Sunday, March 9, 2008

When life hands you lemons...

...make lemon cake!

I never was much of a lemon fan when it came to desserts, or at least I thought I wasn't. That is until I took one look at Ina Garten's lemon cake. I love her show and when I saw her make that delectable lemon cake, I was smitten. I have been a lemon beleiver ever since.

The cake definately contains a healthy dose of lemons. The batter is filled with zest and lemon juice. Then after the cake comes out of the oven, a simple syrup of lemon juice and sugar is poured over the top. But wait, there's more. Once the cake has cooled, it is then topped with an icing made of fresh squeezed lemon juice and powdered sugar. It is so delicious. In fact, when this cake comes out of the oven, the edges are slightly brown and chewy and if I know that I will be the one to partake of that cake, I'll pick off the edges and eat them while they're still hot.

Today, instead of making the cake in loaf pans as the recipe says, I made them into delectable little cupcakes. I was amazed how easily the recipe went from loaf pans to the little cakes; making 24 perfect cupcakes.

Ina Garten's Lemon cake

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (6 to 8 large lemons - Use only fresh lemon juice and zest)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F*. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture's until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, (break the eggs into a dish before adding to the batter to avoid a bad egg or shells in the batter) 1 at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

3. Separately, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

4. Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, cool for 10 minutes, invert them onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides. To freeze these cakes, prepare them except the glaze. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. When you're ready to use, defrost and glaze.

note*: To make cupcakes, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Divide batter to make 24 cupcakes. Lightly bang the cupcake pans against a counter to get any air bubbles out. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Follow the steps for glazing and icing.


The Marshall Family said...

I'm not one for lemons either, but I made a lemon flavored pie last night and it was yummy! Your muffins looks very good, and so pretty!

Kristen said...

They are delicious!

tknauff said...

what is simple syrup?