Anyone who works in a school, specifically a Barrington Public School, knows that the indispensable champions, the truly unsung heroes, are the custodians. They keep our environment tidy and livable. When teachers and students come in any morning, the trash is emptied, the floors are swept, and the toilets are clean. How many times a day do I call on John (or Johnny, Tim, Joe, or John) to adjust someone’s heat, or investigate a weird smell, or restock paper towels, or clean up a coffee spill (don’t even get me started about the giant coffees students suck down, or spill, all day at the high school). Worse, whenever someone vomits and doesn’t make it to a toilet. Even worse, when the occasional subhuman decides to take a dump on the floor instead of where it belongs (yes, it happens. Not often. ). Bloody nose dripped on the floor? Call a custodian. No paper in the copy room? Call a custodian. Bees in the ceiling? Roof is leaking? Fruit flies in the office? Your key got stuck in the door? Yup, call a custodian. And no matter how busy they are, when I call and ask for something, they provide it within minutes.
In addition, these gentleman (and they are gentlemen, courteous and helpful, to a man) work all summer in a building that is mostly not air-conditioned. You think you’re hot in a classroom in June? Imagine being in that same classroom in July, moving furniture, stripping and waxing the floors (four coats!), and moving all the furniture back. They get all this done before most of the staff set foot in the building (too soon!), and they greet all the returning teachers with a smile. How many of us could do the work they do and be as gracious as they are?
So this is a big THANK YOU shout-out to the custodians of Barrington High School. I made you this lemon pound cake. And I hope whoever reads this will think about, and thank, the people who keep their workspace clean, tidy, and stocked.
Lemon Pound Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon melted
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of two lemons, about 2 tablespoons, plus more to decorate if desired
- Juice of three lemons, divided
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 11/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 325º. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, powder, and salt, and set aside.
Cream 1 cup butter and sugar together and blend at medium speed for about a minute. Add the lemon zest and 4 tablespoons juice, and mix. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Alternate adding the sour cream and flour, half of each at a time, mixing well after the cream and until just incorporated after the flour. Spoon batter into prepared pan, and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove to a rack for a few minutes, then turn onto a cake plate.
Glaze: While the cake is cooling, whisk together 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Brush the glaze onto the cake while it is still warm, adding more when it is absorbed. Top with fresh lemon zest.
Cake is best served the day after making it, but I can’t usually wait that long.