a way of being in the world

Green Tea Cake9

Recently I stumbled across the work of the German existential philosopher, Martin Heidegger (1889 – 1976), who explored the subject of being  - that is, our way of being in the world -  our human ability to confront issues such as our personhood and mortality; and the paradox of living in relationship with other humans while being ultimately alone with oneself.

I’ve never studied philosophy. But I do find the paradox of living in relationship with other humans while being ultimately alone with oneself, immensely interesting and relevant. And complicated.

And then, in the way that these things often work, I was driving along in my car when I tuned in to the CBC, and caught part of an interview with British writer, Margaret Drabble (make that Dame Margaret Drabble). She was in the middle of a sentence when I tuned in – and the first thing I heard her say was “… a way of being in the world.”

I had a spate of reading Margaret Drabble  a few years back, but I’d never heard her interviewed. I was riveted. I didn’t want her to stop talking – she was so interesting, so charming and so brilliant that I was spell-bound. Even when I stopped the car, I kept listening. Later I went back and found the interview on-line and listened to the whole thing. If you’re so inclined to hear a really worthwhile, intelligent, articulate interview you can hear it here.

I’m not about to start studying philosophy. My entire education in philosophy comes from having read the bestselling novel, Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder. And quite honestly, that was enough philosophy for me. But I am prepared to think about a way of being in the world – and about the paradox of living with others while ultimately being alone with myself.

And in the meantime, amongst the other things I do, I’ll keep cooking. This Green Tea Cake is probably about the perfect antidote to over-thinking life (aka – philosophy). First of all – it’s beautiful. Secondly, it’s elegant. And it’s moist and delicious. And finally – it calls for Matcha powder, otherwise known as green tea powder, an incredibly concentrated source of antioxidants – notoriously fantastic for the brain – a perfect accompaniment to trying to sort out how to live with in relationship with others while ultimately being alone with oneself.

You can find green tea powder at good tea shops and natural/health food stores.

Green Tea Cake10

Green Tea Cake (Philosophers’ Cake) 

This recipe comes from A Taste of Wintergreen, page 109

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons green tea powder also known as Matcha powder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup natural yoghurt (Greek style, full-fat yoghurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Icing:
1¼ cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons Matcha powder
2 tablespoons butter, softened
⅓ cup cream cheese, softened

Preheat oven to 350º F. Generously butter two 9-inch cake pans.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and green tea powder. In a separate large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, and eggs for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the yoghurt, stirring only to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and the cakes are lightly browned. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then add the icing sugar and match powder. Continue to beat until the frosting is smooth.

Spread a thin layer of frosting over one of the cakes and sandwich the two cakes together. Spread the remaining frosting over the top cake and dust gently with an extra tablespoon or so of icing sugar.

Green Tea Cake3

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18 thoughts on “a way of being in the world

  1. What a perfect post!! Your cake is just lovely, and the matcha powder intrigues me. It makes me wonder exactly what type of flavor it brings to the cake. Lord knows that my brain could use it!! The name of your cake is so perfect, and the matcha goes so well with the content! <3

    • You are so lovely! I think we have very similar taste in food and am guessing you would like this – the cake is quite moist and the green tea is very subtle – if someone did not tell you it was in the cake – you would probably not know. I know what you mean about our brains needing more brain-enhancing food. We are all just so overloaded… so hard to step off the treadmill and breathe…. and focus.

  2. Great post! I love how you mix beautiful photography with beautiful thoughts. It reminded me of another quote–Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.– Pablo Picasso

    • Thank you for your wonderful comment. I love Picasso! I’m in my daughter’s apartment at the moment and looking at two large Picasso prints on her wall. They are dated 1959 and 1961 and are of stick people dancing around the sun and a dove and to me – they are visual representations of pure joy. Love the Picasso quote – thank you!

  3. What a lovely post. I love green tea and think it goes just perfectly with philosophy. It’s an interesting concept you bring up and I’ve thought a lot about it. I too have read Sophie’s World, but went beyond that and took a bunch of philosophy courses in college. I only wish I had this cake with me as I was studying!

  4. Great post, Lindy!
    My philosophy 101 teacher (mostly just Aristotle and Plato) back in the ’70s while attending anarchic Dawson College in Montreal, turned out to be a former Green Beret who had done tours in Viet Nam. Go figure. Combat kharma?

    cheers, take care, Dave

    • Thank you Suzanne! I hope you heard a bit of the Drabble interview. At one point she talks about Wordsworth’s poem – The Idiot Boy – and it’s a very magical part of the interview – where she is talking about our perception of intelligence and how skewed it is. So true. So interesting. xo

  5. Love this cake! Also – I adore the photo at the beginning of this post. So pretty! Your photography is becoming fantastic.
    Love you so much! xoxoxoxo

  6. I read your post twice. Very well written Lindy…so thought provoking. I love matcha tea lattes and I imagine I would love your cake too. We have this wonderful coffee/tea house located in the International District. It’s a very old Japanese bathhouse and whenever I sit and have a matcha tea latte I feel so centered and “alone with oneself”! :) Thank you for making my morning coffee an enjoyable time this morning.

    • Thank you Seana. I like the sound of your matcha tea latte and your Japanese bathhouse tea room. I know I’d love both.
      I bought orzo today along with chicken thighs and lemon. Will make your soup before the week is out. Looking forward to it already. xo lindy

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