Matt heard from our friend/his bandmate Chris that they were making a cake the other night to accompany a cookout. Matt requested I make a cake here. What kind? I asked. He thought lemon with chocolate frosting would be lovely. I thought it would be weird. I was wrong. He thought I'd whip up a cake mix out of the box. I spent 2 1/2 hours making it from scratch. He was wrong. But it's okay, because now we have a yummy delicious cake that I gently adapted from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa).
That Ina fascinates me. I've only seen 5 minutes of her TV show here and there, at the dentist office or while dozing at home. But she's so fun! I think it's because all of her food looks really tasty and her "no fuss, no stress" attitude makes the dishes look createable in our own kitchens at home. So I tried making her lemon cake. This one's delicious and unique because you basically pour a lemon simple syrup over the lemon cake, making it very moist for days and adding a lemon punch in every bite. If you like lemon, use the 6 lemons she calls for. I do love the lemon, but I think I'll scale it back to 4 next time to lessen the tang. Here goes.
Super Lemon Cake
Makes 2 rounds or 2 loavesgently adapted from Ina Garten
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (or 1 stick butter + 1 stick margarine)
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
- 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 vanilla extract
1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. (I used one loaf and one 8 inch round), lining the bottom of the pans with parchment paper (optional).Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
2: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 35--45 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
3: Combine 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, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray. Spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
|See the puddle of lemon syrup on the plate? The cake will soak this up within an hour.|
For the frosting...
I used another simple recipe that I found in an old cookbook of my grandmother's. It is not at all healthy, but this is a special occasion cake anyhow.
Creamy Fudge Frosting
makes 3 cups of frosting, or plenty for two round cakes or two loaves
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 stick of softened butter
4 tablespoons whipped topping (like Cool Whip, but you can use heavy cream, too)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1: In a medium bowl, sift the sugar and cocoa powder.
2: In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of sugar/cocoa mixture, along with 1 TB of Cool Whip. Whip until smooth. Repeat process, adding 1 more cup of sugar mixture with 1 TB of Cool Whip. Repeat one last time, making sure all ingredients are smooth and creamy.
3: Spread on cake with a spatula or dull knife.
So, there you have it, the lemon cake with fudge frosting that sounded kinda weird but tasted pretty great. Happy baking and happier eating!*If you wanted to mix up the lemon cake with a simple glaze or vanilla frosting, I would add 2 TB of chopped mint or rosemary to the batter for a little pizazz.