Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

It was a bit jarring when I consciously realized that I was Googling “what is a toddler?”

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Then I thought, “Best to keep this information to yourself. Maybe you should erase your search history. Hey, how do I do that anyway? Oh god, I hope no one sees any of my searches*!”

* E.g., Is this pink eye or allergies? Where do you purchase St. Bernard dog collars with an ale cask on them? What has Tonya Harding been up to?

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I mean, I was really wondering about what it means to be a “toddler” versus a “baby.” Like what is the age-range of a toddler? At what point does one transition from “baby” to “toddler”?

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But my question really went beyond age – because I was realizing that the definition of “toddler” isn’t only about age, but a certain je ne sais quoi.

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For example, there are two ways to buy clothes for a 16 month old – you can buy “baby” clothes, via 12 to 18 month OR you can buy “toddler” clothes of the same month-span. So what is the difference?

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I’ve noticed that the “baby” clothes are softer (i.e., fewer jeans, more soft pants) and have fewer options that include commercialized images (e.g., Sponge Bob, Elmo). I guess predictably, I am way more into the baby clothes.

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Aaron claims that I have an “obsession with soft clothes” and maybe this extends to soft baby clothes. I don’t know I would call it an *obsession* per se, but I should acknowledge that I am writing this in one of 10 pairs of my own “soft pants” (more specifically, I’m wearing one of several pairs of “yoga pants” even though I haven’t done yoga in forever), and a soft cotton “weathered” tee shirt and one of those NorthFace fuzzy fleeces that makes you feel like you are wearing a stuffed animal.

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And of course I would prefer stripes or cute animal patterns over cartoon characters and Thomas the Train (BARF I CAN’T STAND HIS ENGINE-FACE!!! THAT SMIRK AND THOSE CHIPPER EYE BROWS! BLECH!).

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But I have been wondering if I’m more into baby clothes (than toddler clothes) because I am subconsciously having a hard time giving up Ansel’s baby-hood.

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I think that change at any level can be tough for people. And it’s true that once Aaron and I get our heads wrapped around taking care of Ansel at a certain age, he starts to change and we have to make adjustments all over again. It’s all very exciting for us, and we love to watch Ansel grow and develop, it’s just astonishing how quickly it all seems to happen.

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I can’t believe I’m talking so much about baby clothes here, but my mom bought him this super-cute Christmas gnome sweater this past Christmas. I actually thought to myself, “I’ll put it away for next Christmas!” And then, after a couple of beats, I was like, “Oh, right…. he won’t be the same size next year.”

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Can you blame me? I’m still wearing the same clothes from, like, forever ago. Seriously, in my world it’s “new” if I bought them within the last three years.

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We also adopted our dog, Sadie, as a young adult (rather than a puppy), and though she has mellowed a little bit over the years, she hasn’t changed that much. Like even though I watched a whole ton of Cesar Milan and have tried to train her by being the “wolf pack leader,” she still jumps on people and doesn’t come back to us consistently after being called.

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Anyway, from my Google research, I believe that Ansel is, indeed, a toddler. One who “toddles.” And he’s not a baby anymore. Nope, not him.

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It’s not like I want him to be a baby forever (HELL NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH!), it’s more that I forget that things change and are constantly shifting and having a little person is an ever-present reminder of this.

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And it’s really beautiful and magical and a little bittersweet… Just like this coffee cake!!!

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Have you ever baked with Meyer lemons?! Or had them?! They are so incredibly wonderful. I had not had a Meyer lemon until a couple of days ago when I set out to make this cake. Apparently, they are some kind of cross between a lemon and a tangerine, so they taste very lemony, but they have this perfumy and slightly sweeter taste.

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I got a new Martha Stewart cake cookbook and I’ve been dreaming of making all of the cakes in it. It has all kinds of cakes, not just layered or sheet cakes like I usually go for, like loafs, pound cakes, bundts, coffee cakes, and ice cream cakes.

Dunno why, but I really wanted to start going through recipes in the coffee cake section. I mean, who even makes or eats coffee cakes anymore? I can’t remember the last time I had coffee cake, but I’m guessing it was something like Mother’s Day, 1996.

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But this coffee cake is so incredible that Aaron and I haven’t been able to give any away. And we are people who happily send our cakes out the door. It has a deep Meyer lemon flavor in the cake part itself (which is also rich in butter and sour cream). And then layers of par-boiled super-thin Meyer lemon slices, rind and all, running through it like thick ribbons of textured lemon curd. And it’s topped with a ludicrous amount of buttery streusel, which tastes like a sandy clumps of lemon shortbread that melt in your mouth. And on top of that is a Meyer lemon glaze that helps the cake hit the right note of sharp sour-sweet.

I never knew coffee cake could be so damn good.

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And if you were wondering what I had for breakfast and lunch today, now you know.

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I guess it’s really the perfect comfort food for us as we come to a close on winter and adjust to Ansel’s new toddler habits (such as throwing tantrums when we take crayons out of his mouth).

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But I suspect that if making cakes helps me deal with change, there will be no stopping my baking.

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Also, if you are in need of this cake, I found the recipe online here. No idea why it has three stars and not five. And a note to bakers, I did not use a mandoline to slice the lemons, I just used a knife and sliced them as thinly as I could. The cake turned out impeccably.

 

5 thoughts on “Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

  1. Hi Katie-excited to see this cake! We have a Meyer Lemon Tree in our yard. I will certainly try this recipe! Love the updates on sweet Ansel. Thank you!

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  2. K,

    My coworkers are constantly giving me bags and bags of Meyer lemons, and frankly there’s only so much lemon curd and lemon curds I can make, or that friends are willing to take off my hands. This cake looks crazy good and will definitely be the next Meyer lemon item I make. As for you and Aaron taking crayons out of young Angels mouth, have you checked out the site Asshole Parents? I’m not calling you assholes, I’m just saying you fit the profile.

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