The chickens are still laying and the house is still warm. It snowed one day and then it melted the next. It snowed again and it turned into rain. It's hard to keep track of weeks like this, when the only constant between the days is the egg I crack into the hot pan to feed the dogs at breakfast time.
I owe them nothing and sometimes that is the most freeing thing I've felt in a long time. The dogs and I live in silence, but they nudge and prod my hand for food, to cuddle, to go bark at the birds that perch on the fenceposts. They sleep on the bed, they lay on our chest in the morning to wake us up. They don't stop barking long after the postman's dropped off a package and then they sleep for an hour, exhausted from their instincts.
Nolan and I keep our patience with them. They howl when they hear his car coming down the road. We feed them small bits of our dinner and then we all lay in bed until it's time to sleep. And in the morning, it's a lot of the same. But it's in that sameness, in the pleasant static of this farm house, between the routine and the instinct, that I thrive.
And it's in those moments -- when it might be snowing, when the dogs might be begging for a snack, when nothing else is going on for miles and miles, when I have dozens of eggs to use up -- that I make a cake to share with them.
Pão de Ló
Portugese Sponge Cake
- 5 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup + 2 TB flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 TB lemon zest
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 TB vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Line an 8" cake round (I did mine pretty rustically)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together eggs and sugar. Continue beating for 12 minutes or until mixture is thick and stiff peaks form
- While egg mixture is being beaten, preheat oven to 350*F and sift flour, salt, and baking powder
- Mix in lemon juice and zest and extracts
- Fold in dry mixture
- Pour into prepared cake pan
- Bake for 40 minutes or until edges are tanned and top is springy