White Chocolate-Almond-Lime Pavés and Bricklayer Love by Carl Sandburg

white chocolate cake recipe

I thought of killing myself because I am only a bricklayer
and you a woman who loves the man who runs a drug store.
I don’t care like I used to; I lay bricks straighter than I
used to and I sing slower handling the trowel afternoons.
When the sun is in my eyes and the ladders are shaky and the
mortar boards go wrong, I think of you.

Carl Sandburg 1878-1967

white chocolate cake recipe
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found any verses on romantic love sweeter, more touching than these. And I read a lot of poetry — classic, contemporary, and everything else in between.

To me, it’s something like this that has rendered the let-me-tell-you-how-beautiful-you-are-and-how-much-I-want-you type of romantic poem insipid and banal. Any literate straight man can say nice things about the appearance of a woman he lusts after or loves — some more eloquently than others. But it takes a special kind of man to realize and put into simple yet powerful words the kind of love that results in such inner tranquility and joy.

white chocolate cake recipe
Sandburg speaks of a woman, apparently out of his league, the love for whom has caused him to grow out of the childish desire to possess someone and put him in a place where the loving thought of her is … enough. He doesn’t care any longer whether he can be with her. The thought of her has made him better at what he does. Even the most mundane of tasks all of a sudden becomes pleasurable. And when things go wrong, it’s also the thought of her that saves the day.

Women are portrayed as objects of desire all the time. Rarely is any of them spoken of — as this one here — as someone the mere thought of whom causes maturity, serenity, contentment, and peace in the heart of a man.

N.B. Carl Sandburg grew up very poor, and at one point in his youth he was indeed a bricklayer. Read Sandburg’s biography here.

white chocolate cake recipe

Notice how easy it is to remember the weight measurements of the ingredients in this dense, moist, and flavorful bars.
White Chocolate-Almond-Lime Pavés
(Makes one 8×8 pan)
Printable Version

1/2 cup (115 g) butter, cut into 1/4-inch pats
3/4 cup (115 g) good-quality white chocolate chips
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (115 g) sugar
1/2 cup minus 2 tablespoons (115 g) whole milk
1 1/3 cup (115 g) almond meal
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lime
Powdered sugar for dusting, optional

  • In a saucepan, melt the first four ingredients together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and transfer its content to a mixing bowl; allow the mixture to cool down a little.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with a piece of foil large enough to hang over the edges of the pan (you need this to remove the cake from the pan in one go). Thoroughly grease the foil with extra melted butter or flavorless vegetable oil.
  • Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Add to the mixture the almond meal, salt, baking powder, vanilla, and lime zest; whisk until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan; bake the cake on a rack placed in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the cake is firm.
  • Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
  • Grabbing on to the foil overhang, gently remove the cake from the pan. Sprinkle some powdered sugar on the top, if desired, and cut the cake into squares or “bricks.”
  • 13 Responses to White Chocolate-Almond-Lime Pavés and Bricklayer Love by Carl Sandburg

    1. Uncle Vinny December 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm #

      Great post, Ms. Simmers! I might have to give this a try, even though I’m not crazy about almond flavor unless I’m chomping on a fistful of actual almonds.

    2. Anonymous December 11, 2010 at 12:25 am #

      do you think i can make this with normal (dark) chocolate? i know the appearance will suffer, but i really dislike white chocolate, which isn’t chocolate in any sense of the word.

    3. Leela December 11, 2010 at 1:50 am #

      Anon – Think so. You may want to adjust the amount of sugar depending on the cocoa content of your chocolate. Also, personally, I don’t like lime in dark chocolate desserts, so I’d leave it out.

    4. Liana @ femme fraiche December 11, 2010 at 11:33 am #

      Such a great post! I was drooling just at the title of it (hello, white chocolate and almond!?) and swooning by the end:)

    5. Anonymous December 11, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

      I made these last night and the whole family loved them! The texture is just as you’ve described and the flavor is just right, not too sweet. Thanks!


    6. OysterCulture December 12, 2010 at 4:25 am #

      Love Carl Sandburg even though I probably lack the skills and knowledge to truly appreciate his work. This dessert you have here looks just stunning and I am dreaming of a slice in my hand with a fine cup of tea in the other. Life would be good, everything would slow down as I savored this slice.

      totally agree with you regarding dark chocolate and lime, just not a good combination. had a chocolate bar with that paring once in Martinique and it was just wrong.

    7. EOMONROE December 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm #

      made this last night, had only roasted tamari almonds in the house, and it came out a dark brown, only baked it for 30 minutes, but it was very good, not too rich

    8. Leela December 13, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

      EOMONROE – Whoa. Tamari almonds. You’re brave! Glad you liked it, though.

    9. Arwen from Hoglet K December 15, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

      Contentment is certainly an emotion that can be enjoyed for longer than desire. In the case of cake you can probably have both for a short time. In the case of love it’s harder to predict.

    10. Leela December 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

      Arwen – Man, that’s deep… 🙂

    11. Chef Fresco December 21, 2010 at 1:45 am #

      These are beautiful. The photos are too!

    12. Anonymous June 14, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      I made these – the texture wasn’t as smooth as I would’ve liked it to be but my roommates devoured them all the same. I might try them again with orange instead of lime.

    13. Kerri July 20, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

      I’m currently baking my second batch of these. The first batch went to work and got gobbled up by lunch; this batch is for my knitting group this afternoon. It’s so simple, and utterly delicious. Thank you!