So I was excited to see a recipe for "Simple Lemon Cake" in this month's issue of Everyday Food that made use of four whole lemons. Wow, right up my alley. I read the recipe over and thought it sounded a little involved but wanted to give it a whirl. I'm glad I did. After quite a bit of tweaking and the addition of a glaze, it came out delicious. Dense, moist crumb studded with bright yellow lemon peel and a tangy glaze that balances the bitter/sour of the lemon peel in the cake. Wow. There's something old fashioned and Depression-era about boiling down the lemons and pureeing them to use in the cake. A revelation--well to me anyway.
But what a lot of work to get there due to a poorly constructed recipe and a few of my own gaffs. I could go on for four more paragraphs about all that was wrong with the magazine's version of this recipe (which I did in an earlier version of this post and then decided just sounded too cranky). Instead, I will post the ingredients for the cake in a more logical order and with all the changes I made. I also included the recipe for the glaze I added. For the original version of the recipe, check out this month's issue of Everyday Food. Serve this alone or with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
Glazed Lemon Cake
4 lemons, sliced into 2" pieces, ends and large seeds removed
3/4 cup butter, room temp
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
2/3 cup milk or kefir (buttermilk would probably work great too)
2 cups flour (I use half wheat mix)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 Tbs lemon solution from cooking lemons (or equal amt lemon juice)Cake:
Preheat the oven to 400'.
1.) Slice the lemons, removing the ends and picking out any large seeds. Not sure if this is necessary with the seeds but I worried it would effect the taste/texture of the final puree. Better safe than sorry. There's no way to make the crunch of seeds appetizing in a cake. Plus it seems like the seeds would make it unnecessarily bitter.
5.) In a separate bowl mix the flour, salt, baking soda and powder.
6.) Add lemon mix to flour mix alternating with milk or kefir. Beat just until smooth.
7.) Now here I got annoyed because the original recipe claimed to make enough batter for one 9" cake pan. But I filled a small spring form pan 3/4 of the way and poured out six more cupcakes. You can probably get two 9" cake pans out of this or try a bundt pan.
1.) Place 1 cup confectioner's sugar in a bowl.
2.) Whisk in 1 tsp vanilla and the lemon solution 1 Tb at a time. I used 2 1/2 Tbs for my glaze. I didn't glaze the cupcakes, so if you want enough glaze for them as well, double this recipe.
3.) Prick the cake all over with a clean fork. Spread the glaze across the top of the cake, using the back of a spoon, until the glaze spills over the edge. Serve warm or cool.