This week has been one of the slowest weeks of my life in the last year.
Truth? I kind of hated it.
You see, I thrive on being a busy little bee. I like to have a mild to moderate level of stress in my life at all times because it keeps me motivated. One day of nothing on the agenda, then two, then three… well, you’ll eventually find me on the couch surfing Pinterest or watching videos of cats on Buzzfeed for hours and hours. At 26 years old, I still don’t yet know how to make the most of my downtime, you see.
It’s not like there wasn’t anything to do, or that I really didn’t do anything. We started decluttering the basement and setting up the spare bedroom (as in, we no longer use an upside-down storage bin as a nightstand but an actual, real-life adult nightstand). I made some foodstuffs, like this cake, and we had visiting family over for a mid-afternoon snack time. We did some boring bank and tax prep stuff (snore) and bought paint samples and a crib for le nursery (yay!). And I did some real hard life-thinking about my 2014 and what I want it to look like (which is to say, come up with things I expect to happen and/or change that will inevitably not turn out the way I planned, but still in a perfectly agreeable manner anyway).
And yet, here I am, complaining because I didn’t feel busy enough.
I know there’s this “word of the year” thing floating around the interwebs and last year, I got so flustered by the idea of narrowing my goals down to one word that I gave up. And in some ways I’m glad I did, because I think 2013 turned out just dandy without one. But this year, I reintroduced myself to the idea — just to have more focus, more clarity on my goals. And before I let myself become flustered again by narrowing a whole year down to one word, my friend Madison came up with two words for her year. And then I realized that’s totally a thing I can do, too.
The word “authentic” immediately came to mind when I thought about my word for the year, and so I’m sticking with it. I want to make this year authentic — as in, I want to live my life more genuinely to myself, to God and to those around me whom I love. I want to be more accepting and grace-giving to others, to myself and to who I am as a person. I want to really focus on the gifts I’ve been given and how I can best use those gifts. I want to be more authentic with you guys on this blog. I want to be more real here, to focus on working with brands I actually use in daily life, to share recipes I’d actually make even if my blog didn’t exist (in other words, all the cookies. Just kidding. Kind of).
And then after this week — you know, the one where I had a bunch of time to just do the things I wanted to do? The one I should have embraced but instead felt icky about because it made me feel unproductive? Yeah that one… that one led me to my second word, “rest.” I know all y’all with kids are probably giggling at me right now because, come May, I will have anything but. I know that. Still, I think there is something to be said for seeking out rest in the time I have to prepare for this baby. I think if I focus on finding rest and enjoying it and what it does for my life, I will appreciate it more and find it in smaller moments when rest is more difficult to seek out.
So what does this all have to do with a whole wheat clementine yogurt cake? Well this cake, you see, is delicious. And when I made it, I didn’t intend to put it on the blog. I actually just made it for family because they were coming over, as I mentioned. It has no fanfare. It’s not necessarily photogenic or blogworthy. But it’s something I made because I really wanted to make it — because it sounded tasty. And tasty it was. So much so, obviously, that I couldn’t bear the thought of not sharing it with you all. It’s adapted from a recipe by The Great Ina (who we all know makes fabulous everything for her Hamptons folk), and friends, it is one of the best cakes, ever. Perfectly sweet and satisfying, and easy to assemble. And from experience, I can tell you it tastes better in the days after it’s baked.
So there it is. 2014, for me, will be the year of authenticity, of rest and of the unassumingly delicious clementine cake. I hope that, whatever your station, you can find these things in your life this year, too.
- ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated clementine zest (from about 2 clementines)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅓ cup fresh-squeezed clementine juice
- Powdered sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray with flour; line bottom with parchment paper and spray paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt until combined. In a separate large bowl, whisk together yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, clementine zest and vanilla until combined.
- Slowly stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in oil. Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then carefully remove from cake pan and transfer to a cooling rack with a rimmed baking sheet or clean sheet of parchment or wax paper underneath.
- Meanwhile, cook the clementine juice and remaining ⅓ cup sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Carefully pour evenly over warm cake on cooling rack. Cool completely.
- Sprinkle top with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.