Monday, February 25, 2013
Theme and Variation - Another Lemon Loaf Cake
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is the other lemon cake I experimented with for the party this weekend. This cake, developed by Dorie Greenspan, is a kissin' cousin to the one that was introduced by Patricia Wells. The cakes use almost the same ingredients, but they produce very different results. The Wells' cake has an intense lemon flavor and a fine tight crumb. The Greenspan cake is more like a standard pound cake that has been enhanced with lemon zest. I've been asked to pick a favorite and I'm going to field the question because this is an instance where personal taste will dictate choice. I suspect that true lemon lovers will be more inclined to the Wells' cake, but I have a hunch that the Greenspan cake will be more popular with dessert lovers who are not lemon fanatics. Both cakes are nice. I've appended a lemon syrup to tonight's recipe. While the cake is lovely without it, it adds a tart sweetness that makes a somewhat ordinary cake special. This cake is a study in simplicity. It can be made by hand with no special equipment other than a whisk, but you will have better results if you use cake flour to make it and carefully watch your baking time. Don't over bake! I also learned a trick while gathering information about poundcakes in general. Did you know that you can guarantee a perfect crack in the center of your poundcake? The trick is to draw a butter coated knife lengthwise through the center of the cake after it has baked for 10 minutes. Now, I don't know why that works, but I tried it with this cake and had ended up with a lovely center split that would make any baker proud. I hope you'll give this cake a try. There is nothing here not to like. Here is the recipe.
Dorie Greenspan's Lemon Loaf Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Dorie Greenspan
4 eggs, at room temperature
1-1/3 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
Grated zest of 3 large lemons
1-3/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
5-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1) Position a rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess.
2) Working in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and salt for just a minute, until foamy and smoothly blended. Mixture should not thicken. Whisk in grated zest.
3) Spoon flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift about a third of dry ingredients over foamy egg mixture. Whisk flour into eggs, mixing lightly. Sift remaining flour over eggs in two more additions and whisk only until everything is incorporated. Whisk heavy cream into mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently and quickly fold in the melted butter.
4) Pour and scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until center of cake crowns and cracks and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before unmolding and brushing with syrup.
5) While cake is baking, make lemon syrup. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Brush warm cake with half of lemon syrup. Let cake cool to room temperature. Slice with serrated knife. Yield: 8 servings.
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