If there are no limits to the number of apple cakes I’m willing to try, do I need to say anything about lemon cakes? :)
I saw this recipe a couple of weeks ago and went completely crazy over it – I felt like running home to bake it, but unfortunately I had to work. I ended up making it a couple of days later, but switched to another cake recipe – the thought of whipping the egg whites separately made me feel instantly lazy.
The caramel glaze did not work as the recipe said it would – ask Joao about the nice words coming from the kitchen while I was making it – so I made another batch of caramel and simply poured it over the cake. It was a bit hard to slice, but tasted good – and absolutely crackly. :)
The reason why I’m posting this recipe, bad caramel and all, is that I had to share with you my favorite lemon cake so far. Did I say lemon cake? Sorry – my favorite cake. Period. :D
Lemon cake with crackly caramel glaze
adapted from Baking by Flavor
2 ¾ cups (385g) all purpose flour
1/3 cup (46g) cake flour*
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks/226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (400g) caster sugar
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 large eggs
1 cup less 2 tablespoons buttermilk, well shaken
¼ cup (60ml) water
¼ cup (50g) caster sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackly caramel glaze:
1 cup (200g) caster sugar
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Generously butter a 25cm (10in) Bundt pan.
Sift the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
Cream the butter in the large bowl of an electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar in three additions, beating in moderate speed for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the lemon zest and juice. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.
On low speed, alternatively add the sifted ingredients in three additions and the buttermilk in two additions, beginning and ending with the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently to keep the batter even textured. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and level the top.
Bake the cake for 55 minutes or until risen, set and a wooden toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let the cake stand in the pan on a wire rack for 5-8 minutes then invert onto another wire rack.
Make the syrup: in a small saucepan, simmer the water and sugar over moderate heat just until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then stir in the lemon juice. While the cake is still hot, brush it with the glaze, taking care to dampen the sides of the cake as well. Cool completely before drizzling the cake with the caramel.
Make the caramel glaze: in a heavy saucepan, stir the sugar with the cream of tartar and water until sandy. Wash down the sides of the pan with a moistened pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals. Bring the mixture to a boil over moderately high heat and cook without stirring until a deep honey-colored caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Carefully swirl the pan to cool the caramel slightly, then pour it over the cake.
* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch
Serves 16 – I halved the cake and lemon syrup recipes and used a 6 cup capacity ring pan; I did not halve the caramel recipe, though