The Passive-Aggressive Recipe

By: Elizabeth Bastos


For Meyer Lemon cake:

3 cups cake flour, double sifted through fine mesh (pretend like you even care).
2 cups granulated sugar
The juice and rind of 3 Meyer lemons
Whatever milk you have on hand, in whatever amount

For Lavender cream:

3 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup crushed organic lavender buds, from the garden
What? Everybody has an organic herb garden. Your neighbors Brad and Nancy have one. And they’re very busy, successful cardiologists.

Equipment: One 8-inch springform pan
But if you have a 7-inch or a 9-inch, things might still be possible.
Sure, if you clap your hands and believe in fairies.

Garnish: confectioner’s sugar, but really, the whole idea of garnishing anything is exhausting.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the springform pan.

Double sifting is just a suggestion. I’m sorry I asked, actually.

I just wanted your “Light Meyer Lemon Cake” to be the best, and I made the mistake of thinking that you did too.

I guess you’re not really a serious a home baker, though I’ve heard you many times at cocktail parties bragging about your “canapés.”

When you say there were no Meyer lemons at the green market and have substituted regular lemons, I say that your social anxiety got the better of you. Meyer lemons are available to those who have courage.

Eleanor Roosevelt would have come home with the right kind of lemons, I’m just saying. You have several magnets with quotes from her on your fridge; I incorrectly assumed she was some kind of hero to you.

Use the balloon whisk on them. BEAT THEM. What you’re doing looks more like coddling the eggs.

I’m sorry. You’re overworked as it is; with the kids…do what you want with the eggs. Don’t even bother separating them, if it’s too much work: you have congenitally thin, delicate wrists.

Since when were delicate wrists a medical condition? If you don’t separate the eggs, you bring shame to your grandmother’s apron and to Ruth Reichl. You called her “goddess” on your infrequently updated little food blog. It had a really cute little name, Sugar Buns? No. Baby Cakes? That wasn’t it? No?

I specifically called for parchment paper and you don’t have parchment paper, let me ask you something: is everything all right in your marriage?

Oh, my goodness, I’m sorry. I was way too personal. I got worked up about the parchment paper and it was thoughtless of me. You of all people don’t need the stress of specialty baking items: you’ve achieved this much without many of the most important ones.

There, there. Why don’t you just bag cooking from scratch? Go take a nice hot bath.


Idiot! Idiot! Idiot! Like there isn’t much difference between fresh homemade cake and the frozen square of Pepperidge Farm, shipped in from North Jersey, with lots of preservatives that might give your kids tumors. What kind of mother are you? Get yourself together and get in the kitchen.

But when I say scant teaspoon of vanilla, what I mean is we’re friends, right? No hard feelings: you go ahead and decide how much vanilla, sweetie.

Serves: 1-18, depending on how you slice it.


2 thoughts on “The Passive-Aggressive Recipe

  1. As if the title wasn’t enough, when I got to the part about sifting the flour: “as if you even CARE”. This was such a find on a cold day after gum surgery and feeling sorry for myself. THANK YOU FOR BEING A WRITER.

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