I can’t get enough lemon these days: lemon water, lemon pasta, lemon rice, lemon vinaigrette, and my newest recipe – lemon butter cake.
Lemon Coconut Butter Cake (gluten-free)
Makes 1 loaf
1 ½ C Cup4Cup Gluten Free flour (or use ¾C cake flour and ¾C all-purpose flour)
1 ½ C Demerara or raw sugar
½ C sour cream 2% fat, room temperature
½ C unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 ½ sticks of butter (6 oz.), room temperature
3 large eggs, room temperature
1t lemon oil (or zest from 2 lemons)
1 fresh vanilla bean
¼t baking soda
1 C confectioner’s sugar
2-3T freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ of a large lemon)
Directions: Before making this recipe, gather the eggs, measure the sour cream and butter, and allow time for them to come to room temperature.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, coconut, and baking soda. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on, combine the sugar and butter and whip until light and creamy. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise and use a knife to run down the length and scrape out the black seeds inside. Add to the bowl with the sugar and butter. Drop in the sour cream, eggs, and lemon oil (or zest) and beat for one to two minutes until light and airy. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, beating on low until combined. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, testing with a cake tester at 50 minutes. When the cake tester comes out of the cake cleanly, remove the cake from the oven. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes then invert cake and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, combine the confectioner’s sugar and fresh lemon juice. Whisk with a fork until smooth. Put your cooled cake onto your cake plate and drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake.
It’s time I started baking again. I love the comfort in baking – the precise ingredients, the blending of flavors, and oh! the aromas wafting through the house. Baking brings everyone to the kitchen. Carrot cake has that earthiness and grounding quality that warms the soul this time of year. I’ve updated my recipe with gluten-free flour (better for you if you have any inflammation in your body or are celiac) using Cup4Cup, and substituting coconut oil for organic canola oil (coconut oil is miraculous). I use less cinnamon and sugar than most carrot cake recipes because I want to taste the individual ingredients and not be overpowered by the strong taste of cinnamon and sugar.
Gluten-Free Pineapple Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
2t vanilla (I like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla)
2C shredded carrots (about 4, depending on their size)
1C crushed pineapple, drained (1 can)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and dust with flour (or use Baker’s Joy spray)a 9″ round springform pan. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, flaked coconut, currants, and pecans. Stir to combine.
In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients: beaten eggs, melted and cooled coconut oil, vanilla, shredded carrots, and pineapple. Stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour into the prepared springform pan and bake for one hour. Remove from oven, cool for 3-5 minutes and release the cake. Invert cake on a cooling rack or your cake dish. Cool completely before frosting the cake.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
4C confectioner’s sugar
1# cream cheese (two bricks), softened at room temperature
8oz. of unsalted butter (two sticks), softened at room temperature
1t vanilla extract (I like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar vanilla)
1t natural lemon flavoring
Directions: Set your mixer to high and cream the softened butter and cream cheese in a mixer until smooth and creamy with no visible butter lumps, about 5 minutes. Stop the motor to add the vanilla extract and lemon flavoring. Whip to combine. Stop motor and add two cups of the confectioner’s sugar, cover the bowl with a towel (to keep sugar from dusting your entire kitchen), turn the motor to high, and whip the confectioner’s sugar into the butter and cream cheese until completely incorporated. Stop the motor again, add the remaining two cups of confectioner’s sugar, and whip until smooth and creamy and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl if you need to. Refrigerate until ready to use. If it’s too hard to spread when it’s chilled, let it rest on the counter for fifteen minutes and then frost the cake.
Sprinkle the top with a little shredded coconut and lemon zest.
The best thing about a birthday is the cake. I’ve been searching for 20 years for the perfect cake. Why 20 years? Well, 23 years ago I hired Ruth Angorn to bake my wedding cake…then she made our daughters’ Christening cakes and then their birthday cakes until she retired and limited her cakes to only weddings. We could barely afford to go out for a fancy dinner back in those days when Todd was a new auditor at KPMG and I was home with two daughters, but we certainly splurged on good cakes. It was a sad day when I made the call to order a birthday cake and she said she was cutting back on baking. Tears were shed. Some minor hysterics ensued, but I vowed to find a replacement. I haven’t found it yet. Her cakes were magnificent. TRULY. They were as delicious as they were creative and beautiful. I haven’t had cake like that since. And I’ve tried. and tried.
Cake needs to be the perfect combination of moist crumb and delicate flavor. The icing needs to be an all-butter buttercream, but most bakeries don’t use butter because of the cost; they use shortening or a combination of butter and shortening. It’s easy to tell if your eating buttercream (100% butter) or a shortening “buttercream” frosting. yuck. The frosting is slimy and leaves a nasty coat in your mouth. Buttercream simply melts and releases flavors with each bite – real buttercream tastes sooooo much better.
Here’s a few or Ruth’s cakes she baked for us before she retired.
After some time off (years) from baking my family’s birthday cakes, I’ve decided that I’m getting back into it. Forget about finding the elusive perfect bakery cake. I’m going to make my own.
As my dad used to tell me: “If you want something done right do it yourself.”
My 45th birthday cake is Julia’ Child’s Gâteau à L’Orange à la Crème d’Orange ( Orange spongecake with orange-butter filling) from Mastering The Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck. The cream cheese icing is my old recipe. I doubled Julia Child’s gâteau recipe and baked two 9″ round cakes so that I could make a double layer cake. You can also split the cake using a serrated knife to get your layers, but the layers will be very thin. The Crème d’Orange is so delicious. It’s like lemon curd only better. You will have plenty for another cake or to plop on some scones.
Make one 9″ round cake
~ Gâteau à L’Orange Ingredients:
9″ round cake pan
⅔C + 1T sugar
4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
The grated rind of 1 orange
⅓C strained, freshly squeezed orange juice
pinches of salt
¾C cake flour (scooped and leveled, turned into a sifter)
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour the cake pan. Measure out ingredients.
Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating until the mixture thickens to form the ribbon. Add the grated orange peel, orange juice, and pinch of salt. Beat for a moment or two until mixture is light and foamy. Then beat in the flour.
Beat the egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Stir one fourth of the egg whites into the batter, delicately fold in the rest. Immediately turn into a prepared cake pan and run the batter up to the rim all around. Bake in middle position of preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed and browned, and shows a faint line of shrinkage from the edge of the mold.
Let cool for 6 to 8 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and reverse cake on a rack. If not to be iced, immediately reverse again, puffed side up. Allow to cool for an hour or two. When cake is cold, sprinkle it with powdered sugar or fill and ice the cake.
~ Crème d’Orange Ingredients:
2 egg yolks
The grated rind of 1 orange
¼C strained, freshly squeezed orange juice
1T orange liqueur
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and beat with wire whip over low heat or no-quite-simmering water until mixture thickens like honey. When it is cooking properly, the bubbles that first appeared on its surface as it is heated will begin to subside, and if you look closely you will see a little whiff of steam rise; it will be too hot for your finger. You must heat it enough to thicken, but overheating will (of course) scramble the yolks.
When ready, set saucepan in cold water and beat for 3-4 minutes until filling is cool. (8) May be refrigerated for 10 days, or may be frozen.
My note: When assembling the cake, spread the crème between the two layers but leave at least ½” from the edge of the cake or it will leak over the sides.
~ Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients:
8oz. cream cheese
4C confectioners’ sugar
6T unsalted butter
1t orange extract
In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy and the smooth. Add the orange extract , then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar, beating in between additions until smooth and creamy. Ice the cake.