Thursday, April 14, 2011

On Craving Lemon Cake

The essential question is, really, how much lemon loaf is too much? Bear in mind that it sits, moist and golden, drizzled with its sweet|tart juice on my kitchen counter, wrapped in a glimmering robe of silver paper.  I push it away to the furthest point from me, next to the knives, snuggling up to the oven.  I put a loaf of Swedish seed bread in front of it, a brown take-away container filled with a pop tart from Fred62, procured after a three-hour hike, when it felt deserved.  A small army of mugs barricade it in, but still the light catches on it and I see a glint of metal beckoning me.

What confounded gluttony is this?
Oh, Barefoot Contessa, is this an evil conspiracy? Is this your payback for the bad press on the Make-A-Wish Foundation kid?

Lemon loaf. You are perfect. You are sweet but sour. You are sugary and buttery but solid and homely.  All you need is a red & white checked tablecloth and you're screaming apple pie and Heavens to Betsy and the Star-Spangled Banner and the twinkling lights of the White House in the room-sized model on display at the Reagan Library for One Week Only at Christmas time.  You're Howdy-Doody and Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio and Simon & Garfunkel. Hell, you're the Greyhound bus.

And then there's loyalty and family ties. 

It is important as a parent to support one's children's culinary adventures, even if the sacrifice one has to make, resolutely, quietly, with great personal restraint, and for the good of mankind, is to shove great wodges of Lemony Goodness into one's mouth.

Teenagers are precious. And oh so delicate.  New-grown daffodils each and and every one. Pushing their way through the dirt into this corrupt world.  We need to love them. To nurture them.  To hold their little pink hands and Show Them The Way.

And eat their lemon loaf cake.

Don't you hate waste? Isn't that -- along with crystal meth -- the undoing of the fabric of society? Does lemon loaf give you bad skin, an itching problem, make your teeth drop out, create a criminal out of you? Does it? No sir, it does not.

Ladies and Gentleman, Ina Garten's Lemon Loaf Cake as made by Miss Minky:


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

*For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
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.
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 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
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 or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

*Minky left out the glaze stage which cuts down on the sweetness factor. Either is good, according to your taste.


kathycastro said...

I love that recipe. The best thing about it is that it makes TWO. It is also good as an orange cake. x

Sensible Footwear said...

I am now craving a slice or three of this delicious looking cake.

Marvellous post!

Diane said...

Boy, my mouth is watering. Just might have to try this recipe!

Miss Whistle said...

Kathy, you are correct and I just know I shall try it with orange. Too yum for words!

Dear SF, let me know when you try the recipe. Hope it goes well!

Thank you Diane!

Love, Miss W x

Crystal said...

i am ready to trade my Meth Mouth for Loaf Mouth...