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On Taking Risks

cake dessert


I’ve got a lot floating around on my mind, from recent adventures and most importantly, from reading Luisa Weiss’s new memoir, My Berlin Kitchen. I’ve been a long-time reader of The Wednesday Chef; in fact hers was the first food blog I ever read. It’s the truth and I should thank Luisa for writing such profound, heartfelt words on her blog because through her writing and kitchen adventures, I finally got back in the kitchen after a serious bout with depression. When I received an email from her publisher asking if I’d like an early copy of her book to review, I immediately said YES. In fact, I think I even used caps-lock. I was that excited.

When I got the book and sat down with it, I was immediately hooked. Unlike other blog-to-book novels, this one was honest, clear, authentic and really resonated with me and my current life. Luisa talks of her life in Berlin, her move to New York, falling in love then out, and finally finding her way home. I mean, if that isn’t a quintessential life story, I don’t know what is. I don’t want to give too much away as I really encourage everyone to go out and get it, I will say this: her book gave me the kick I needed.

dessert apple

I’m talking about taking risks and the beauty of getting out of your comfort zone. I am, by nature, a routine-loving, habit-forming lady. I run 4 miles every day, I drink my coffee out of the same mug, I make my traditional breakfast every morning, I watch the same movies when I need to be amused, I do yoga twice a week on the same days with the same teacher, I eat the same lunch on the same Friday with my coworkers. I mean, I am a creature of habit. While this can be a great thing, it can also be really debilitating when it comes to LIVING. You get so wrapped up in how you live that you actually forget to live. One could argue that my move to New York was quite a shake-up, and that’s true. It was! But that was two years ago, friends. I’d like to think that risks were meant to be taken each day, every hour. Time passes by much too quickly, friends leave us, loves end and I don’t want to miss anything. I don’t want my fear of the unknown, my fear of being hurt to hold me back from anything. Because to live a life chained by your fear isn’t living.

Without going into too much detail, I just feel like at this point in my life, I need to stop listening to that voice my head. You know, that mean, unkind voice that tells you that you aren’t good at anything, that you aren’t worthy of love, that you don’t deserve good things. I want to silence that voice, take away its power and just do it all. Travel, love, friends, jobs. No fear, guys. That’s the motto. And of course, I’m not condoning jumping off buildings or anything but you get the gist.

apple dessert

All that, I got from Luisa. Her refreshingly honest  memoir made me want to be more, be better, be vulnerable, be open. I think we could all take those kinds of chances, don’t you? Since I can’t physically fly myself to Berlin and give Luisa a big hug (and that would be weird) I baked this spiced upside-down apple cake from Baked by Rachel in her honor. A soft, moist cake with cinnamon and a brown sugar apple topping, it is the kind of cake meant to be shared with those who you love and who you care for. I brought it to a picnic at Central Park and couldn’t have been more happy as I nibbled my way through it. Wrapped tightly, it will last overnight so definitely bring it to a potluck or just to the office to make your coworkers happy.



Spiced Apple Upside-Down Cake

Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Pour 1/2 of melted butter into cast iron skillet or round cake pan.
  3. Swirl pan until bottom and sides are well-coated with butter to prevent cake from sticking.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the melted butter in the skillet or cake pan.
  5. Place apple slices on top of the brown sugar.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, the remainder of your melted butter, eggs, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk together until well-combined.
  7. Pour batter evenly over the apples and brown sugar layer in the skillet or cake pan, using the back of a spoon to smooth batter over the apples.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes our clean.
  9. Allow to stand for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cake stand
  10. When ready to transfer, place cake stand on top of skillet then carefully flip to where the cake comes out onto the cake stand.
  11. Wrapped tightly with plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container, the cake can last up to three days.


Recipe Adapted from Baked By Rachel

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October 15, 2012 - 4:58 pm

colleen - wonderful words amanda. i lately have an idea going around in my mind and you gave me more confidence to think about how to make it happen. i hope you stay open to all the opportunities you have coming your way.

October 16, 2012 - 3:09 am

Anna - I just finished Luisa’s book and it made me feel the same way – I want to be more open and vulnerable and I want to truly live in the moment. I’m at the point in my life (just finished uni, choosing a career path, long term relationship ending etc) where I can make scary but potentially really exciting life choices or stay safe. It’s so tempting to go the safe path but, as Luisa shows, being brave really pays off. Anyway, thanks for a great post (the cake looks delicious!!). Good luck doing it all!!! :) xx

October 16, 2012 - 6:05 pm

dervla @ The Curator - I loved this post. Looking forward to seeing where your newly found inspiration leads you. We’ll be here, cheering you on every step of the way. And that cake looks delicious.

October 18, 2012 - 7:32 am

Madison M - I love this post! So well written and heartfelt. It’s amazing how we can get stuck in a cycle of just settling, isn’t it? On the other hand, it’s difficult to always hear stories from bloggers, writers, etc. who constantly preach the message, “If you don’t like your _____ , just do something different!” Figuring out how to actually do that is the difficult part. :)

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