Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Remembrance, and Raspberry Lime Cake

9-11 Remembrance –

We will all remember what we were doing this day 10 years ago. It's a day that will forever be etched in my mind. I remember smells, sights, sounds, tastes. Emotions. We will always remember those who were lost, who gave, who helped, who mourned.

I was halfway across the country from where it was all taking place, getting ready for work as a newspaper reporter with my radio turned on. The regularly scheduled programming was interrupted to say that a plane had flown into one of the towers at the World Trade Center. I stopped what I was doing, horrified at the terrible, tragic accident that had just taken place. I said a prayer for those affected, and turned on the television while telling my husband what was going on.

I turned the radio up as I went on getting ready. You know the rest of the story. When the second plane hit, I began to believe it couldn't possibly be a horrible coincidence but what was really going on hadn't fully hit me.

By that time I was watching live, and saw the second plane coming and crash into the tower. Tears streaming down my face, I was glued to the live video streaming into my living room and watching with horror as people lost their lives. Thousands of people. People from nearly 100 different countries.

In fact, tears are streaming down my face as I type this. Reliving certain events has that effect on you.

The full impact of what was going on was slowly dawning on me, and by the time the Pentagon was hit, I knew what was happening. Sobbing, I called my parents' house. They didn't have television and I doubted if they knew what was happening. My mom answered and I could barely choke out the words, "We are being attacked."

Startled, she didn't know what I was talking about, but I told her to turn the radio on and that our nation was under attack. She prayed over the phone before we hung up. I had to get to work. I was a reporter and may have been miles and miles away from what was happening in a physical sense, but we were all feeling it as if we were there. What was going to happen next? Everything was so uncertain and unsettling.

I don't even remember if my husband left first for work or if I did. I just remember not wanting to leave him - so unsure about what the day would hold. I got to work and we listened to the radio, crying, scared and confused, as we tried to figure out what the next step was in our coverage. What stories needed to be held back, how were we going to approach this one, what family and friends did we have in the area that we could speak with ... It felt as if the world was ending, and in a way it did for a while. Few people were driving about, walking about. Those that were out spoke in hushed tones.

An important ceremony was taking place that morning for law enforcement in the area, and I had to cover it. By the time I got there, I hadn't heard about Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania yet. As I waited for the ceremony to begin, I watched the officers and agents present. There weren't as many as there should have been. Some were already in motion, under orders to help with security elsewhere. While I was there, some cell phones rang, higher-ups answering, grave faces, whispers. Another plane had gone down.

I numbly took notes and got a few photos, but I honestly can remember very little about the ceremony except for how I felt, what I was thinking, what the air smelled and felt like, what the sky looked like. I'm sure we all remember what the sky looked like that day. We kept checking it for planes.

In the weeks following the tragedy, I was glued to the television every waking moment that I wasn't working and many that I shouldn't have been awake. I interviewed survivors, family, friends. 9/11 had consumed me, had consumed our nation. Yet, we still had to go on living life. A changed life. And trying to find the answer to the never-ending "Why" - and discovering that the answers are always endless and never enough.

Everything I had once dreamed about all of a sudden seemed so different. A friend was due with her first child less than a month after the attacks. A few days after it all happened, I asked her if she was afraid of bringing a child into this world because of what had happened a few days prior. She wasn't, really. The thought terrified me.

But I've since had two amazing children, and have learned the lesson - and not for the first time - that life does go on. And that we get stronger as we rebuild around loss.

My children are getting old enough that they are asking these tough questions about September 11, 2001. And I have to try to answer them .I've tried - without making them living in an oblivious bubble - to shelter them as much as possible from tragic news, or news that might scare them. They learn of tragedies, and we pray for the people affected. They see me cry for them sometimes. They know we donate to the relief efforts. But we don't watch a lot of news while they are awake, and I try to spare them too many details. How do you spare details for something like this, as they begin asking the questions?

So many lives were lost that day, and so many new ones began. Children were born on 9/11, and today is their birthday. We will always remember those lost, and we will hold those we love a little closer - being thankful for the time we have with them, knowing that it can all end in an instant. And we celebrate these lives, this living, as we remember it all.

