Blogging Friends (IWSG Feb)

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Monthly Post

Insecure Writer's Support Group badge in orange; lighthouse in background.

Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. On the first Wednesday of every month we blog about writing, hoping to encourage others out there. We are all about connecting, sharing, and ‘rocking the neurotic writing world’.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!


Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG are Louise – Fundy Blue, Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon.

This month, we are exploring the following question:

Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Well, hi, Insecure Writer’s Support Group friends — I see you! 🙂

Thanks to this group, there are a core few people whom I connect with on a montly basis. It’s always lovely to come back to each others’ blogs and catch up on news, give supportive comments, and congratulations as well. A few other writers in the blogosphere come by frequently as well, which always makes me smile.

Mostly, though, I find this platform to be less interactive than my other online writing spaces. Namely, Reddit and Twitter (find me). I suppose that may be because I tend to publish stories and other work here, whereas my Twitter feed is a daily writer’s life, and Reddit is for sharing new ideas and critique partnering. That’s not to say I don’t find blogging great for relationship-building, only that it occurs much more slowly.

How do you feel about this month’s question? I’d love to hear in the comments!

In Honour of Jo Wake

The IWSG lost a great friend in December. Jo Wake (Jo on Food, Life, and a Scent of Chocolate) has passed away. Jo was a great friend of writers.

She was an avid beta reader for some and for others, she would buy our books and offer reviews and shout outs from her blog. She never considered herself a “writer” although her poems and a few short stories made their way into publication, not to mention she wrote on her blog almost daily entertaining us with her check-ins and updates. If you knew Jo, you know she was a loving wife to Matt and a busy lady who never allowed life’s hiccups to slow her down. She kept busy with her blog, her books, cooking, bowling, and the hunt for the best asparagus.

To honor Jo, the IWSG is hosting a hop on February’s IWSG posting day in Jo’s honor. If you knew Jo, we’d love to hear how she touched your life. If you didn’t know her, we’d still love to have you join our tribute and share a recipe that brings you warm memories of friendship and love.

I didn’t know Jo, but cooking with friends and loved ones is special to me. I’d like to share this recipe in her honour.

Handwritten recipe for Lemon Cake, from a scanned page.
My mother’s recipe

I’ve always loved baking. Cooking meals was something I learned at my Dad’s elbow; baking sweet treats was Mum’s forté. I learned how to make a hundred family recipes from her, and many more besides, and when I moved overseas I brought them all with me in a little notebook–and saved on a USB stick of scanned pages.

Those were the days, hey?

In the image above is my mum’s famous lemon cake recipe–a sweet and slightly sour cake that was my grandfather’s favourite. She often baked one for our visits, especially when he became too frail to make his own, also famous, apple pies. I’ve made it with orange instead of lemon as well, and when it works it’s just *chef’s kiss*.

Thanks for teaching me how to cook, Mum.

Thanks for being a wonderful Grandad, Tex Gates. Though he died four years ago this week, I think of him often. I baked this cake for him today, and for Jo, and for all those who remember loved ones over the comfort of an old memory and a familiar recipe. My kids loved it, and I told them some of my favourite stories of my grandad while we ate.

Golden brown cake with lemon peel curled on top, sitting on a silver cake circle.
My (slightly inverted) lemon cake. Image: E Gill

Below, you’ll see I’ve converted the recipe into Australian amounts, but feel free to work out US versions, too. I remember lemons being smaller in my youth in Britain, so I’d be cautious of being over-generous–unless, of course, you love lemon! Eggs, were medium-sized as well, and we had semi-skimmed milk (what we call hi-lo over here). I expect the ingredients would be easy to substitute for vegan, such as by using nut butter, alternative milk, and egg replacer, but I’m not as familiar with gluten-free flour and wouldn’t advise it with these proportions.

I made mine in a 3″ deep round cake tin. If you can, use one that’s 6″ (15cm), which will enable the centre to rise fully and a fluffier cake all round. Sorry, Mum…

Bake with friends and family if and when you can, folks. It’s one of those wonderful activities where it’s all about making something for someone else, and enjoying the end result, too.

[Edit to add: this recipe was passed on from my mother’s mother, who received it from her aunt. I’ve attributed the original family member below.]

Lemon Drizzle Cake – by Marion Keightley
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 1/3 cup caster sugar
5 tbsp milk
Grated rind of 1 lemon
2 eggs
For the icing:
2/3 cup pure icing sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1. In a large bowl, beat together butter, eggs, caster sugar, milk, and lemon rind. Add the self-raising flour and beat until smooth.
2. Transfer to a round, greased cake tin (6″ deep springform).
3. Bake in a moderate, preheated oven at 180°C / 350°F for 55 minutes until golden and cake tester comes out clean (reduce time if using a fan-oven).
4. Leave cake in the tin and prick all over the top with a fork.
5. Dissolve icing sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Spoon and/or pour over the top of the cake. Leave in the tin until cold.
6. Serve cut into generous slices.
Slice of cake with golden centre and brown crust, lemon peel curl, on a white china plate
Lemon cake slice. Image: E Gill
Header image by Image by Belinda Cave, Pixabay

Did you make this recipe, or cook anything with friends recently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! 🙂

Do have a read of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog hop to see how everyone else answered this month’s question, and for more tributes to Jo Wake.

I’d also recommend checking out Relics, Wrecks and Ruins, curated by Australian speculative fiction writer and legend, Aiki Flinthart, who sadly passed away this weekend. Profits from sales of this amazing anthology will go towards a mentorship program in her honour.

Have a safe week, everyone.

13 thoughts on “Blogging Friends (IWSG Feb)

  1. That’s sweet that you shared your mom’s cake recipe. It sounds delicious. I wish I knew how to interact more on Twitter and had the time for it. I really enjoy blogging more and have made way more friends through my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Emma,
    GREAT recipe! We love lemon cake. We can’t wait baking it tonight.
    We made some kind of friends through blogging and we started some projects with blogger friends. But as I said on another blog, friends doesn’t mean anything in social media.
    For us, it was and is great fun to start several international media projects with people we got to know through blogging.
    All the best.
    Keep well
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re right! A good, old-fashioned, glazed, lemon pound cake 😊 Thanks for coming along and visiting, too, Pat – I mean it when I say I’ve made some lovely IWSG friends! 😊


  3. Delightful lemon cake recipes!
    I’m a difficult nut to crack. I don’t make friends easily, and I always feel like people are only putting up with me rather than that my presence is actually desired. I’m that kid who gets invited to the birthday party because their parents said it would be unkind not to.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely piece and a moving surprise too! Your cake looks yummy! A smaller deeper tin does make it rise more but baking is all about having fun, experimenting with what you have and enjoying eating the end result hopefully! One of my favourite recipes too x And yes,when making one I smile as I can always hear Grandad’s voice asking if I had any lemons I should use up just before coming to see him, a subtle hint of course!

    Liked by 1 person

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