Monday, June 11, 2007

Recipe: Lemon Cake

Have you ever noticed how seperate cake recipes from cookbooks and cookbook gurus, for the same recipe or product, are really almost exactly the same? I was trying to look up a light lemon cake recipe and came across these recipes. Do they look similar to you?

Lemon Cake Recipe 1 (from the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garton's Party Ideas)

226.8g unsalted butter (room temp)
2 1/2 C granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs (room temp)
1/3 C grated lemon zest (6-8 lemons)
3 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 C lemon juice
3/4 C buttermilk, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
2. Cream butter and 2 C sugar, add eggs
3. Add lemon zest
4. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla.
6. Alternate flour and buttermilk, begin and end with flour
7. Bake 1.5 hour
8. Pook holes all over cake. Cook remaining sugar with lemon juice and pour over

Recipe 2 (Lori Longbotham Ultimate Lemon Pound Cake)

339.75g unsalted butter (room temp)
2 1/4 C granulated sugar
6 extra-large eggs (room temp)
1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 C lemon juice
1 C milk
1 tsp pure lemon extract

1. Preheat the oven to 300°F
2. Cream butter and 1 3/4 C sugar, add eggs
3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt.
4. Alternate flour and milk, begin and end with flour
5. Add lemon zest and extract
6. Bake 45min to 1 hour
7. Cook 1/2 C sugar with 1/2 C lemon juice. Pour over cooled cake

I guess the reality is that there are few variants of simple pound cake and cakes that fall into the "Cream butter and sugar" method don't differ a great deal. That does make me feel though, that cookbook gurus are scamming the unknowledgable public into buying far too many 'basic' cookbooks.

Anyway, I picked the second recipe (because I had no butter milk). However, I didn't realize that the lemon juice was only meant for the glaze and put it straight into the batter- nothing bad happened. I also added brandy and lemoncello as the cupcakes were baking, which kept the cakes moist.

I must say that today, I was baking for a very vain reason which was, I wanted to mix something in my swanky new bowls. I have a set of three and they were a really thoughtful birthday present from my cousin, E. whom we still call Meimei (even though she's not really anymore *hehe*). Thank you Mei!

To give them a proper christianing, I decided I had to make something that was suitably classic but different and not too easy. I also had a lemon craving, so I decided to make lemon cupcakes with raspberry swirls, using fresh raspberry puree.


A prettier variant of the cheery yellow chocolate bee cupcakes I made here, these have raspberry flavoured royal icing with green tea Swiss Meringue Buttercream rosettes.

I brought them in the next morning for my friend B. who's been pining after bees and to celebrate another friend's new baby girl. Congratulations!

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