Leaving a place is weird, but returning is even weirder. When you leave home for a temporary span of time you feel like the world will stop in its tracks. 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 surprised when you return and life has continued to move and grow without you. 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. Coming home is to reunite with 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 years old, attitude edition)
The city will have changed. It always does. There will be a new Starbucks where there wasn’t one before. La Colombe has started selling muffins. You won’t 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 like it now. You listen 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 step. You try a muffin at La Colombe one day; and lo-and-behold they have a great blueberry-to-muffin ratio. You start put down new roots in old places.
(moving in; Saint Marks)
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, “What’s new?” and then you will laugh at the absurdity of that question. You’ll mediate reunions with plenty of lasagna. And you’ll make cake to tie off the evening sweet.
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 too many storage sites. Cake will help with freezing rain and overwhelming days. Returning is weird, but returning is good and if you’re going to start again, 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. Zest 2 Tangelos and squeeze the juice from both. 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 roughly half of the Tangelo juice and set the remainder 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 whatever delicious tangelo juice you haven’t used up – straight and sweet.