Friday, April 15, 2011

Recipe Makeover: Glazed Lemon Cake

Lemons make me happy.

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)
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.
2.) Boil the lemons in water and a pinch of salt, 15 minutes, or until soft.
3.) Drain the liquid and set it aside for use in the glaze and to make lemonade.
4.) Cut butter into 1" pats and add to food processor with vanilla. Pour in cooked lemons. Pulse until smooth. Add eggs and yolks. At this stage it will look like this. If you missed any seeds, now's a good time to spoon through the batter and remove any husky feeling pieces
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.
 8.) Bake the cupcakes (if you make them) for 15-18 minutes and the cake for about 35-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Remove from 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.


  1. I made this today and it turned out so dense it doesn't even look like cake! I am pretty sure I got all the measurements right, although I did not 'spoon and level' the flour.

    I looked up the recipe on Everyday Food's website to see if there were comments about it and saw that it was different than what was printed in the magazine!

    I see that you and the website recipe added baking soda in addition to baking powder. Would that have made the difference?

    The glaze looks like a delicious addition. My lemon water didn't seem that appetizing-it felt slimy...

  2. Hey Virginia: Thanks for giving the recipe a try. I went on the EF Website to check out the recipe and it's completely different than the magazine version! I'd be interested to try the Web version and see how it comes out. The cake is more dense than your usual cake but should have been really moist. One reason my cake might have been less dense is that I used a pretty well fermented kefir. That and the baking soda would have made a big difference. I hope it was at least edible for you!

  3. I LOVE lemon!! This cake looks fantastic.

    Also it's perfect for this week's Sharing Sundays theme YELLOW! We would love it if you would come by and link up this recipe and any other Yellow ingredient recipes (banana, pineapple, Lemon, Eggs, Squash etc.)

    We hope to see you there!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...