Some people drown their graduate school sorrows in Cuervo; more than once, I found myself drowning my sorrows (or joys or frustrations) in cake at SLJ. When I found out that one of my college friends had died from cancer at the age of 25, I walked up the street and ordered a slice of the White Chocolate Raspberry cake, remembering him and his love of sweet and pure things, and mourning the loss of a life cut too short. When I passed my comprehensive exams, I treated myself to a slice of Flourless Chocolate Decadence, savoring the rich, dark flavor of success. When I made the decision to leave my first graduate program ABD (before I knew I would be getting my doctoral degree in something that was a much better fit), I savored a slice of Raspberry Lemon Cake: sweet, but also bitter.
I have just submitted the following letter (names and places changed to protect the people involved, of course). If there's one thing that pregnancy loss and infertility have taught me, it's that life is too precious a gift to waste. If you know of anyone looking for a smart, thoughtful, visionary woman in the NY/NJ area who works her tail off for the right people and a good cause, please put them in touch with me, or me them, or something. (Stupidly, I missed the cutoff for ICLW this time ... would have been nice to be in that mix.) I'm jumping into an abyss, and it's not clear how far down I will fall; I'm hoping to land on my feet.
May 23, 2011
Dear Dr. Boss:
I am writing you to officially tender my resignation from XYZ University as Administrative Director of The X Center (I Built and Ran for the Last Seven Years, Which I Also Helped to Endow at $4 Million ... but I didn't actually write that part). My last day of employment will be June 6, 2011.
I appreciate the opportunities I have been given at XYZ and I wish you and the Center success in the future.
If I can assist with the transition, please do let me know.
A Half Baked Life
I have mixed emotions about what I have just done, but I hope you'll join me for a slice of cake. When life gives you lemons, you might as well make lemonade layer cake. Somebody hold me.
Lemonade Layer Cake
1 1/3 c. granulated sugar
6 T. butter, softened
1 T. grated lemon rind
3 T. thawed lemonade concentrate
2 t. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 1/4 c. fat-free buttermilk
2 T. butter, softened
2 t. grated lemon rind
2 t. thawed lemonade concentrate
1/2 t. vanilla extract
8 oz. neufchatel cheese
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition.
Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.
To prepare frosting, place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredients (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Chill 1 hour.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.