kruizing with kikukat

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lemon Cake (adapted from Barefoot Contessa Lemon Cake)

The first half of this week passed by in a blur.  After going to the doctor on Monday and being told to stay out of work for the next two weeks, I decided I really need to take it easy.  I missed out on a workshop on Tuesday and will be missing out on a parent meeting tomorrow. My home is no cleaner, but I'm grateful for the resting time.  I'm also grateful for getting out of another workshop, although if it wasn't for a workshop, I would never have encountered this heavenly cake. . .

This is a cake that has been taken everywhere . . . workshops, meetings, family parties, picnics, office snack table.  Its always well-received, and its one of those dishes where someone will always ask for the recipe.  In fact, that's how I got the recipe myself nearly a decade ago.

I attended a workshop in Honolulu and someone brought it as a contribution to the snack table.  Everyone requested the recipe.  We were told it came from the Barefoot Contessa Parties! cookbook, but it could also be found on the Food Network website here.

After making the cake (original recipe) several times, I decided there were some things I wanted to "fix".  First of all, I normally buy large eggs.  My Williams-Sonoma Food Companion said for 4 eggs, it really didn't matter if it was large or extra-large, so I tried making the recipe with large eggs.  If the quality suffered, I certainly couldn't tell the difference.  The other thing that always gave me problems was the icing.  Using the original recipe made the icing too runny for my taste.  It wouldn't just sit atop the cake and ooze slowly.  It would run off and be too thin.  The taste was fine, but in terms of aesthetics, the thicker icing made for a nicer picture.  Oddly enough, the picture of the cake in the book had a thicker icing than what you'd get by following the original recipe.

Several dozen cakes later. . .

click on recipe title for printable recipe
(adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Parties! cookbook)

     1 c butter, softened
     2 1/2 c sugar, divided
     4 eggs
     1/3 c lemon zest (optional)
     3 c flour
     1/2 tsp baking powder
     1/2 tsp baking soda
     1 tsp salt
     1 c lemon juice, divided
     3/4 c buttermilk
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 c powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" pans or 5 mini loaf pans.  Line bottoms only with parchment paper.  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.   Combine 1/4 c lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.  Set aside.  Cream butter and 2 c sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time.  Add lemon zest.  Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to batter, beginning and ending with flour.  Divide batter evenly between pans, smoothing tops.  If using mini loaf pans, 3 #10 dishers goes into each pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes (40 minutes if making mini loaves) or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in pan.  While cooling, make syrup by cooking 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 c lemon juice over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Remove cakes from pans and place on a wire rack.  Spoon syrup over cakes.  Allow to cool completely.  Combine powdered sugar and 3 tbsp lemon juice in a small bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.  Pour over cakes and allow icing to drip down the sides.

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