Leaving a place is weird, but returning is even weirder. When you leave home for a temporary span of time you feel like the whole world is going to stop in its tracks. Of course you don’t actually think that in your brain of brains, but you feel it in your heart of hearts and you will inevitably be absurdly surprised when you return and life has continued to move and grow without you there. Life isn’t a giant game of freeze tag that resumes upon JFK arrival. Eight months is eight months and eight months is (apparently) kind of a long time.
Returning is weird, but returning is good. Returning home is to reunite with all the people you missed. And to momentarily freak out because it seems like everyone you have ever loved has changed inexplicably in your absence. Eight-year olds have turned into nine-year olds who are listening to Katy Perry with pre-teen ‘tude. Your parents have gotten a new dog. Friends have new boyfriends and boyfriends have new friends and nothing is quite where you left it.
(nine year old attitude)
The city will have changed. There will be new Starbucks where there was once no Starbucks. La Colombe has started selling muffins. You will no longer remember to how be productive and you couldn’t describe the past eight months if you tried. You want to run back to a place that was never truly home when you were there but feels comforting now. You start listening to way too much Lana, then Adele, and then you think “wow this really needs to stop.” You stop eating, then you start eating, then you remember how much you missed bagels. You start to wear your city comfortably again; day by day, step by (snowy) step. You try a muffin at La Colombe one day and realize they actually have a lovely blueberry-to-muffin ratio. You start putting down new roots in old places.
Returning is weird, but returning is good. It’s going to suck and then it’s going to feel joyful and then it’s going to feel confusing and you’ll miss everything at once and then one day you won’t. You’ll invite over old friends for dinner. You’ll ask each other, “So what’s new?” And then you will laugh at the very absurdity of that question. You’ll mediate reunions with plenty of lasagna. And you’ll make cake to tie off the evening sweetly.
You’ll make cake that is dense and rich and yummy and full. You’ll make cake that bursts with cheery citrus and you’ll dot it with chunks of dark chocolate because, let’s face it, this transitory era demands a lot of chocolate. You’ll eat cake straight from the pan and you’ll be happy to be home. You’ll have to re-stock all the baking ingredients that you got rid of when you left, but it will feel good to start anew; fresh flour, fresh sugar, and re-usable loaf pans because you’re still gathering belongings from storage. Cake will help with freezing rain and overwhelming days. Returning is weird, but returning is good and if you’re going to return, trust me – let there be cake.
Tangelo Chocolate Chip Cake
Adapted from Brooklyn Supper
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 eggs
- zest of 2 Tangelos
- juice of 2 tangelos
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- dark chocolate chunks
Tangelo Sugar Glaze
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup Tangelo juice
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan. Prep your ingredients by zesting 2 Tangelos and then squeezing the juice out of both of them. Set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl combine yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and Tangelo zest. Add about half of the Tangelo juice and set the remaining juice aside.
3. Slowly fold in the flour and then the oil. You can add a little more flour if the mixture seems to wet, or a little more oil if it is too dry. Fold in desired ratio of dark chocolate chunks (a lot, add a lot).
4. Bake cake for 40-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle (or if you are me and only have a chopstick – a chopstick) comes out clean.
5. While the cake is baking make the glaze by heating together 1/3 cup of remaining juice and powdered sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle on cake while still hot and drink any delicious juice that remains.