How do you handle stress?
It pretty much rides me like a champion cowboy at the annual rodeo while I twitch about aimlessly and angrily in too many directions at once.
Yeah, sometimes I get overwhelmed…or have been accused of overwhelming myself.
But thank goodness for a few stress management techniques that keep me safely on the “crazy” side of the “maniacally loony” fence.
Some of these weapons include:
- watching Bravo reality shows while my roommate provides her own comical narration
- peppermint oil on my temples, neck, legs, arms, …the more the better I thought?
- eating a cookie, or a few cookies or several boxes of cookies
- complaining…er, writing to you about my problems
- shopping (unless I’m worried about money that day- or body image- or the ugly 80’s neon-colored disease that all the stores have contracted…it’s communicable so beware)
- listening to a loop of rainfall on my computer and then
- working out
…oh yeah, or sometimes I just sleep.
This week I move to a new apartment, then leave for vacation and then plunge into a 40-hour, 4-day work week. Back to back to back.
Since everything listed improved the incessant jittering of my foot by a generous 1% percent (rounded up), I decided instead to daydream of slower and quieter things than my temporarily crazy reality.
Like waking up on a snowy Saturday morning knowing I have no obligations all weekend, showering, discarding my nighttime pajamas and replacing them with daytime pajamas and slippers and then baking something warm and fresh to pair with my toasty coffee. Like this perfect Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Coffee Cake.
Sweet and tart with freshness bursting from citrus zest and the season’s best berries, this cake will hit the spot.
It’s also uniquely flexible allowing for service to be warm, room temperature or cold out of the fridge. Me? I’d say I most enjoy it warm with juicy, exploding blueberries when the silky glaze provides an unexpected sauce when dripping down the side of my slice.
Big, calming breaths accompanied by big, calming slices of coffee cake…that should do the trick.
Start by making a patchy, zesty beard.
Add blue to lift the blues.
Disguise a lotta ricotta in a citrus mask.
A moment of silence for the utter delectability (yes, that’s a word…I googled it)
Salute the international flag for brunch.
Nestle into the comforting, warm communion of tart and sweet.
Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Coffee Cake
This refreshing delight is softly sweet and bursting with fresh blueberries and lively citrus. The glaze poured on top while warm seeps ever so slightly and unsuspectingly into the bottom of the cake providing additional moistness to an already comforting cake. The light, tart lemon ricotta topping reminds you that this is a brunch occasion therefore stilettos are not permitted.
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 3/4 C sugar
- 1/4 C organic palm shortening
- 1/3 C milk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1 C flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 C fresh blueberries
- 1 1/4 C whole milk ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 T milk
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- powdered sugar (roughly 1 – 1 1/2 C)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9 inch round springform pan with butter.
- For the ricotta topping, mix ricotta, eggs, sugar, vanilla and zest in a bowl. Set aside.
- For the base, blend sugar and shortening thoroughly. Mix in eggs one at a time and then the vanilla, zest, and milk. Separately, mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Finally, fold in the blueberries just until combined.
- To assemble, spread the blueberry base evenly in the greased pan using a spatula. Pour the ricotta mixture evenly on top of that.
- Bake in the preheated oven just until the ricotta sets, the edges begin to brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean- about 45 min.
- While cake is baking, mix the milk, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 C at a time to achieve your desired thickness and sweetness. I use between 1 and 1 1/2 C.
- Remove cake from oven and allow to cool slightly. Remove the edge of the springform pan. While still warm, pour the glaze over the cake. If some runs down the sides slightly it’s a-ok.
- Enjoy warm or when completely cool, refrigerate and serve cold…mmm!