Monday, February 8, 2010

Lemon cake

IMG_0201 by you.

This is one of the very first recipes that I came up with totally on my own, from scratch.  I'm not generally one to brag, but I will say that this cake usually earns raves whenever I make it.  It was inspired by the store-bought packages of sliced lemon cake my brother and I used to eat as a kid.  That stuff was a frightening shade of neon yellow but it was super lemony and I don't think I've had a cake since that had the same intense lemon flavor (although I'm sure if I went back home and ate it now, I'd find it nasty).

There was a lot of trial and error involved in coming up with this recipe, and I still tweak it from time to time, especially if I don't have all the ingredients I need on hand.   You always hear a lot about how baking is a science and requires precision.  Well, that's only really half-true.  Sure, there are certain formulas that generally need to be followed, but I think that once you know the basic rules of how ingredients interact, it's much easier to experiment. 

I usually let my daughter help me measure and pour in ingredients, which sometimes leads to unintended variations.  This time, she spilled most of an egg white on the counter but still managed to get the yolk into the mixer bowl.  I was actually quite pleased with how it turned out, so here is the version we made. ;)

1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk
1 lemon, zested & juiced (1/8-1/4 c)
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c. milk*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a bundt pan with butter or spray oil.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In the bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and mix till combined.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest and lemon extract.

4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk in 2-3 parts, each time mixing until just barely combined.  Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl to make sure everything has been incorporated.  Add lemon juice and stir to combine.  The batter may look a little curdled, but that's ok.

5. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.  Cool in pan for about 15-minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

6.  Drizzle with lemon glaze (recipe below) and serve.

Lemon glaze:
In small bowl, combine 3/4 c. powdered sugar and 2-3 Tbsp of lemon juice.  Whisk until there are no lumps.  Glaze should be about the consistency of syrup.  To thicken, add more powdered sugar.  To thin, add water a few drops at a time until it reaches desired consistency.

*I normally prefer to use whole milk when baking, or sometimes half & half or heavy cream.  I've even used sour cream for this recipe when I've been in a pinch.  I didn't have any of those on hand this time, so I just used good old skim milk.

1 comment:

  1. Your cake looks so pretty! I love lemon cakes, there is just something about them!!