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Tag Archives: lemon

Lemon Coconut Cake

30 Jan

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I opened a kitchen cabinet last week and was met with the most aromatic blast of coconut imaginable. It was like I had stuffed my entire face into a bag of freshly shaved coconut. Being me, the first place my mind went upon being bombarded with the scent of coconut was not to Hawaii, but to cake. What can I say? I like what I like (which is not to say that I do not like Hawaii—because I do, very much—but more to say that, when it comes to what I can make happen ASAP to satisfy my needs, making a cake lands far, far ahead in the realm of plausibility than making a spontaneous trip to Hawaii).

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Because, as we know, I like making cakes, I tend to have a lot of documentation of many, many cakes. After a while, however, though the cakes I make are mostly new affairs that I test out in the name of promised deliciousness, I have noticed that many of the cakes I make tend to look fairly indistinguishable from one another. Observe:

This ginger cardamom cake:

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looks a lot like this rum cake:

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which looks pretty much identical to our current lemon coconut cake:

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Oh, don’t get me wrong. The cakes may look the same, but their tastes are anything but the same. That ginger cardamom cake is a blast of spiciness and subtle cardamom, while the rum cake is boozy enough to make you feel a little flushed after eating it. But how boring is it to show you all pictures of what appear to be the same golden cake, time after time again? It’s super boring, I admit. The good thing is, this cake may look like just a plain old bundt cake, but, like the cakes that came before it, there is nothing plain about it.

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With coconut milk taking the place of regular milk, an added hit of shredded coconut, and a double burst of both lemon zest and fresh lemon juice, this cake is totally worth sharing with you. In fact, it would be a crime not to let you know about it. That initial inspiration provided by the coconut shines through like a tropical dream, and the punch of lemon, plumped up just a tad by the addition of a light lemon glaze, makes for a perfect pairing. Though not a traditional pound cake in the sense that the ratios of flour, butter, eggs and sugar do not line up equally, the crumb of this cake is very much in the realm of a pound cake, with a dense, moist crumb, and the unmistakable flavor undertone of rich butter. It may look like a plain, innocent bundt cake, but don’t be fooled. This cake had got kick, and it wants to be heard. I mean tasted. You know.

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Last Year: Apple Cinnamon Crumb Bread (this may be called a bread, but, come on, it’s a cake in a bread tin) and Grilled Lemongrass Chicken

Lemon Coconut Cake

2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup coconut milk

Lemon Glaze:

1/3 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

drop of pure vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease and flour a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on medium-high speed until soft and fluffy. Grandually add in sugar and continue to beat on medium high speed until mixture is fluffy and light. Reduce mixer speed to medium, and add in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl in between each egg. Beat in vanilla. Beat in lemon zest, shredded coconut, and lemon juice, and mix until just combined.

Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl, then add in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by ½ of the coconut milk. Mix until barely combined, then add in ½ of remaining flour mixture, barely mixing to combine, then rest of coconut milk. Add in remaining flour, beating until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl one last time, and gently fold the batter two or three times, just to incorporate any unmixed bits of flour.

Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, then bake in center of oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the cake emerges with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

While cake is cooling, prepare glaze. In a small bowl, combine all glaze ingredients and whisk to combine thoroughly. Whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until powdered sugar has lost some of its graininess.

While the cake is still warm, gently brush on glaze, covering as much of the surface of the cake as possible.

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Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

17 Sep

How many pancake recipes does one person really need to have? If I were to nail things down to their very basic elements, maybe my answer would be that a person only needs one single pancake recipe, that recipe being this one, which never fails to produce the most perfect pancakes every single time. Then again, if you’re in the mood for a slightly more health-conscious pancake, a pancake fortified with multiple grains, no refined sugar, and no saturated fat, perhaps you’d prefer to only have on hand a recipe like this one, a multi-grain blueberry pancake that never fails to please. Would that be all? Does anyone really need anything else in the way of pancakes?

Having just made these unbelievably wonderful lemon pancakes, my answer would definitely have to be a resounding yes. Dear lord, yes. Intensely lemony, perfectly light, and punched up with the brightest blueberry sauce you can imagine, these pancakes are giving my previous standbys a run for their money.

Of course, these pancakes satisfy a different element of pancake worthiness. Whereas the pancakes I usually favor are a simple affair that are comprised of standard pantry and refrigerator staples, these pancakes are a slightly fancier endeavor. Loads of lemon zest, a good dose of yogurt, and fluffy egg whites make these pancakes a special treat, something with the taste characteristics of a lemony muffin, but with a heavenly lightness. Their front and center lemon flavor just begs to be paired with a fresh dose of berries, so I complied by topping everything off with a dead-simple berry sauce that brings out all the right notes of what just might be my new Saturday morning breakfast treat. These are pancakes, stepped up, and you definitely don’t want to miss out.

Last Year: Black Pepper Buttermilk Biscuits

Lemon Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce Recipe

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup plain yogurt

1/3 cup milk

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted then cooled slightly

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, separated

1 large egg white

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, melted butter,  vanilla, and 1 egg yolk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and gently whisk together until just barely combined.

