How does the saying go? “The only thing that is constant is change.”
This entry is several weeks overdue, but I’d say its timing actually couldn’t be more timelier. Because change is indeed in the air.
On a larger, more visible scale, there is a New Year, a new President [also, Jason’s new boss], and a newfound empowerment of participation and protest on the rise.
On a more personal level, there is a new job promotion for Jason, a new meat curing fridge in our basement, and a new wave of people either arriving to Denver or leaving us for broader pastures. Whether it’s friends relocating as close as Wheat Ridge or as far away as Albuquerque or North Carolina, the changes keep coming and we keep being forced to let go.
Our newest departure came from none other than our perpetual partner-in-crime, Aubrie, who departed the week before ice fishing weekend for a multi-month journey through Southeast Asia.
Fortunately, we had the opportunity to send her off in the grandest of fashion with a large gathering at Punch Bowl Social. We dubbed it “two birthdays and a bon voyage bash”, as we celebrated the birthdays of our good friend Tomi and her main squeeze Casey alongside the impending adventures of Aubrie.
You won’t be surprised to hear that we baked a cake for the occasion. But not just any cake… this was a lemon cake reflective of the citrus season we are currently enjoying [everywhere but in Colorado, that is]. We have been trying to take full advantage of the many homegrown fruits we brought home with us from Texas over the holidays, so what better way to utilize their zest than with a bit of limoncello, a batch of preserved lemons, and a “two birthdays and a bon voyage bash” lemon cake for some pretty deserving people, one of whom we are going to miss like the dickens?
While we know Aubrie will return within the year, it didn’t make the farewell any easier. That’s because Aubrie is a one-in-a-million friend — the kind of friend we never knew we needed but who somehow swooped in and stole our hearts along the way.
Let’s just say this girl is responsible for the majority of our laughter these past few years. Whether it’s wearing a onesie on a pontoon boat, dancing to Macklemore in our living room, opting for the temporary neck tattoo, brunching like nobody’s business, sparking the “most embarrassing stories” discussion, releasing balloons into the Denver sky, or simply offering up sage yet silly advice — these are the moments we will keep with us while she is gone and add to when she returns.
Despite our loss, we can’t help but be excited for her adventures, which include 56 nights at a Cambodian yoga retreat and then an indefinite amount of backpacking to see where life takes her for a bit.
She is doing it, guys. She’s letting go and letting life happen. Which is something we could sure learn from these days.
Sure, I’ve known people to take sabbaticals, but there is something so thrilling about the fact that she doesn’t have a return ticket [yet]. There’s something admirable and brave about the decision to take control of one’s life and admit it deserves more than a humdrum nine-to-five. And there’s something magical about the freedom of independence in a foreign place.
I think Stephen King said it best when he stated:
“Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.”
This is Aubrie for us right now. We rejoice in her freedom, but recognize the emptiness she is leaving for us in the year to come.
The truth is: whether it’s a friend’s departure or a new administration, we all have a lot of letting go to do and a lot of change to embrace. The best thing we can do in the interim is take these lemons we’ve been given and turn them into lemon cake. Because cake always wins.
LEMON BUNDT CAKE
This lemon cake recipe is borrowed from King Arthur Flour and can be found in its original format online here. We had so many people asking for the recipe of this cake — appropriately dubbed the “lemon doughnut” — that we couldn’t resist sharing.
- 1 c. butter, at room temperature
- 2 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. milk
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1/3 c. lemon juice [the juice of about 1-1/2 lemons]
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 Tbs lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl after they have all been incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the baking powder into the flour. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until everything is well combined, then stir in the lemon zest.
- Grease a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat on the stovetop briefly, stirring and heating to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
- Remove the cake from the oven, and carefully run a knife along the pan’s edge to loosen the cake. Place the pan upside down on a cooling rack until the cake drops out of the pan, either immediately or after resting about 5 minutes.
- Brush the glaze all over the hot cake. Let it soak in, then brush on more glaze, continuing until all the glaze is used up.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before icing and serving. To ice the cake: Mix the sugar and salt, then mix in 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice, adding just enough additional juice to create a thick glaze. Spoon or drizzle over the cake as you wish.