A Sarcastic Appetite


Lemon Cake
July 26, 2010, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

That Ina, she does not mess around. Butter, sugar, and lemons create magical things together, and this cake is one of them. I may not eat anything else for the next three days.

Because not only does it have a stick of butter and a cup of sugar in the batter, but it also has two (2!) toppings: a syrup that gets poured on as the cake is tipped out onto the cooling rack, and a delicious glaze that gets poured over the cooled cake and hardens into sugary, lemony deliciousness. Lacking, in typical fashion, the requisite buttermilk, I instead made my own with heavy cream (since I, um, also didn’t have any skim milk) and lemon juice, and was delighted with the results. (Find out more here.)

The original recipe makes two loaf cakes, which seemed excessive…until I had a slice. Having only one loaf pan, I had to halve the recipe, though now I wish I could have tripled it.  Of course, some of the halved measurements are a little wonky. Just wing it; you’ll be fine. And just try to tell me you only had one slice when all was said and done.

Lemon Cake

Makes 1 loaf. Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa: Parties!


1 stick salted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar, divided

2 large eggs, at room temperature

zest of 3 large lemons

1 1/2 c. flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

about 1/2 c. lemon juice, divided

a heaping 1/3 c. buttermilk, at room temperature (or homemade “buttermilk”)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the glaze:

1 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted if you’re not as lazy as I am

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon juice (you should have some leftover from the 1/2 c. needed, above)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaf pan, then line with parchment. Butter and flour the parchment.

Cream the butter and 1 c. of the sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another small bowl, combine 1/8 c. lemon juice (if you have a 1/4 c. measuring cup, just eyeball half of that) with the buttermilk and vanilla extract.

Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour into the pan and smooth the top, then bake about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean.

Meanwhile, warm 1/4 c. granulated sugar and 1/4 c. lemon juice in a small saucepan, until the sugar dissolves. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack nestled in a rimmed baking sheet. Poke a bunch of holes deep into the top of the cake with a toothpick, then pour the lemon juice and sugar syrup over the cake and onto the sides, and allow to cool completely.

For the glaze, whisk together the 1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. of lemon juice with 1 c. confectioner’s sugar. If the mixture is too think, add a bit more lemon juice. Whisk until smooth, then pour over the cake and allow to drizzle down the sides. The glaze will harden as it cools. Serve with sweetened fruit, or jam, or just plain.

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