pina colada cake

this is the story of two cakes.  one a beautiful cake and the other, a shipwreck.  or train wreck, take your pick.  either name will work.

as i have mentioned before, i work in a demonstration garden with my fellow master gardeners.  it is my responsibility as the project chair to round up the volunteers and maintain the garden.  to do this, i have resorted to bribery; it works out so much better than whining and begging…since i go out to the garden every sunday morning, i have made it a habit to take a freshly baked cake with me.  sounds easy but it is a challenge to come up with a different cake each week.

the result is that every week, i create a new recipe.  sometimes, it is as simple as substituting an ingredient or two in an already successful recipe.  other weeks, it can be complicated as i attempt a new formula all together.  most of the time, the cake works out and i am able to make minor adjustments to use the next time i bake the cake.  other times, not so much.  this last time, really, really not so good.  and by not so good, i mean the cake was self destructing from the moment i took it out of the oven.

 don’t you love the ski slope effect?  trust me, it went completely down hill from here…

as i stood there looking at my sad cake, i watched in horror as more and more of the sides of the cake just fell off and littered the tray.  so sad, so embarrassing.  how would i fix this?  there wasn’t any time to bake another cake, i would just have to bring it out to the garden and hope for the best.  the best laugh that is.  shirley quickly dubbed it a total shipwreck.  and honestly, it was-no harm, no foul, just lots of giggles.  she and lynn were astonished that i could have baked this.  so as you see, even a pastry chef is capable of a shipwreck every now and then.  the mistake here, i tried to temper the acid level of fresh pineapple by adding a little baking soda to the recipe.  guess what, the cake did not need any tempering.

so this week, when i set out to bake a cake for my gardening friends, i had a new challenge; no eggs.  we have a couple of new volunteers that both follow a mostly vegan diet and the eggs needed to go.  luckily, they were both okay with a small amount of butter but definitely not the eggs.  and luckier still, i happened to have a package of ener-g egg replacer in the pantry and a supply of coconut milk and coconut oil.  i also had the determination of a baker scorned; i simply was not going to be pushed around by a cake.  no, i was going to win this thing, we were going to eat pina colada cake and it was going to be a good cake.  no ifs, ands or buts.  just a really good cake!

recipe notes:  to get a nice pineapple flavor, use fresh, ripe pineapple.  peel, core and cut enough of it into 1″ cubes to make 2 cups.  place the pineapple in a food processor and pulse to produce tidbits.  do not let the machine run for more than 5 or 10 seconds at a time or you will quickly make puree.  put the pineapple tidbits into a mesh strainer and press out as much of the juice as you can.  reserve the juice for the syrup that is poured over the warm cake.  2 cups of chunks should yield 1 cup of tidbits and 1/2 cup of juice which is what you will need for the cake.

for the liquid in the recipe, i have used coconut milk.  to get the best texture without it being gummy or overly moist, use a light coconut milk or an unsweetened coconut milk beverage.  these will add moisture without excess fat that can make the cake greasy and heavy.

for the vegans, use all coconut oil(2/3 cup) and ener-g egg replacer(4 1/2 teaspoons mix to 6 tablespoons of warm water).  for the not so vegan, you can do as i did and use half unsalted butter(6 tablespoons) and half coconut oil(1/3 cup) with the egg replacer.  and for those of you throwing caution to the wind, you can also just use 3 large eggs, and all butter but you will have to use  coconut milk to be able to call it pina colada!

if you have never used ener-g egg replacer, it is easy!  follow the instructions on the box and use as you would real eggs.  place the powder in a mixing bowl, whisk in warm water and let it sit while you start mixing the recipe.

