Monday, September 6, 2010

Fresh Lemon Cake

FOOD 091
I think the scent of fresh lemons is one of my favorites. Whether baking, adding to fresh pasta or even in soap, it is always lovely. This cake has a lot of steps - I seem to need and use every measuring cup I own - but is worth it in the end. Tart and sweet all at the same time. But not heavy and overpowering with lemon taste. Always a great aroma in the kitchen and always a hit at whatever party it attends.


2 sticks butter (room temperature)
2 cups sugar for the cake
3/4 cup sugar for syrup
4 large eggs (room temperature)
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (5 to 8 lemons - save these - you will need the juice)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice for the cake
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice for the syrup
3/4 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Oven to 350

Prepare the baking pans - 2 - 9inch rounds if you have(or 1 - 9inch round and 1 9inch square which is what I have) Grease and flour well or use a non-stick spray
Break the eggs into a measuring cup (or some other cup like container) Set aside. Zest and juice the lemons according to needed measurements. Pour the buttermilk into another measuring cup then add 1/4 cup lemon juice and vanilla - stir and set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and the 2 cups sugar in the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until white and fluffy - maybe 5 minutes on medium speed.  Add the eggs one at a time.  Add the lemon zest. Stop and scrape the sides of the mixer bowl with a rubber spatula and scrape the zest off the paddle. Mix another 30 seconds then turn mixer to low and add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately. Mix just until incorporated. Divide evenly between the pans and bake 40 minutes - check with a toothpick or cake tester - bake additional time as needed. Mine are usually done at 40 minutes but I know my oven runs a bit hot.

Cook 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice over low heat stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.

When the cakes are done cool for 10 minutes, cover with a plate then flip over. Cake should fall right out. I usually flip the cake again so the 'pretty' side is on the top (you can use another plate or like me, just use my left hand covered with an oven mitt then slide it back onto the original plate - and yes - there were several disasters the first few times - I learned the 10 minute cooling time is crucial)
Spoon lemon sugar syrup over cakes then allow to cool
Can keep covered with saran wrap at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.

FOOD 090

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