There are times when I really miss my friends from Ireland.
Nearly six years ago, I boarded a plane headed to Ireland to attend graduate school in Dublin. I left behind a boyfriend of five years, my family, and my closest friends from undergrad. I think I cried. Twice.
The first semester was a little rough. I knew it rained in Ireland, but what I didn’t know is that it really rains. There were mornings where I would wake up to what seemed like the billionth rainy day, unwilling to leave the comforts of my duvet and hot water bottle, wondering why I hadn’t chosen a sunnier location for grad school.
Looking back, I don’t regret it. I came out of it with great friendships and valuable life lessons. For one, I learned who I really was, without that boyfriend I left in the states. Ireland made me realize that that relationship needed to end. For that alone I’m grateful. But what I’m especially grateful for is the friendship I have with AS.
Incredibly smart, kind, same size feet (serious luxury when you can only pack two bags of your belongings to live in a foreign country), generous and a fantastic cook; I couldn’t have asked for more in a friend.
I spent practically every weekend at her house where she would whip up “curried beans,” “salad on a warm tortilla with thai sweet chili sauce,” and “coconut rice.” All dishes I’ve never had, but gladly ate up.
What I remember most though, was her lemon cake. A buttery, lemony and not too sweet loaf that was incredibly easy to make and easily devoured in a day.
I wanted to make the same thing for Roo, as with the holiday season we can’t help but think of those we miss and love; AS being high up on that list. But, with Roo’s plant-based diet I knew I couldn’t rely on the recipe I memorized years ago. Instead, I went into the kitchen and made cake after cake (three, and it was no bueno having to eat the “losers” throughout the week) until I got my own version that I think would make AS proud.
Moist, lemony and chock full of cranberries leftover from an overzealous pre-Thanksgiving grocery trip, Roo finally did what I was waiting for: he went for seconds. And maybe a tiny third.
Inspired by AS Lemon Cake
Makes one 9″ Cake
Two and a quarter cups of white whole wheat flour
Quarter cup of ground flax seed
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Quarter teaspoon of fine sea salt
1 flax seed egg (one tablespoon of ground flax seed and three tablespoons of warm water mixed together and set aside for about five minutes)
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar then measuring cup filled up to “1 cup” marker with soy milk (or any other unsweetened non dairy milk)
Quarter cup of vegetable oil
Quarter cup of unsweetened applesauce
Zest from 4 lemons
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of cranberries and a quarter cup of sugar, pulsed in a food processor until chunky (you could also throw the cranberries in a large ziploc bag with the sugar and smash the cranberries with a rolling pin, wine bottle, whatever, till crushed up)
One small sized mixing bowl
One medium sized mixing bowl
One large sized mixing bowl
A food processor
A 9″ cake pan either greased (buttered and floured) or lined with parchment paper
A clean fork
Place your oven rack in the middle position of the oven. Preheat your oven to 350F.
In a medium mixing bowl add the dry ingredients. Stir the ingredients together with a whisk till well combined and there are no lumps visible.
In a large mixing bowl, add the wet ingredients and stir till well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing till just combined. Add the cranberries to the bowl and stir till just combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all the ingredients are mixed in together.
Scoop out your cake batter into a greased or lined 9″ cake pan. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and your cake tester (like a toothpick) comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Allow cake to cool before serving. If sliced into warm, it’ll try to fall apart on you. Boo.