You see, it's my dad's birthday. And a good friend - their "auntie" - has a birthday today, too. It was a happy day before 2001, and it has been again. We have celebrated the life of two loved individuals on this day, and we will continue to do so. Just like we celebrate for those precious children who were born this day 10 years ago, and those who have been born on this day in years since.

Remembering what was lost and what was sacrificed - and celebrating the life we have with those who live it with us during the time we have here - is a way we can honor those who lost so much this day 10 years ago. Cake, made with love and eaten in remembrance and joy of life still held, is something we can share together this day.

Marla Meredith of Family Fresh Cooking has asked us to join together today with posts of Remembrance Cakes. I made a raspberry lime cake to share with you today. It's an attempted recreation of a cake I enjoyed with my family in a gluten-free bakery while on a vacation this summer. The cake itself is an altered version of the fresh-squeezed lemon cake I made last month.

9-11 Remembrance –

I hope you enjoy cake today with those you love, and hold those cherished ones a little tighter. My prayers today, as I know are yours, are with all of those who lost loved ones 10 years ago, and with those who helped in recovery and live with those memories. My prayers are with our leaders, our military, our law enforcement. With the children who came breathing new life into this world 10 years ago today. And for this country, that we may always remember, and live our lives with purpose and love.

(Printable Recipe)
8 oz. eggs (4 large eggs plus one yolk)
8 oz. pure cane sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 oz. almond flour (34 grams)
4 1/4 oz. brown rice flour (122 grams)
3/4 oz. sweet rice flour (20 grams)
2 1/2 oz. potato starch (71 grams)
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted but cooled to room temperature

Seedless raspberry preserves or fresh raspberry puree
Lime curd (homemade or store-bought, just make sure it's gluten-free)
Whipped frosting

Whipped frosting:
3 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar, plus more to taste
3/4 tsp. pure vanilla
1/4 tsp. pure almond extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Fresh raspberries, for topping

Have all cake ingredients at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line bottoms of two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.

Combine your room-temperature eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla in large mixing bowl. Whisk at low-medium speed until the sugar begins to dissolve, then switch to high for about 8 minutes, until the eggs have turned a very light yellow color and have increased in volume.

Sift your room-temperature flours together with the baking powder and carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until combined.

Fold room-temperature melted butter into the mixture and pour into lined pans.

Bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place on a wire rack to cool for several minutes.

When cooled enough to touch, run a knife around the edges and flip over onto the wire rack. Let cool a few more minutes, then carefully slice the cakes in half horizontally to make two layers (optional: you already will have two layers here - this is if you want four layers).

Place the cake pans back over the layers, flip back over and cover with plastic wrap. Place in freezer until firm.

Meanwhile, have your lime curd and raspberry fillings at room temperature to ease in spreading.

Make your whipped frosting.

Whip cream cheese, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts together until smooth. On low speed, slowly pour whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture. Switch to high until it begins to thicken, then taste and adjust sugar to your preference. Continue beating on high speed until very thick and fluffy. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

When the cakes have firmed up, remove from the freezer and place the first half of one cake on a cake plate, cut side up.

Spread raspberry filling on the half on the plate, and lime curd on the half going on top of it. Spread whipped frosting on top of the raspberry filling, then place the other cake half, lime curd down, on top. Repeat with all the layers until you've topped the cake. Leave the top without filling.

Spread whipped frosting over top and sides, then top with fresh raspberries if desired.

Chill until serving.

Enjoy with those you cherish.


  1. I only wish I could express my thoughts like you have. What a beautifully written post. Your cake sounds so good and is really pretty.

  2. Beautiful post and even more beautiful cake!

  3. Caneel, thanks so much for baking with us. Your cake came out beautiful. Hope you got to enjoy it with your sweet family with a side of lots of hugs!! xxoo

  4. Reading this gave me chills. The memories and sadness from that day will never, ever leave us. And it shouldn't. It was tragic. But, as you said, life does go on. Babies are born and people laugh again. Happiness does return whether you think it will or not. It does.
    Beautiful post and beautiful cake. Thank you for sharing your memories with us!

  5. Maris, Marla and Amanda,
    Thank you. We did have some with extra hugs. :)


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