Dorothy, that is beautiful! Looks delicious too!

ELC said...

what a gorgeous cake!!! and what sweet, practical tips, too.

Margaret said...

Ok, HOW did you manage to make the glaze look like that? With a pastry bag? Incredible!

Jennifurla said...

I need to work on all these things...this cake = perfection

Sarah Barry said...

Love your thoughts on 'love'
And this cake. Oh my - its gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I sure could use work in those areas as well. This cake looks so yummy and I just bought my very first bundt cake pan last week.

Zoe said...

Gorgeous! This cake is so full of love on its!

Lauren said...

BEAUTIFUL cake! I am so impressed. Love you, sister!

grace said...

they say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but i say that's true for women, too. at least it's true for this woman. what a stellar cake.

tasteofbeirut said...

Thanks for all these wonderful and useful hints on how to show our feelings. I also adore your cake and the decoration of it is so perfect. easy to make, charming, very apropos! Bravo