From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've been baking today. Like many of you, the Silver Fox and I will be attending an Academy Award party on Sunday and I've been asked to bring an appetizer and dessert. For all the baking I do, I have never made the Lemon Loaf Cake that Patricia Wells featured in her book Bistro Cooking. I thought this would be a perfect cake to tote with us, but while I was at it, I decided to also make Dorie Greenspan's s version of a similar cake. I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison of the two. The cakes are not identical to each other, so each will be featured in a separate post. First up, will be Patricia Wells' Cake Au Citron, This lemon cake is intensely flavored and has a texture that makes is hard to categorize. It is most like a pound cake, though it is lighter and more finely textured. The cake is very easy to make and requires no special equipment. It is almost foolproof. Almost. Like all pound-type cakes it is prone to "sad streaks". A sad streak is a gummy layer that sometimes appears toward the bottom of a pound cake. I'm sure you have encountered them at one time or another in your baking. Their appearance does not mean there is a problem with the recipe. You can bake a hundred beautiful cakes using the same recipe, then suddenly encounter one that has that damp and gummy sad streak. It probably is related to cake shrinkage and some bakers go so far as to drop or bounce their cakes to set the crumb and prevent shrinkage. I'm not that brave. I'd rather live with an occasional gummy streak than deliberately drop a cake. I mention the streaks because one of the two cakes I baked using this recipe had the gummy streak in it while the other was perfect. Quite vexing. At any rate, this is a delicious cake to make for lemon lovers in your life. Its flavor is intense and, while it is wonderful as a standalone dessert, it would also make a fabulous base for a fruit compote or trifle. The cake keeps well and improves in flavor as it ages. Needless-to-say, it would be wonderful to serve with afternoon tea. Lemon lovers will really enjoy this cake. Here is how it is made.
Lemon Loaf Cake - Cake Au Citron...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Patricia Wells and Bistro Cooking
2-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 large eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Grated zest of 4 medium lemons
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9” loaf pans.
2) Combine flour and baking powder and set aside.
3) Combine eggs and sugar in an electric mixer and mix until well blended. With mixer at slow speed, slowly add, in this order: creme fraiche, flour mixture, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Beat until very smooth.
4) Divide batter between prepared loaf pans. Place pans in center of oven and bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about one hour. I suggest checking after 50 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Let sit for 10 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack. Turn upright and let sit until cool. Cut into thin slices. Yield: 2 cakes.
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