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Monday, December 17

Bake a cake to make it better

Transitioning to a new country has taught us many things. One of those is about friendships.

The “how to adjust in a new country” brochure doesn't tell you that friends will inevitably move forward with their lives and may not stay in contact.

We’ve learned it’s very hard to maintain relationships overseas, to make new friends and not have expectations of old. What has surprised us the most is the lack of concerted efforts from close friends to stay connected with us. Some close friends that considered us an important part of their lives haven’t emailed or called since we moved.

So you’re wondering why I am sharing this now? It’s peak holiday time and we’re missing the spirit of the season. Although we’ve made friends here and plan to host a holiday dinner, it’s different. It would be nice to hear from friends and catch up.

Before anyone gets angry or sends me an email, I take full credit for not doing my part. I do believe both people (parties) have to stay in touch so it’s our fault as much as theirs but I wished those lovely people that we adore back home would inquire once in a while. There are only so many times we can reach out. I get it, some people are better maintaining relationships with friends they see regularly. The lesson to learn for us is not to have expectations of any friendship.

Notably, I want to express how grateful we are for those friends that have continued to stay in touch. There are few of you but your friendship and love means the world to us. We will be with wonderful friends (from home) and their family for Christmas and New Year’s so we are looking forward to it.

Since I am feeling rather blue today, I baked a cake that nudged me back to reality.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Lime Yogurt Cake

1 cup whole milk plain unsweetened yogurt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F or 175C degrees. Grease the sides of a 10-inch round cake pan with oil. (I did not do this but you could line the bottom with parchment paper.)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil, sugar, lime zest and juice. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together, right over your yogurt batter. Stir in walnuts with a spoon and mix the batter until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let stand for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen.

Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests flipping the cake onto the rack but I kept my cake in the pan. I used a flimsy cake pan so I was worried the cake would tear in the process.

Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

With even the tough times, a simple cake with coffee helps put things in perspective and makes me accept this life we have in Germany.

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