One of the things you learn growing up as a child is how to make friends. Painting your nails, eating brownies straight out of the oven, watching Legally Blonde late into the night. They are friendships that start off talking about the cute boy a couple lockers down and then in a flash, you're ten years older and talking about so much deeper life things - the future, your secrets, your fears.
But one thing that I wasn't ready to face was the fact that friendships change. Some of it is from physical moves, we get a job or go to graduate school in another state, and you can't just pop up at their doorstep anymore. Some of it is from the busy-ness that becomes our "adult" lives, you can't always have your phone out for a text at the hospital, and some days you that never-ending laundry list of things that just need to get done before bed. Whatever the cause, sometimes you just lose touch with someone that was really special in your life at some point or another. I got my first taste of this feeling in the depths of second year. And I'll admit it, I didn't take it very well. Not well at all - I was crying almost every day, actually. I was feeling resentful towards friends that I had believed would be friends forever, thinking that I lost these people, or worse, that I did something wrong to lose their friendship.
I don't think that anymore. For one, nothing good comes out of blaming yourself. And two, I'm learning that these changes don't have to be good nor bad. They just are there. They are the product of life, and life is never stagnant. It's always changing. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is look back into the past and ask ourselves what did we do wrong. So yes, I don't talk to this person every week like I hoped I would. But it's no one's fault - not your own, and not the other person's. The best thing we can do for ourselves is remember that what happens to that friendship now will never displace the memories made - how that person is woven into your life story, a story that's still going. Embrace the relationship changes for what it is, accept it, and let life continue to maintain certain ones, revive other ones, and let some rest peacefully with good memories surrounding it.
And let life create new ones. Even in medical school I am still making new friends - friends that make me smile. Friends that I feel comfortable just sitting around and doing nothing except enjoying conversations about randomness. And eating cake. Friends that life gave me for this point in my twenty-something years, ones that will surely touch my heart and change me into an even better person. Like all of them have so far.
And speaking of friends, this cake was made for one of my friends, Stephanie, for her birthday! It's a lemon cake brushed with a lemon simple syrup and lemon curd sandwiched in between the two layers. It's covered in vanilla swiss meringue buttercream roses - partly because I wanted to try a new technique and partly because Stephanie's got such a bright, pretty soul that I had to make her a cake to match, didn't I? We ate this cake last weekend and I will let you know that it's all gone now - and it was a pretty hefty cake.
Have a happy, happy Saturday!
For the cake (adapted from Ina Garten)
Note: for this cake, make sure your butter, eggs, juice, and buttermilk are all at room temperature!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- Lemon zest from 2 lemons
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Juice from 2 lemons
For the cake
- Swiss meringue buttercream - I doubled this recipe and added a couple cups of powdered sugar to help stiffen it up, it's a great starter recipe for anyone who is intimidated of making swiss meringue buttercream!
- Lemon curd, you can make your own, but I just bought mine from a fancy jar in the store for time's sake!
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two 8 inch round cake pans with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In another medium bowl, mix the orange juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes on medium-high speed. Add the eggs 1 at a time and mix until well incoporated. Add the lemon zest and mix for an additional minute.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Add the orange juice mixture and mix again. Finally, add the last half of the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick put in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
- For the lemon syrup, add the water and sugar to a pot and place over the stove until the sugar is dissolved. Add in the juice of 2 lemons and stir. Set aside to cool to room temperature before using.
- For the assembly, level the cakes and then brush the tops with lemon syrup. Frost the cake with the buttercream however you would like - if you want a rose buttercream tutorial, I suggest you check this one out!