Monday, March 28, 2011

Lemon Angel Food

Pin It
No, not the cake, although it is my hands down favorite. But angel like the ones with wings. It is a ministry at my church, The Angel Food Network, and although I am the first to admit I am not a terribly involved Catholic, I sign up every year to cook for people who are sick and events at church. I love to do this. My first assignment about 6 years ago was a woman who was my age who had kidney failure. She had endured a transplant as a teenager, and was back in dialysis and hoping to get strong enough for another transplant. I was a frequent follower of a kidney friendly recipe site and happily cooked for her and her teenage daughter. I would take Nic over and we would mow and clean up her yard, anything I could do to make things easier for her, I was willing. She passed away as a very young woman, and I was devastated to say the least. I find comfort knowing I held her hand along the way.

There have been many other assignments since then, and this week I am making a cake for an event at church. My choice. So after a lot of searching I decided on lemon. One of my favorite (if not terribly ambitious) baking books is called in the sweet kitchen by Regan Daley. I wish she was my neighbor. This book is a great resource for a baker and is full of unusual and different recipes. Simple and Seductive is how she describes it. So I settled on a lemon Bundt cake with a glaze. I know, nothing earth shattering, but perfect for spring. But no, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I decided to bake it as 2 layers 8" with a little lemon buttercream instead of a Bundt, because everyone loves frosting. How good does that sound? The bad thing is, I wouldn't get to taste it. So what the heck. I made a second cake using half the recipe (always a dangerous thing in baking) and made it for my family! I used a 7" cake pan so it was a little higher, and sliced it to make 2 skinny layers.

Lemon Cake
(adapted from Old-Fashioned Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake by Regan Daley)

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
grated zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 large lemon (about 2½ Tablespoons)

Grease two 8" cake pans. Using the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each.

Sift flour, soda and salt and add into creamed mixture in 3 additions alternating with the buttermilk. Don't over mix. Fold in zest and lemon juice.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake at 325° for about 20-25 minutes. Cool and pop out of cake pans to cool thoroughly.
The original recipe would have you pour a hot glaze over the warm Bundt. I made frosting.

Lemon Buttercream

12 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2½ cups confectioner's sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh squeezed lemon juice as needed

Beat the butter until fluffy. Add confectioner's sugar and salt and add lemon juice until the right consistency is found for a fluffy buttercream. Frost as desired.

You will see on the top of my cake (at the top of the post) for home I adorned the top with some candied violets. These amazing little flowers are from Parma, Italy and taste just like a violet should. They are pretty expensive, so if you slice a piece and a non eater gets one, distract them and swipe it off their plate! I recycled a cake carrier from an event I helped with at school to transport my cake to church. My friends laugh as I load up all the plastic containers from grocery store bakeries. But since I don't buy that stuff, I don't have them! I am all about recycling! Success all the way around. It was bright and a delicate crumb thanks to the buttermilk. And I love that I can buy a small ½ pint milk carton of buttermilk for $.33. Wow! Thirty three little pennies. It's like the best deal in the supermarket. I find many times when a little buttermilk would be a great addition, but those large quarts are easily forgotten and go bad. So for just over a quarter, I always have a cup on hand. The buttercream was dangerously delicious. I especially liked it the day after when it was cold out of the fridge. Nothing like a little lemon to really usher in the flavors of spring. It would make delicious cupcakes for a spring brunch or Mother's Day. I think I am going to try and make a lemon version of sugar cookies. Those would be yummy for Easter! So, what are you waiting for....get in there and bake!

1 comment: