There’s nothing as delicious as anticipation. Even the word is luscious, long and drawn out, and strung with crisp consonants. I like how it feels to say it. I like how it feels to sense it.
The best sort of anticipation is for something good but undefined. A nebulous, hazy event awaits, shimmering ahead of you. You're ready, but you don't know quite for what.
The downside of all that looking forward, of course, is an eager impatience. The minutes crawl by like weeks; I count down the days in my head over and over. I remind myself to stay present: Tether yourself to the moment. Don't just survive it. Make it grab you, live vividly, let it wash over you so you forget to look ahead.
Are you looking forward to something to? Or is each day a gentle meandering of hours, your attention ebbing and flowing from the task at hand to your dinner plans tonight to the song playing on your headphones?
I'm hoping something is waiting for you around the next bend. Hoping that if not right now, then very soon, you feel jittery with anticipation, tingly like you're a delicate glass flute and someone's slowly filling you with Champagne. I hope you have a date this weekend with someone new, and that you're already planning whether to wear your hair up or down, and willing the days to pass. I hope you feel the imminent rush of change. A clean, crisp passport page ready to be stamped. An empty suitcase. An unopened book.
If the landscape ahead looks routine and flat, then here's something you can plan for: Make this cake. Make it a weekend plan. Decide to take a slice outside on the porch. Sit there, with bare feet and wet hair, a novel in your lap and your phone nowhere nearby.
If you've got plans already, okay maybe you don't need this cake. But really, would it hurt when it's this pretty and dense with almond meal and crunchy with a sugared crust?
Raspberry Almond Cake
Makes one 9" layer
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cups raspberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9" springform cake pan and sprinkle the bottom and sides with sugar, tapping out any excess.
Cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla bean paste until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for a full minute after each one, and then beat for another 3 minutes.
Whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt. Add to the butter/sugar mixture, a little at a time, and mix until just incorporated.
Add the yogurt and mix until the batter is well-combined.
Add half of the raspberries into the batter. Fold them in with a spatula until the batter is berry-streaked.
Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and top with the remaining raspberries, pressing them gently into the top of the batter. Sprinkle with another tablespoon or two of sugar.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the outside of the pan and let cool for at least 15 minutes, then slide the cake onto a wire rack to finish cooling.