Baked Lemon Drop Cake

Baked Lemon Drop Cake

Our fruit basket is overflowing and with spring in the air, I had every excuse to make something decadently sweet and refreshing for a late Easter brunch. Weekends are perfect for ambitious baking projects; waking up early, leisurely eating breakfast and cuddling the pups and tearing up the kitchen in full sunlight. The cake was finished just as Bloody Marys were poured and dinner served. Seriously, set aside a few hours to make this tart treat especially if you aren’t an accomplished egg separator or if you have to run out for forgotten cake flour.

I’m pretty sure we used every kitchen tool and utensil available between my cake, Easter honey baked ham, Neil’s amazing onion garlic potatoes, and roasted veggies and it was all worth it!

lemon curd

The recipe doesn’t specify, but I used Meyer lemons for this recipe to cut the acid a bit. I would love to live somewhere I could grow my own! I threw the leftover slices in my water jar.

The lemon curd is the star of the cake and tart, but not sour. I’m going to attempt the same cake with orange curd and maybe add some blueberries or raspberries to garnish!

Read on for the full recipe and check out the Baked cookbook. Every dessert I’ve tried so far was decadent to the last bite!

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Sunday Funday

souce: Tumblr

source: Tumblr

I love when Sundays begin slowly, creeping through our drapes just after 7a.m. so that I reach for my silk eye mask and wait for the sound of the dogs at the bedroom door to start the day. Today, I read in the living room and sipped on my tea and a smoothie to hold me over until brunch (or “devil’s meal” as my best friend calls it) with friends at Cygnus 27.

Cygnus 27
Cygnus 27
Neil and I love a leisurely weekend breakfast. Anna’s House, the Westsider Cafe and San Chez are among our most frequented spots. For exceptionally beautiful spring beginnings like today, Cygnus 27 Sunday brunch was great.  (Also here).

Tyler & Emily
Spencer & Chelsea

Wednesday night (half off signature martinis) happy hour there is also wonderful, but the several dinners we had there weren’t so great. Brunch is what really shines, especially with the city in full sunlight and tables of pastries.

Cygnus 27
Best Coffee

Mimosas, Bloody Marys, Bailey’s in your coffee…such a perfect start to the afternoon. All of the small plates are included, there’s an omelette or sushi bar, bruschetta, and always a massive table of desserts to satisfy my sweet teeth! My favorite is the coffee crème brûlée. In fact, my usual Sunday ritual of baking all afternoon is sitting out in favor of food coma and Kindle time.

After Brunch
I never thought I’d have shoe envy for a boyfriend’s shoes. Neil’s new Cole Haan suede shoes from A.K. Rikks are crispy!
Cole Haan

Have a great week!

Good Reads

Fall Reading

I’ve been away from here awhile, trying to reduce my screen time in my free time with some good reads. My work is heavily centered around the computer and that often carried into the weeknights with side projects. I seldom watch television (by way of Netflix or Hulu) any more, but like many of us I’m heavily reliant on my phone. In 2013 I read quite a bit and midsummer I committed to making way through my growing book list and I’m eager to cross off many more titles in the new year.

Tina Fey’s Bossypants finally came home with me on a flight home from Virginia and I laughed aloud despite strangers next to me. Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me was similarly fast paced, but was not as funny as I’d hoped. Sometimes I grab paperback books for cents on Amazon and they accumulate in a “someday” to do pile. The Pickup by Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer was not an easy read, but a powerful and painful novel about an unlikely couple in post-apartheid South Africa. It was very different from anything I’ve read before, and deserves a second (slower) read.

Fall Reading

For my birthday, Anna gave me two titles from my book list teasing I’m always one for dark stories. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman was one of my favorites of the year. It begins with a lighthouse keeper and his wife discovering a canoe washed ashore carrying a dead man and a baby and is gripping to the end. To the last page you feel strongly for these characters and how their choices affect them. I’ve already passed my copy to Neil and two friends. I think this won “best historical fiction” from Goodreads in 2013 and it’s well deserved.

Neil and I read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair together and despite my tendency for sad books, this one was pretty tough the whole way through with a happy (?) ending and at least a strong look at socialism, unions, and dirty, dirty meat processing in Chicago. I was also fascinated with how the FDA arose not long after Upton shed light on the nasty conditions of those factories. Ick.

The Female Brain was a fast, captivating look into lady minds by neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine that I highly recommend men pick up. If you are curious about why women are more verbal, remember small details and behave differently than their male counterparts, this is a great. I flew through Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach this fall. Roach takes the macabre subject of death, dying, and all the things cadavers have accomplished in the name of science with just the right dose of comedy. If you have ever given thought to what happens when you donate your body to science and you aren’t easily squeamish, this one’s for you. I want to read her new book “Gulp” next!

I felt obligated to read the Hunger Games series, mostly so I could know what happens in the movies and they are such simple books…then I got sucked into three volumes of short stories by Alice Munro that I read cover to cover starting with The Moons of Jupiter. My favorite collection by far was Runaway for which she won the Nobel Prize in Literature last year. (you can read Runaway in its entirety on The New Yorker). The stories in Runaway revolve around love and betrayal. The characters she creates are so real and familiar and you struggle to understand them as they try to understand themselves. So good! Unfortunately I rented this one on my Kindle from the library. I’ll be ordering a paper copy to keep soon.

The end of my year was quite hectic and crazy with the holidays, work, and unexpected events, but I began The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt that will likely take me until the end of the month at a whopping 755 pages. I remember reading her last bestseller The Secret History in high school and so far this one is living up to the praise.

Kindle & Huey Cuddles

I know there were more, but these are at the top of my mind. I’m excited to spend my nights cozying up on the new couch with more good books in 2014!

What books did you have a hard time putting down in 2013? What are you looking forward to reading? Send me some recommendations for my list!