Musical pairing – It’s My Party by Lesley Gore
I celebrated a birthday last week and found myself in a panic because I thought this was the year to renew my driver’s license; not usually a big deal, right? I know, I know . . . there’s the ‘taking-a-number-and-waiting-for-a-good-hour’ thingie . . . the whole ‘getting-your-picture-taken’ thingie . . . and the ‘height-and-weight’ thingie . . . all of which is not much fun, I’ll give you that . . . but those pesky little annoyances weren’t the cause of my angst . . .
About three years ago, I was happily making my shopping rounds; I don’t even remember which store I was in but the clerk asked to see my driver’s license, which I pulled out and handed to her. She looked at the license, looked at me, looked back at the license for a few more seconds and said, ‘Do you know your license is expired?’ Eyes widened as I gasped, ‘What?! Really?! How can that be?!’ ‘You’d better get it taken care of right away or you’ll be in big trouble’, she said.
I looked at the date of expiration on my license and . . . Oh. Em. Geeeeeee!!! As in, how could this have happened??? As in, isn’t someone supposed to send you a reminder that your license is about to expire??? As in, have I lost enough of my mind to have forgotten said reminder if one was sent??? Oh. Em. Geeeeee!!! What now???
‘What now’ turned into heading to DMV first thing the next morning, taking a number, waiting in line until said number was called, shuffling myself up to the counter and handing over my license . . . Me (mumbling): ‘I need to renew my license . . . and it’s expired . . .’ Clerk: ‘Not a problem . . . wait a minute . . . uhhhhhhh . . . yes, this is a problem . . . your license has been expired for four years??!!’ (with wide eyes and now dropped jaw, I might add). Me: ‘Yes it is, I didn’t realize it had expired until recently.’ Clerk: ‘I’m sorry, but because your license has been expired so long, you’re required to take a written exam.’
Blink. Blink. Sigh.
Here’s where I confess that taking tests and I don’t get along . . . I choke. Big Time. I hear my heart pounding in my ears and before I can hyperventilate, my friend the clerk, points me to a kiosk and, with a cheerful voice says, ‘Good Luck!’ In a nano-second I feel sick . . . ‘ohmygodohmygodohmygod‘ . . . then, ‘You can do this, you’ve been driving for how long??? It’s not as if you’re 16 years old, you can do this!’ I look over at The Professor and mouth, ‘I have to take a test.’ Am I imagining it or do I detect a slight twinkle in his eyes and upturned corners of his mouth? . . . He nods and mouths back, ‘You’ll be fine.’
Well, I wasn’t fine . . . in fact I flunked . . . flunked . . . flunked. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to have your name called up to the front of the DMV and be told that you, a middle-aged woman, who has been driving more than half her life, has flunked the written exam??? Of course you don’t . . . because unlike some of us, you remember to renew your license. And did you also know that when you flunk said written exam, you can’t retake said exam for at least 48 hours?? It was Saturday so that meant I had to wait until Tuesday before taking the test again . . .
Did I pass the second written test? Thank the good Lord above, I did in fact, pass the second test . . .
And every birthday since has been filled with fear and trepidation about missing my license renewal date . . .
Think I’ll just have a slice of this cake . . .
NOTE: The Professor bought me this book for Christmas and it is absolutely gorgeous!! The only change I made to this original recipe is to use Meyer-Lemons . . . which I adore!
MEYER-LEMON POPPY-SEED POUND CAKE
Flour Bakery & Café, Joanne Chang
- 2 cups cake flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup plus 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to barely warm
- ¼ cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon fresh Meyer-lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons finely grated Meyer-lemon zest
- 4 eggs, room temperature
FOR THE GLAZE:
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons Meyer-lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; Butter and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and set aside
- On a sheet of parchment paper, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside*
- In a large bowl, whisk together butter, cream, Meyer-lemon juice and poppy seeds; mixture should be somewhat thick – if butter hardens into small lumps, reheat gently until butter is melted again – set aside
- Place sugar and Meyer-lemon zest into bowl of a stand mixer and rub fingers together releasing lemon oils into the sugar. Once zest has been incorporated (takes less than a minute), add eggs and, using the whisk attachment, beat together on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until pale lemon colored and the mixture is light and fluffy. You can also use a hand mixer but will take you about 10 minutes
- Gently fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined; then fold one-fourth of the egg/flour mixture into the butter/cream mixture to lighten
- Fold in remaining egg-flour mixture until thoroughly combined
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour or until top of cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed in the middle**
- Let cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes
TO MAKE THE GLAZE:
- Whisk together the powdered sugar and enough Meyer-lemon juice to make a spreadable glaze
- When cake has cooled for a minimum of 30 minutes, remove cake from pan and place on wire rack with a sheet pan underneath (to catch excess glaze)
- Spread or pour glaze over the top letting glaze dribble down the sides***
Cake will keep at room temperature for up to three days . . . but I promise, it won’t last that long!!
*I happen to prefer sifting dry ingredients onto a sheet of parchment as it makes things much easier transferring into wet ingredients; feel free to use a bowl if that’s easier for you
**I baked my cake in a Convection oven and it was done in 45 minutes
***I didn’t have time to let my cake cool the full 30 minutes so the glaze melted into the cake – which was still fabulous!! But if you want a thin layer of glaze that shows, wait until the cake is cool
© 2012, Debra. All rights reserved.