I’m traveling to an enchanted place for my birthday – the spot where I breathe and dream and bury my electronic devices for a week. I recall my last visit a few years back. One afternoon, I was resting at the foot of a rock formation called Kachina Woman pondering life when, from a ledge above me, a hippy sprite wearing Tevas sprung down and alighted beside me. He was neither hallucination nor a result of ingesting peyote. He spoke to me as if it were the most natural thing– scrambling down a rock face to chat with a complete stranger. I’m neither a fan of Tevas nor hippies, yet his company wasn’t unwelcome. We conversed for an hour or so on my perch, though I hardly remember what we spoke about. He invited me to a drumming circle that night, or coffee, or a poetry reading – I can’t recall exactly; I didn’t go. As I pack and consider my upcoming trip, I doubt I’ll see my sprite again. But if I do, and if I’m asked to go somewhere, I may just say yes.
Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 ounces (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter Cake
- 4 Meyer lemons, cut into paper-thin slices, ends discarded
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk Glaze
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
- Place lemon slices in a medium saucepan of water, bring to boil, drain, repeat. Cool and chop fine. While lemon slices cook, make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover and chill.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream. Fold in lemon.
- Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly into cake pan. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer over the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter. Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. 4. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove sides of springform, using a knife if necessary. Let cool completely on rack.
- Make the glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down the sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes.