I was looking through a food magazine website for inspiration for a cake that John would eat. He doesn’t like cake as a rule but when you’re celebrating a milestone, sometimes cake is just what you need.
The occasion? Twenty years ago today, I was sitting at home and my daughter was getting ready to go out on a date. She asked me if I would sign on to the local bulletin board she belonged to and win the trivia contest because the prize was free service for a month. She was still in college and poor – but smart enough to win the contest nearly every week. She only needed to win once a month.
I rolled my eyes and said I would if I wasn’t doing anything else. Promptly at 7pm I followed the instructions on the notepad she’d left on how to log on. For you youngsters, the local bulletin board system was what preceded the world wide web. It was filled with geeks and not much else.
After successfully logging in I went to the trivia area and there was a note that the trivia lady would be 20 minutes late. I decided I’d have a look around this newfangled thing and I found photo sharing, games, chat and newsgroups. Newsgroups were online ads that came from all over the world and one of the groups was men seeking women. Yes, before the WWW!
I read the first one and it was from a man seeking a muse to write erotic stories. I flipped past that one. The second one said he was a lonely Australian male seeking a woman to discuss our pedestrian lives. I went to the next ad and it was from a guy looking for a ‘hottie’. I went back to the previous ad and on a whim, I wrote and said, “You’re probably only 12 but I’ve always been curious about Australia.” I figured if he could use the word pedestrian and not cross the street, he could probably hook a few words together that would be interesting to read.
In a few hours he wrote back and said he was well over 12. He was still younger than I was but not embarrassingly so. We continued to correspond to the point where we were waiting for replies to come back. It was then that we realized that maybe we should meet. I needed to prove to myself that he wasn’t perfect. A few months later I arrived in Melbourne and we haven’t looked back. It took a few years to decide to live on the same continent but no regrets.
Life hasn’t always been perfect but he’s exactly who I perceived him to be all those years ago. He’s a good man.
20 years ago today, I answered that ad. Imagine how my life would be different if I hadn’t taken the chance?
So in John’s honor, I made a lemon and yogurt cake and he ate TWO pieces. We celebrated with his parents (I know, big whoop) who also thought the cake was pretty special. I hope you do too. It is the easiest cake I’ve ever made and the only thing I would do differently is make only half as much. It’s WAY too much cake for two people.
I must confess that I made this cake and left it in the tin while I went out to run errands. This is what I found upon my return. I just cut it down into a smaller cake. That way I didn’t have to toss out any of the really good icing.
- 3 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- Juice and finely grated rind of 4 lemons
- 2 cups flavourless oil, eg grapeseed
- 1¾ cups plain unsweetened yoghurt
- 4 cups self-raising flour
- Pinch salt
- 75g soft butter
- 250g cream cheese (not spreadable)
- Juice and finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 4 cups icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 160C/320F.
- In a mixer or food processor, add the sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest, oil and yoghurt. Mix well.
- Add flour and salt and mix until just combined.
- Transfer to a greased 28-30cm/12x18" tin and bake 1½ hours or until springy to the touch. (I used baking paper and sprayed it with oil.)
- Cool before turning out and icing.
- Mix icing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Cool to a spreadable consistency then spread over cake. Decorate with extra lemon rind. Serve with whipped cream.