Now would be a good time to start heating a cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet over low heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk the 2 egg whites together until they form soft peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter, mixing until just combined.

In a skillet that has been preheated over low heat (if you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, you should not have to oil it prior to cooking the pancakes, but if your skillet tends to allow food to stick, very lightly oil the skillet with a tiny bit of vegetable oil), drop batter ¼-cup at a time, onto the skillet. Cook pancakes on one side until they have risen a bit and appear somewhat dry at the edges, with numerous deflating bubbles on the surface (this can take anywhere from 2-5 minutes for the first batch of pancakes). Flip pancakes over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove cooked pancakes to individual plates to be covered with berry sauce and eaten immediately, or place pancakes on a wire rack set on a baking sheet, then keep pancakes warm in a 200-degree oven until you are ready to serve them. In any case, eat the pancakes as soon as possible, for maximum deliciousness.

Blueberry Sauce

3 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen are both fine

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the fruit just softens, roughly five minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor and puree until about half of the mixture is blended into a liquid and the other half remains slightly chunky.  If you are not a fan of textured sauce, feel free to puree the sauce until it is completely smooth, or until your desired texture has been reached. I wanted a super textured sauce, so I hardly pureed this batch at all.

Lemon, Almond, and Cornmeal Cake

23 Apr

For a while there, we were eating a lot of cake.  I brought this up a few weeks ago, but it bears repeating because, after I brought it up the first time, we continued to eat cake, and lots of it.  It’s not like we were just sitting around while stuffing cake in our mouths (at least, we mostly weren’t doing that).  There were dinner parties and birthdays and then, um, Cake Tuesdays, which is not a real thing but now that I’ve mentioned it right here, I sort of want to make it a real thing.  The point is, a lot of cake was made, and a lot of cake was enjoyed.

Most of the cakes I made over the past few weeks were old favorites.  This dark chocolate zucchini cake and this butter cake made appearances (the butter cake is an old standby of mine, but that blood orange curd was a new addition and, boy howdy, was it a fantastic one), as did a newly conceived cupcake.  Another new addition to my baking repertoire was this lovely number from Nigella Lawson and, though I hesitate to play favorites when it comes to cake, I think I might have found a new best friend.  Not Lawson (lovely as she is).  The cake.

With a base of both almond meal and cornmeal, this cake’s structure is just a delight.  It’s crumbly but moist, and the slight bite of the cornmeal adds a little something special.  Once the entire thing is soaked, whilst still warm, with an intensely lemony syrup, that little something special magically becomes a whole lot of something special, and I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t totally consumed by this cake (while I simultaneously consumed it, as it were).  Like I said, I don’t want to hurt any other cake’s feelings by declaring favorites, but this is a cake you definitely want to get to know.  Perhaps with a few friends, a pot of coffee, and a lazy afternoon of chit chat, because if you truly love your friends, you’re going to want to get them in on this cake as well.

Last year: Yeasted Buttermilk Biscuits

Lemon, Almond, and Cornmeal Cake Recipe

Adapted from Nigella Kitchen, by Nigella Lawson

I’ve made a few changes to this cake in both ingredients and process, mostly notably in the form of reducing the sugar in both the cake and the syrup. By reducing the sugar in the syrup topping, but not reducing the lemon juice (and then adding a bit of zest to the mix), you get a clearer, brisker lemon topping that just makes this cake a total showstopper. There are a couple more tweaks here and there, but I’d still say this cake is definitely Nigella Lawson’s and not mine.

2/3 cup granulated sugar

zest of 2 large lemons

1 ¾ sticks (14 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature (plus a tad more for greasing the pan)

2 cups almond meal or almond flour

¾ cup finely ground cornmeal

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

3 large eggs, at room temperature

For the Syrup:

Juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sugar and lemon zest and process until the sugar is finely ground and the lemon zest is incorporated.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest with the butter.  Beat together until pale and whipped.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, cornmeal, and baking powder.  With the mixer still mixing, add 1/3 of the almond mixture to the butter, followed by 1 egg.  Continue beating in the remaining almond mixture and eggs in this fashion, adding one after the other.  When the last egg has been added, beat the batter until everything is fully incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.  The cake will be done when the edges begin to shrink away from the sides of the pan.  The middle of the cake will appear a bit underdone, but a cake tester inserted into the middle should come out marginally clean with several moist crumbs still attached.  Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool, leaving the cake in the pan.

To make the syrup, gently boil together the lemon juice, lemon zest, confectioner’s sugar, stirring all the while, until the sugar has completely dissolved into the juice.  Prick the top of the still-warm cake all over with a toothpick or cake tester, then spoon the warm syrup all over the cake.  Allow the cake to cool almost completely before taking it out of its pan.  (Lawson recommends allowing the cake to cool completely, but I found this cake to be even more fabulous when served just barely warm.  You definitely don’t want to serve this cake while it is hot, but anything just a few degrees warmer than room temperature is perfect, I think.)

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