Friday, February 24, 2012

Lemon Loaf Cake

It’s that time of year again. No, not the beginning of the new school year, or even a new semester (since I go to a full-year school), but that time of year when we choose our courses for the following school year. It’s a scary thought that this will be my last Bubble Day, the last time I ever have to painstakingly comb through the Choices guidebook. In the wise words of Michael Jackson, this is it.

Next year this time, I’ll have finished all my university applications and will be waiting, anxiously, for a response. I will be on the last leg of the race, on the homestretch. I’m almost there; I can feel it with each new obstacle, with each new issue, with each new question that I don’t know how to answer.  

Choosing seven of my eight courses was pretty easy (aside from determining whether to take French again or not). The last course I’m not so sure about. Should I take another academic course on top of my already intense course load, or should I schedule in a bird course for relaxation? Accounting or cooking? Writer’s craft or studies in literature? Critical thinking or philosophy? Decisions, decisions. 

My younger brother Kyle is having an even harder time deciding on courses. Deciding on courses for grade eleven is pretty crucial because it determines what kind of courses one can take in senior year, which determines what kind of programs one can apply to for university. So far, he’s decided on three courses, two of which are mandatory. He flirted with the idea of taking a fifth year in high school.

“I’m going to go ask Dad about what he thinks,” he said enthusiastically. A couple minutes later, he re-entered my room.

“So,” I asked, “what did Dad say?”

“He said, ‘I want to break free,’” he replied with a straight face. I spat out the drink of water I was taking and burst out laughing. Only our father could quote Queen when confronted with his children’s questionable academic futures.

“Was he singing?” I asked between giggles.

“Kind of,” Kyle replied. “Just when I was beginning to like school, it slaps me in the face again.” Kyle said, smacking his head against the desk. I stifled a laugh; the tone of this conversation starting to resemble the spilled coffee incident. “Why are you so prepared?”

The truth is: I’m not prepared, in any way. The only thing that I’m a thousand percent certain of is this Lemon Loaf Cake, and that’s because I’ve already made it. It’s already happened. It exists.  

The only other thing that I am a hundred percent sure of is that I will be going to university. Aside from that declaration, I don’t know what I am going to major in or what I want to do “when I grow up.” At this point in my life, I’m still entertaining the idea of going to graduate school to become a lawyer or a doctor, but my mind doesn’t really extend past those four years.

I know that nothing is set in stone and that life never works out the way you want it to. I know that what I envision right now may not be what really happens. I know that everything isn’t always going to be this good or bad or familiar. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with not knowing what will happen or where life will lead me. I’m okay with not knowing what my purpose in life is—yet. I’m okay, because I know that I’m doing absolutely everything that I can right now to “prepare” myself for the future (as if one could ever “prepare” oneself for the future).

I’m keeping all my doors open because I know that at least one of them is the right one.

Mini Lemon Loaf Cake

Adapted from: the recipe of the neighbour of a friend of a friend of mine

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup milk 


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour four mini loaf pans. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and soda together. In a small bowl, stir sour cream and milk together.

In another large bowl, stir butter, sugar, lemon zest, almond extract salt, lemon extract, and salt until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and sour cream in three alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 45-55 minutes, until each loaf is golden brown and a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean.


  1. I love lemon loaf cake! I don't think its ever set in stone what you're going to be, just make sure you're doing something you love, not something you feel like you have to do.

  2. Choosing subjects is the pits - you want to choose something that you won't hate but should be useful, and that you have a hope of passing (hence why I never took Health & PE!). Good luck with the decision making. This lemon loaf looks absolutely delicious -I adore citrus in baked goods.

  3. It's such a pleasure to be young and to have your future open to anything you want it to be. Enjoy these moments... I can tell what an awesome person you are and you will do more than just fine. As for this cake... it's classic, rich, and delicious!

  4. Hi Kyleen, I love lemon cakes - Yours looks so golden and fluffy, and they've got a whole load of zest in as well - I bet they're they taste fab!

  5. Y'know, as a self proclaimed control freak, even if you think you have things figured out, you don't. Life is funny like that. All you can do is try to find that balance of "good for me" and "fun for me." If you can find some overlap, that's even better. You'll probably change your mind eleventy-million more times, and that's half the fun. No regrets!

    My two cents: if you already have an intense workload, I would find something more enjoyable for your last class so you can make sure you give your intense courses more of your attention. Spreading yourself too thin will make you start to resent your choices, and that's no fun. I learned that one the hard way.

    This cake looks fabulous btw. I just took some chocolate chip scones out of the oven. I may or may not be procrastinating on two term papers. :)

  6. oh no :( not that time of year again! don't worry, it may seem stressful now but it'll all be over soon! and it's really good that you're putting so much thought into choosing your courses, keep up this attitude and u will go far

  7. Wow! That lemon cake looks so delicious! I love pretty much anything with a lemon or lime flavor.

  8. I LOVE your attitude towards all of this. Yes, it's such a nerve-wrecking time and it feels like it's so important to make the "right" decisions. But'll change your mind a thousand times before the end of college and even afterward. So how much does it really matter? Eh. I'd argue that this lemon loaf is much more important. :P

  9. You're attitude towards school is great! I think a nice relaxing class would be my choice but you could definitely handle another academic course.

    This recipe look wonderful. I adore lemon baked goods!

    Good luck with everything!!!

  10. I love lemon in baked goods, especially zest. It makes everything pop, doesn't it? Your cake looks beautiful by the way.

  11. Baking can be a lot like life in that way. Things can turn out wonderfully or go horribly wrong, but they usually don't turn out just they way you expected.

  12. This lemon loaf cake looks delicious, Kyleen! It looks so moist and the crumb looks divine! Bookmarking!

  13. I would probably take a relaxing course to ease things off.
    I am in love with anything lemon right now (a switch from my banana-obsession) so I might give this a try. Looks wonderful!


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