pina colada bundt cake
1 bundt cake serving about 12
*before starting-read the notes above!!!
1 cup fresh pineapple tidbits*
ener-g egg replacer equivalent to 3 eggs*
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened*
1/3 cup coconut oil*
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup coconut milk*
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup light brown sugar
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a bundt cake pan.  place butter, coconut oil, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor.  pulse to combine.  with the motor running, pour in the egg replacer and process until smooth.  pour the mixture into a mixing bowl with the pineapple tidbits.  stir to combine and distribute the tidbits evenly.  sift the flour and the baking powder over the batter and fold it in a few times.  sprinkle the coconut milk over the top of the batter and fold together until no streaks of flour or butter remain.  scrape the batter out of the bowl and into the prepared pan.  smooth out the top and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about an hour.  while the cake bakes, make the syrup by combining the juice and the brown sugar in a small sauce pan.  bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and allow it to simmer for 2-3 minutes.  set it aside while the cake bakes.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then turn it out onto a rack to cool.  prick the surface of the cake with a fork and spoon the glaze over the top of the cake.  allow it to cool completely before slicing.

orange-date walnut loaf

sometimes, you just have to do something different.  generally, when i go out to the garden, i take a cake with me.  nine out of ten cakes are some configuration of a bundt; they are baked in one of the many fluted/tube pans on my kitchen shelf.  not this time.  this cake was baked in a large loaf pan.

over the years, i have baked date-nut bread many times.  it is a favorite of my husband and me for that matter.  when i realized that i had a large tub of dates in the fridge, hidden there by my husband so that he could snack on them secretly, i knew i had to make a loaf of bread.

orange date-walnut loaf 
1 (9x5x3) loaf
(a little shameless self promotion, can’t help it…)
1 cup walnut pieces
6 ounces unsalted butter, soft
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup good quality wildflower honey
1 orange-zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped dates
2/3 cup sour cream
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan and set it aside.  place the walnuts into a baking dish and toast them until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, honey, orange zest and salt until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat until once again light and fluffy-another 2 minutes or so.  scrape the bowl well.
sift the flour and baking soda over the batter in the bowl.  fold it in by hand a few times.  add the walnuts, dates and sour cream and fold the batter until it is evenly mixed.  scrape the batter into the loaf pan.  bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about an hour.  immediately turn the loaf out onto a rack and allow it to cool completely, if you can.  serve slices with soft butter if you like.

almond poppyseed bundt cake

poppy seeds are often overlooked when it comes to sweets.  they add a mild, nutty flavor and a wonderful crunch to cakes and scones.  and of course, a little chuckle when you realize that you have just spent the last 15 minutes talking to people with the tiny little black seeds wedged between your teeth.

honestly, i love to add poppy seeds to a cake flavored with almond paste and lemon zest.  it adds a nice crunchy surprise to the texture of the cake.  lemon zest also serves to brighten the flavor a bit too.  this is the perfect solution to the “what can i make” dilemma when fresh fruit is still out of season or you just want to try something different.

almond paste is another great staple to stock in the “larder”.  it adds nice flavor, a little richness and moisture.  to purchase some, look for the little cans in the baking aisle of the supermarket.  they will be mixed in with the cans of pie fillings.  open the can at both ends and push the cylinder of paste out.  cut it in half and then cut each half into 4 equal pieces and wrap each one separately. store the pieces in the freezer and anytime you need some, you will have pre-measured 1 ounce pieces that will thaw quickly.

almond poppy seed bundt cake
makes 1 large bundt cake serving about 16
6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces almond paste
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest.
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 1/2 cups sour cream
glaze, recipe follows
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a bundt pan and set it aside. place the butter into the bowl of a food processor.  crumble the almond paste up and add the pieces to the food processor with sugar, lemon zest and salt.  pulse to combine the mixture.  process until smooth and then add the eggs, one at a time scraping the bowl as you go.  dump this mixture into a large bowl. sift the flour and baking powder over the top of the batter.  sprinkle the poppy seeds over the flour mixture.  fold it in a few times.  add the sour cream and fold until no streaks remain.  scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about an hour.  cool the cake in the pan for at least 15-20 minutes.  invert the cake onto a rack and allow it to cool completely before decorating.  glaze and serve!
lemon glaze
2-3 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
while the cake is baking, place the almonds in a bake proof dish and toast them in the oven.  such a small amount will toast quickly so keep an eye on them-takes 5 minutes or less.  place the sugar in a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift to remove the lumps.  add the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.  place the cake on a serving plate and drizzle the glaze over the cake.  sprinkle the almonds and poppy seeds over the top of the cake.  allow the glaze to set before serving, at least 30 minutes. 

