The year Bueno and I were married, 2004, his mom—“Nana” to her grandkids—sent us a box of a special set of china she had used for entertaining and special family meals when Bueno and his siblings were growing up in Nashville. The unopened box has moved with us 4 times, and we have had 2 more children since Nana sent them. Unpacking the dishes has been on my list of things to do for the last 6 years. But this would be the year! Last week, I finally started unpacking the box and thought I might be able to accomplish the task quickly while my son, Nacho, was playing in another room.
Nana’s cooking was legendary where my husband grew up in Nashville. I began to feel a sense of connection to her while unpacking the box. As I stacked the dishes on my kitchen table, I thought about what her elegant parties must have been like and the family meals she had served to my husband and his 3 siblings. Shortly into my unpacking, my thoughts were interrupted by Nacho, who came running from his Legos to see what treasures I had unboxed. I had no idea my youngest son would be so interested in the dishes, and he began to ask what each was used to serve. He was careful handling them and listened, eager to learn. After my explanation, he requested a tea party!
I loved that idea – our other school lessons could wait!! I steeped some blueberry tea and baked a Meyer Lemon Tea Cake with Apricot Glaze for us to enjoy. It was an unexpected and joy filled moment for us—a connection between us and Nana made possible by finally opening the box of china after not getting to it for so many years. It felt so good to be sharing and passing on our family heirlooms from one generation to the next, to be used for any occasion. Simply bringing out the family china makes it a special occasion. I hope you open your unopened boxes this year! I’m halfway through one of mine now. xoxo, dana
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup sugar (I prefer Organic Florida Crystals)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened, at room temperature)
- ½ cup safflower oil (or expeller-pressed coconut oil, melted)
- 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon zest
- ¼ cup fruit sweetened apricot spread, warmed (I like Bionaturae Organic Apricot Fruit Spread)
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan.
- In one bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In another large bowl beat together the oil, sugar and vanilla. Fold in the Meyer lemon juice and zest.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients- folding until almost incorporated.
- Add the almond milk folding into the wet mixture with a spatula until all ingredients are just combined.
- Spread the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes or until firm to the touch.
- Allow cake to stand and cool for 10 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rake to cool completely before topping with the apricot glaze.
- In a glass bowl warm the apricot fruit spread in the microwave about 20 seconds.
- Add the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon Meyer lemon juice to the warmed apricot fruit spread with a whisk until combined.
- Spread apricot glaze on cooled cake.
- I cut this cake into wedges before serving.