• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

1. In a medium bowl, I mix together the dry ingredients and the zest, remembering how much a friend I haven’t talked to in a while loves the smell of lemons.

I decide to send her a text while I make sure everything is combined.

2. I cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer until fluffy…

…and decide that this will be the year I bake for other people as well as myself, and suddenly this cake isn’t for me anymore as I get a text back from her, asking how I’ve been recently. 

3. I add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and lemon juice…

…until the entire room is filled with lemon and I’m texting her back and forth, telling her about the cake and how much it reminds me of her. 

4. I add one-third of the flour mixture to the mixer, as we talk about all the things we’d like to bake. Next comes half of the buttermilk.

As I add the next third of the flour we’ve decided that she’ll bake me cookies next week, and I’m beyond excited. The last of the buttermilk and flour goes into the mixture as she tells me how excited she is too. 

5. I put the cake into the oven at 350 degrees and wait for the surface to brown and a toothpick to come out clean.

I can’t wait for my friend to try the finished creation. 

6. I cover the cake in syrup and icing, wrap it in a box…

…and drop it at the door of her house with the recipe attached. She says she’ll make it herself soon, and already has a recipe for the cookies she’s making me. 

We repeat this every other week, I bake her something with the recipe attached and drop it off, and she does the same for me. Cookies, cakes, and pies switch hands and each time seems better than the last.

The exchange of baked goods makes the world seem so much brighter, and I have a new connection with a friend. 


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