fresh apple cake with dried figs

you have to love a cake that mixes up quickly and easily.  especially nice is a recipe that can be manipulated to include many different flavors.  don’t like apples? use pears.  not a fig fan, fine, use dried cranberries.  not sure what to use that can of roasted hazelnut oil for? bake this cake with it.  just use what you’ve got.  think outside the box; carrots or zucchini could also stand in for the apples.  the only caution, stay away from something that will add a lot of liquid or acid.  that means fresh strawberries and pineapple chunks may not give desirable results.

fresh apple cake with dried figs
makes one bundt cake serving about 12
2 medium granny smith apples, peeled and chopped 
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup oil-any kind suitable for a cake
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla (because it blends well with figs, can be omitted)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3/4 cup diced, dried figs-i used mission
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the bundt pan and set aside.  place the walnuts in a baking dish and bake until fragrant, about 5-7 minutes.  set them aside to cool.  in a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil with the sugar and the eggs.  add the vanilla and lemon zest and whisk to combine.  add the apples, walnuts and figs and stir to combine.  place the flour, baking soda and cardamom in a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift over the batter in the bowl.  fold the batter together and scraped it into the prepared pan.  bake until firm on top and a tester comes out clean, about an hour.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes.  carefully invert onto a rack or serving plate to cool.  this is a tender cake so try not to handle it while it is hot.  due to the moisture of the apples, it is best if served within a day or two; any longer and it becomes a bit sticky and soggy at room temperature.  

semolina bundt cake with lemon and thyme

when it comes to bundt cakes, the ones with a pound cake texture are always the easiest to unmold and slice.  if they are scented with lemon and herbs, as this one is, they also seem to be favorites among my fellow garden volunteers.  right now, the herb garden is bursting with thyme in bloom which made adding a few sprigs to this cake the obvious choice.

since i bring a cake whenever i go to the garden, i have to keep it interesting.  that stands to reason for the people eating it as much as it does for me, the person baking it.  while looking through the larder in search of inspiration, i came across my container of semolina flour.  then i stumbled upon the bag of almond flour in the freezer.  semolina flour and almond flour both add to the texture without changing it  visibly.  the color of the semolina and the almond flour after it is toasted accentuate the golden hue of the cake.  freshly grated lemon zest and thyme leaves give it a wonderful aroma as well as flavor and make this a great cake for a picnic.  if you want to go a little crazy, try using slabs of this cake in place of a biscuit or angelfood cake cups for a wonderful shortcake dessert; the cake flavor would blend beautifully with fresh berries.

semolina bundt cake with lemon and thyme
one 10-12 cup bundt serving 12-16
1/2 cup almond flour
1 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons freshly picked thyme leaves
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the bundt pan and set it aside.  in a small ovenproof dish or pan, spread the almond flour out and bake it until golden, about 5 minutes.  set aside to cool.  place all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk it together to remove any lumps in the flour.  add the cooled almond flour and stir it in.
in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter with the sugar, lemon zest and thyme leaves until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  add the eggs, one at a time and scrape the bowl as you go.  add the dry ingredients to the bowl and by hand using a spatula or spoon, fold them in a few times.  sprinkle the buttermilk over the mixture and continue folding the batter together by hand until no streaks remain.  scape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted, about 45-50 minutes.  allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes and then invert it onto a rack to finish cooling.  to serve the cake, give it a light dusting of powdered sugar.  
this cake recipe is very versatile; try substituting different citrus fruits or herbs as well as nut flours.  orange, rosemary, lime, thyme, lavender, basil, pecan meal-you get the idea!  the list goes on and on…and one more thing, have i mentioned how much i love the herb garden?  best kitchen “tool” ever!

