a sunday worthy of cake

A few days ago, I discovered a truly inspirational blog, Bleubird.Like so many bloggers I aspire towards, James fills Bleubird’s pages withstunning photography, eloquent words, and endless ideas. It is her starkhonesty and boundless humility, though, that truly sets her apart. She doesn’t feignperfection, yet her creativity and talent abounds. Her style is eclectic andmismatched. She doesn’t follow trends, but instead makes her own. Her lifecould not be more dissimilar to my own, but somehow I found myself relating toher, and aspiring to her simplistic ways.

Life in New York City is hectic at best. Every day is afight through overcrowded streets and subways, just to get to work. Some days Ilove it – I live for the energy and momentum. Other days, I want to be anywherebut here, simply enjoying a quiet moment. What I tend to lose sight of, though,is that I AM capable of enjoying a quiet moment, amidst the chaos, if I createone for myself…

…which brings to me the “Sunday’s Cake” section on Bleubird.Last year, James made a promise to her family that they would bake a cake on Sundays, together. Do other plans get in the way? Of course. Do they sometimes bake thecake on a Monday? Yes. Are there weeks when they just don’t have time to bake acake at all? Absolutely. The point is, when possible, she makes the time toslow down, enjoy the moment, and do something she loves with her family.

This Sunday, I took some advice from James. I woke up, and started my day doing what I love– I baked a cake. And then, I spent a leisurely brunch eating the cake withsomeone I love. And then, we spent the afternoon enjoying what we so often “don’thave time” to enjoy. We walked through the park, and went to a museum. Weslowed down.

Something tells me this is the beginning of a weekly thing.
(Thanks, James from Bleubird, for the inspiration and thank you to Kate from Cookie + Kate for thedelicious recipe).

Orange Poppy Seed Cake (made with olive oil and yogurt)
 recipe from Cookie + Kate

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used just plain all purpose flour and it turned out perfectly)
  • 1/3 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 medium orange or 2 small oranges, to be zested and juiced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (zest from 1 medium orange)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a loaf pan (you can also line with parchment paper, to ensure your cake doesn’t stick. I buttered a non-stick loaf pan, and that worked well for me, though).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add the sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Grate all the zest from the orange(s) (should yield about 2 teaspoons zest – I used 2 small oranges). Rub the zest into the sugar with your hands until the sugar is orange and fragrant.
  4. Slice the orange (I used one orange) in half for juicing. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out 3/4 cup yogurt and squeeze in about 1/4 cup orange juice to yield 1 cup total liquid. Whisk the yogurt and juice together until smooth. Add the yogurt mixture, eggs, and vanilla into the sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. When the mixture is well blended, gently whisk in the dry ingredients, just until incorporated. Fold in the olive oil with a spatula, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top.
  6. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes (I did 50), or until the top is golden and the sides start to pull away from the sides of the pan; a toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen. Unmold the cake by placing a large plate upside down over the loaf pan and carefully turning them over. Let the cake cool to room temperature right-side up on a wire rack.

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