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Monday, January 28, 2013

Lemon Cake with Lemony Sugar Wash

I had some heavy cream I needed to use up, so I looked for a recipe that called for a lot in something other than whipped cream (because it doesn't keep well) and found this one for a lemon pound cake.  It looked pretty easy too.  This has to mix for a LONG time -- it's important not to cut this time short because you're trying to build air into the batter.  Since I have only a hand mixer, that meant I had to stand there the whole time, which wasn't much fun.  But I've been listening to Moby Dick on line, so I had that going.

I got lazy and didn't clean off the beaters after I'd finished mixing the batter, and that's too bad because when I finally did I found most of the lemon zest wrapped around them.  The final cake wasn't very strongly lemon, and I wonder if that had an effect.

I didn't have cake flour, so I used part corn starch.  I also didn't have unsalted butter, so I used salted butter and omitted the salt in the recipe.  In the end, I think the cake could have used just a bit more salt, maybe 1/2 teaspoon.  (I think it would have brought out the lemon zip a little more.)

Here's what I used:

2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
2-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 3 cups minus 2 tablespoons unsifted, unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup unsifted bleached cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2-1/2 cups superfine sugar
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Combine the lemon peel, lemon extract, and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.Lightly spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and coat with flour, tapping out the excess.  (This makes a lot of batter so if your Bundt pan can't hold it all, put the excess batter in small ramekins and bake those as well.)  Sift the flour, corn starch, and baking powder onto a sheet of waxed paper and set aside.

Cream the butter in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 4 minutes.  Add the granulated sugar in 4 additions, beating for 1 minute after each portion is added. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat for 45 seconds. Beat in the whole eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 20 seconds after each addition to combine.  Add the egg yolks and beat for 30 seconds longer.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula. Blend in the lemon peel and extract mixture. On low speed, alternately add the sifted mixture in 3 additions with the heavy cream in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl thoroughly with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat the batter on moderately high speed for 1 minute.  Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth the top.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until risen, set, and a toothpick inserted into the cake withdraws clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes.  Loosen with a narrow spatula and invert onto a serving plate. Spoon the lemony sugar wash all over the cake, including the sides, giving time for the liquid to absorb before you spoon more over the cake. (See Conclusion.)  Cool completely.

Lemony Sugar Wash
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Spoon over warm cake.

My oven is an old O'Keefe & Merritt with only a bottom burner, which often causes a problem with bottom browning.  This cake bakes for over an hour, and while it wasn't over baked, it did turn out very brown on the bottom (which became the top.)

Conclusion:  This was good -- dense, rich, and moist.  But when I want lemon, I want LEMON, and this only hinted at it.  The wash was the best part, adding a nice tang.  I wish I had poked holes in the cake before pouring it over.

Recipe:  Lemon cake with lemony sugar wash via Stir It Up!

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