No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you! It’s a new recipe, at last! My Paleo Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake is AIP, free of gluten, dairy, nuts, soy, and eggs, and it’s full of incredible flavors, thanks to a soft lemon-infused cake, juicy blueberry filling, luscious lemon topping, and creamy coconut milk frosting! Seriously, it’s a must-try for Easter, Mother’s Day, or any occasion in between!
So, I could just talk about how good this recipe is, but so many thoughts have been swirling around in my head since my last post a month ago. In that in-between space, spring has gloriously sprung and brought out all the feels in me. You see, spring will always be a little bit bittersweet. It’s become a season that represents life, loss, and love for my family. As I’ve written in last year’s “A Celebration of Life” post, we go from celebrating my husband’s life to mourning the loss of our unborn child to being thankful for 4 years of marriage together. (Whew. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster!)
Spring is also a season of waiting. Waiting for warm weather, new buds to bloom, and green leaves to sprout. For me personally, I’m waiting for my body to be healed and my life to move forward into a new season. While I’ve started to see temperatures rise, flowers emerge, and leaves appear, I’m still awaiting the day of restoration from autoimmune thyroid, hormone, and gut issues. I was hoping that by now, I’d be writing about being totally renewed. Instead, I’m still doing tests, waiting for results, and experimenting with supplements and nutrition. I’m learning the lesson that I can’t always fix my problems the way I would like to – quickly and painlessly! And so I wait. And hope. And wait some more.
In fact, waiting seems to be a recurring theme in my life right now. So, today, I’m sharing both my Paleo Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake recipe that is worth waiting for, as well as a few thoughts on what God is teaching me about waiting. Maybe you’re in a similar season of waiting and need some encouragement. Or maybe you know someone else who does. OR, maybe you’re just here for the cake, which is more than fine by me! 🙂 Either way, I hope this post leaves both your heart and your tastebuds in a happier place.
Waiting is Never Wasted
“So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’ Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” ~John 11:3-7 (emphasis mine)
The story of Lazarus is one you might have heard many times. Lazarus, Jesus’s close friend is sick and dies before Jesus arrives to heal him. Instead, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead in front of many witnesses. A true and amazing miracle.
But the part of the story that never really hit me until this point in my life is the fact that when Jesus heard about Lazarus being sick, he intentionally waited two whole days before going to see him. Weird, right? I’m sure Mary and Martha, Lazarus’s sisters, didn’t feel like the waiting was a good thing. Quite the contrary, as they had to grieve over their deceased brother and wonder why Jesus seemed to abandon them.
However, their waiting and suffering was not wasted. While Jesus could have healed Lazarus immediately, which would have been good, he had a plan that was far better. Jesus loved his dear friends so much that he allowed them to wait, suffer, and mourn in his absence. And then when he came, he met them in their anguish. He wept alongside them. And then he displayed his power and glory for them all to witness and gave Lazarus new life. As a result of the waiting, Mary and Martha grew in their faith. They experienced firsthand that Jesus was the true Messiah and Savior. And many others who didn’t believe in Jesus before this miracle now also put their faith in him.
Like Mary and Martha, who questioned why Jesus didn’t come to their rescue immediately, I also wonder the same thing in my own life. The waiting can feel cruel, like a punishment. But then after reading this passage, I’m reminded that Jesus makes us wait because he loves us so much.
Waiting in hard seasons doesn’t mean that our lives lack purpose. In fact, the waiting itself can be purposeful. Maybe it’s an opportunity to allow for rest and reflection. Maybe it allows you to strengthen relationships with people around you. Or maybe you try something new and different while you wait. For me, my waiting season led me to start Fed and Fulfilled. I can say with certainty that the blog would not exist if my life had gone exactly as I had planned. The blog was something unexpected and good, as it has pushed me, challenged me, and inspired me in so many ways.
Waiting Helps Us Grow
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ~2 Peter 3:9
Since waiting is never wasted, one of the results of waiting can be personal growth. God cares about us too much to leave us just as we are, so He allows us to go through periods of waiting so that we can grow in character, compassion, and faith.
It’s amazing how waiting for something can reveal a lot about our character. Before my current season of waiting, I did whatever it took to make plans, be in control, and get what I wanted out of life. And while many of us feel like we know what’s best for our lives, if we got everything we wanted, in the way we wanted, at the time we wanted, we would be so incredibly spoiled! Waiting humbles us and makes us realize that we are not in control of our lives (thank goodness). It also makes us appreciate the things we wait for much more than if we were to get them immediately. And it teaches us the hard lesson of patience and having a good attitude rather than throwing a tantrum. All of these things build character in us.
I feel like difficult periods of waiting can also really open our eyes to others who are suffering around us. Not only have I become more aware of others who are also going through tough times, but I want to do something about it. More than ever before, I want to reach out, serve, and encourage them. It’s amazing how waiting through trials can fill us with more compassion and empathy than if we breezed through life without a care in the world. I’m praying that even if my own waiting period ends, I’ll always remember what it felt like to be in that hard place and know how to respond and help others through it, too.
