I baked the BEST cake the other day. I know that this is not a cooking blog and that my beloved readers are accustomed to my slightly sad, too confessional, almost-at-a-crisis-but-not-quite posts. Guess what? You deserve a break today! If I wrote a food blog, it would be a baking blog, and that would be bad for all of us, but mostly for the size of my ass.
But I digress. We have this lemon tree in our yard that produces more lemons than our whole neighborhood could use. (I know. Totally annoying California problem. Even I hate me.) But I managed to make good use of about half a dozen of those puppies when I found this recipe.
I implore you to make this cake next time you’re craving something sweet. It’s insanely good and easy and almost caramelized on the outside when it’s fresh out of the oven. My house smelled incredibly good all afternoon. Then the dog farted and it smelled normal again.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 large lemon, zested
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a fluted tube pan (such as a Bundt®).
2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Add eggs one at a time, alternating with flour, allowing each egg and portion of flour to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Stir lemon juice and zest into flour mixture until batter is just combined; pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.
4. Let it cool, flip it over and pop it out of the pan. Put a dab of icing or sprinkled powdered sugar on top. Eat half of it before anyone else gets home and blame it on the dog. Don’t use a knife for cutting while eating, because that’ll give you away. Rip off pieces like the animal you are.
A small excerpt from the memoir in progress:
Bunker followed me from room to room. When the house was empty, we lay on my gray bedroom carpet, his shedding puppy hair entwining with my damaged blonde mess. I touched the wet soft of his nose. He licked my finger, then rolled onto his back. When his eyes drooped, I watched his eyelashes flutter long after they closed. It was a love affair of survival. With him, I began to think I could venture out into the world again. I thought of the days I couldn’t rise from the couch or the time I sat clutching the knife in the basement. I thought of how warm the wind felt on my ankles the day I opened the car door on the highway. It terrified me that I ever felt that desperate. As if a miracle had come, the lid on that endless sorrow clamped shut with this dog by my side. Something about him—some wordless magic he brought—began to close that chapter of my life forever.
This picture is how I remember my childhood. I don’t know who this girl or dog is, but I’m struck by how deeply this photo reaches into me. I remember escaping into sleep, finding bliss in the rhythm of a dog’s heartbeat. Welcoming the bug crawling up my arm, honoring her curiosity. I lay in the fields near our house daydreaming about other places, other people who would love me, who would tell me I was okay and that I could be beautiful.
My little old soul of a dog, sitting in the sun, listening. What wisdom.
There are times my life gets overwhelming. This week it happened when my husband was out of town, both kids got sick, bills piled up, milk was gone, toys were strewn everywhere, and then it started raining. All moms out there know this story. This just happens. It’s life.
I find that after I’ve come through the other side of these times, I need rejuvenation. It’s as if my spirit needs to take a breath. For me, that usually means time alone outside with my dogs. Yesterday we walked a few miles off leash, and it was as if all three of us were, for once, untethered. The sun was out, the sky was clear, and we were free.
After two hours of roaming along the San Francisco bay, Ben (pictured left) walked up to me with his big butt wiggling, and I captured this perfect little moment. We were both so happy. With his body, his ears, his sweet happy smile, he told me that he felt as great as I did.
We can’t speak to each other, but still somehow we manage to say so very much.