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lemon cake, hold the shingles!

when i was little, my best friend got something called "chicken pox" and i was extremely jealous of the days off school, attention, and lemon cupcakes he got. the cupcakes, probably from a box mix, were baked for him by my dad and were the most delicious baked good i had ever had.

as my dad had anticipated, i got the chicken pox a couple of weeks later and, with that, my own fresh batch of lemon cupcakes! i realized very shortly that, yes, the cupcakes were good, but they were not THAT good. the chicken pox totally sucked. they also sucked when i got them a second time later that year. oh, and when the virus came back in the form of shingles when i was 26 years old? long story, short: this week is the 10th anniversary of when my symptoms had started and i still suffer from the nerve damage.

shingles vaccine ad
puts on my "geriatric millennial" trucker hat to try to pass as 50+ at the duane reade pharmacy

i was telling andy a couple of weekends ago about these cupcakes as we were talking about our recent covid vaccinations. i had my second shot coming up and i was so anxious, both from the weight of being excited to be vaccinated and being terrified that it would trigger shingles. i'm a computer scientist, not a chicken pox scientist, but from what i've gathered the virus is simply hanging out in my spinal fluid waiting to strike again or not.

i've since had my second shot and am, after a rough few days, feeling footloose and shingles-free. i don't have the ability or interest to articulate things that i have not fully processed, so i won't talk much about how the pandemic affected me, but i will say that it forced andy and i to not see each other for months. we actually navigated this extremely well and the experience has me (and probably andy too 🔫 right babe???) seeing our time together in a different, beautiful light. and that beautiful light is the reflections from our televisions playing youtube.

one of our favorite youtubers is nisha of rainbow plant life, a vegan lawyer-turned-blogger. i once told andy that i trust her with my life, and he agreed that i trust her with my life. and later in the exact day i was telling him about those chicken pox lemon cupcakes, a video came up in my recommendations of her mentioning this lemon olive oil cake. and with outstanding timing, she posted a "youtube short" just today of her making it. spooky (in a good way)!

so of course we made the cake the next day. it came out really good, which is surprising, given my history of making cakes.

my black cat, pumagreg, laying on the table next to a small loaf cake on a cooling rack look at this beautiful loaf, and the cake cooling next to it.

the full cake on a plate with strawberry compote topping i forget why, but in my late twenties i went through a phase where i avoided cooked fruit. young, dumb jenn is quaking right now.

a slice of the cake nisha wasn’t kidding when she said it was super easy to make this cake and that it was delicious. i'm definitely going to make this again and again – only next time i’ll make more of the strawberry compote topping and not forget to save some of the lemon zest for the end. i also could have baked this one a few minutes longer, but i was afraid of it drying out. the recipe being vegan afforded me some room for undercookedness since there's no raw egg danger.

check out more vegan recipes at rainbow plant life and on her youtube channel - andy and i have already made and loved the lentil shepherd's pie and these quesadillas with a vegan queso that deserves its own post, honestly!

i know this is an absolutely foul thought and a terrible way to end a perfect, brilliant blog post, but the compote topping makes it look like the cake has shingles, right? sorry!

xoxo jenn

this was published May 17, 2021 under living food health baking cakes childhood illness pumagreg andy