Like the verse in 2 Peter says, the Lord is patient with us, wanting everyone to come to repentance. When we constantly get what we want without waiting, we start to rely more on ourselves and our own strength than on God. If this life was easy, comfortable, and totally fulfilling, we would have no need for a Savior. And ultimately, we’d end up totally separated from God. Thankfully, God loves us so much that He allows us to go through difficult circumstances, far beyond our control, so that we look to Him for strength and fulfillment. Sometimes we have to be at our weakest point to realize that the Creator, not the creation, is what we should be seeking. And when we wait and rely on Him, we can grow and mature in our faith.
And like one of my church’s pastors says often, “Even if God doesn’t change your circumstances, He can change YOU in those circumstances.“ My prayer is that the waiting will truly change me for the better.
Good Things Come to Those Who Wait…and Seek the Lord
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” ~Lamentations 3:25
Whenever I hear the phrase, “Good things come to those who wait,” I feel like it’s missing something. It sounds like if we wait long enough, all our dreams will come true. Which we know is not the case. Instead, I prefer the verse in Lamentations. Good things come to those who wait for the Lord, who are seeking Him and His will above their own. (Not that it’s an easy task!)
Often, our hearts’ desires – the “good things” that we wait for- might not be the best things for us. Of course, it would appear to most of us that someone who is sick and suffering should be healed. That the healing is the ultimate “good thing.” But God’s will and purpose in our lives doesn’t always mean the easiest and most comfortable path. And the good things that God has us waiting for might be very different from what we expect.
A perfect example of this is the Easter story. Jesus’s followers had been waiting for a triumphant king to save them from oppression. They certainly didn’t imagine that their Savior would be a humble servant, a man of sorrows, one who didn’t fit the “kingly” description they were looking for. Jesus’s own people were so blinded by what they wanted (like we all are), that they sent him to the cross. And his death probably seemed final, since there were three dark days of waiting in between Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. When Jesus appeared to his disciples as their risen Lord and Savior, they realized that Jesus was far better than any earthly king they could have ever imagined! He was truly the Son of God.
And just like the resurrected Jesus appeared to his disciples, so he will one day appear to all of us, ridding the world of sin, death, crying, and pain. We know he is coming, but we don’t know when. For now, we just have to wait and make ourselves ready. And if we put our hope, faith, and trust in Jesus, we will have an eternity with him to look forward to. One that will make all of the earthly things we desire pale in comparison! So, keep waiting and seeking the Lord, knowing that good things, or rather, the BEST things, are yet to come.
And speaking of good things, how about this new recipe?! The wait is over for my Paleo Lemon Blueberry Layer Cake! I won’t bore you with the details, since I’ve crammed enough words into one blog post! What I WILL say is that this cake is just divine, whether you’re Paleo or not. It’s amazing that an egg-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free cake can turn out so well and be so full of flavor!
My only note that I’ll highlight here is that you don’t want to make this cake on the day you serve it. There are many components (all of which are simple to make) and they should have some time to cool and set up for several hours or overnight. I know, I know – more waiting! But if you prepare everything in advance, putting the cake together is a breeze!
- 1.5 cups arrowroot starch
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1-14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted
- ½ cup applesauce
- ⅓ cup raw honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (dusted in 1 tablespoon arrowroot)
- 1-10 ounce package frozen blueberries
- ½ can full-fat coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- 2 tablespoons raw honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
- ½ can full-fat coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons raw honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 2 cans full-fat coconut cream
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9'' inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each with a circle of parchment. Grease parchment paper, as well.
- Mix dry ingredients for cake in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, mix wet ingredients, reserving the lemon juice, lemon zest, and fresh blueberries. Combine wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then add lemon juice, zest, and blueberries dusted in arrowroot starch. Stir gently, then divide batter between cake pans.
- Bake cake layers for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10-15 minutes, then carefully flip out layers onto cooling racks. Cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make blueberry topping by combining blueberries, coconut milk, and honey in a small saucepan on medium low heat. Whisk in arrowroot starch and cook for 10-15 minutes, until mixture thickens. Stir in lemon juice last. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled.
- Make lemon topping by whisking together the lemon juice, coconut milk, honey, and arrowroot starch in a small saucepan over medium/low heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until thickened. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled.
- For the frosting, whip the two cans of coconut cream in a stand mixer. (Don't use the coconut water that may be at the bottom of the can.) Add in the maple syrup and whip again until you have a creamy frosting. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- To assemble: Place one cake layer down on a serving plate. Spread blueberry filling over entire layer. Top with second cake layer. Frost the outside of the cake with the coconut cream frosting, piling it high on the top edges, but leaving the center bare. Fill in the center top portion of cake with the lemon topping. Decorate with fresh blueberries. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.