pear cranberry crumb cake with almonds

the calendar says spring but the weather says fall.  we seem to be having cooler mornings as if it were heading into fall.  why just last night, they issued a frost warning for our area.  if only our last frost date hadn’t been a month ago, i might not have minded it so much.  we have been working hard in the garden and beds have been filled with plants that cannot withstand such temperatures.  that said, it should not surprise anyone that i am baked a cake laced with pears and cranberries rather than the typical sour cherries or strawberries found this time of year.  

how can you not love a crumb topped cake?  especially if it is hiding a layer of spiced fruits!  if you take it a step further and add chunks of almonds to the crumb topping and a little almond paste to the cake-you have a heavenly excuse to put down the garden tools and take a cake break!

when cranberries come into season, i always tuck a few bags into the freezer.  it is a nice surprise when i am digging around in search of inspiration for a cake.  keeping a can of almond paste in the closet is a good idea too.  when i purchase a new can, i open both ends, take out the neat cylinder of paste and cut it into 4 equal pieces.  since the can contains 8 ounces of paste, i end up with 4 two ounce pieces.  by wrapping each in plastic and storing them in a container in the freezer, i always have some available.  and that means i always have another tasty inspiration for cake.

pear cranberry crumb cake with almonds
1 (8″) square cake serving 12-16

crumb topping
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut into cubes
1/4 cup chopped almonds

fruit filling
1 large, ripe pear-i used a d’anjou
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

almond cake
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces almond paste-at room temp
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/4 cup baking powder
1 cup milk

preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour an 8″ square baking pan and set it aside.  make the crumb topping by combining the flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon.  using your fingers, rub the butter cubes into the dry ingredients until it begins to form crumbs.  take care not to go to far with this step or the crumb layer will be gummy; they should still be somewhat free flowing and a mixture of loose dry ingredients and small to medium clumps with the oats still obvious.  add the almonds and toss it together gently.  set this aside.

peel the pear and cut it into cubes.  combine it with the remaining ingredients and set it aside while you prepare the cake layer.

to make the cake, cream the butter with the almond paste, sugar and salt until it is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  add the eggs slowly and scrape the bowl as you go.  place the flour and baking powder into a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift it over the batter.  fold it a couple times and then sprinkle the milk over the top.  fold this together until no streaks remain and then scrape it out of the bowl and into the prepared pan.  spread the batter out in an even layer.  top the cake evenly with the fruit and the sprinkle the crumbs over the fruit so that it is covered but peeks out in spots.  bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about an hour and 15 minutes.  cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes.  to remove the cake from the pan, place a baking sheet over the top of the cake and invert it.  the pan should slide right off.  place your serving plate over the bottom of the cake and invert it again.  now go out to the garden and eat cake!

if you need me, i will be out in the garden with cake…

guess again cake and the importance of following directions…

there are few scents as intoxicating as the smell of a spice cake in the oven.  immediately, the house feels warm and inviting.  once it comes out of the oven, very few can resist the urge to grab a knife and slice a thick slab.  just be sure to take it out of the pan first…and speaking of that pan, if the directions call for you to grease and flour it, please, for the love of cake, heed the warning.

sad but true, i did not do as the directions instructed and the results were a lovely cake coated pan.  sigh.
doubly sad since not only do i bake for a living, but that recipe was one of my own; i broke my own rule.  my excuse, i was in a hurry.   even worse, i needed the cake for a meeting and there was no way to hide this.  so, off i went, head hanging low and my lame excuse at the ready for anyone who dared to ask.

funny thing is, no one seemed to think much of it.  sure, they were a little surprised that i could have such a mishap, but none were the least bit shocked.  it was if they knew something i didn’t and had just realized…regardless, i came home with a tray holding just a few small chunks and some crumbs.  apparently, they liked it.

when they learned the cake had a secret ingredient, they went back for a little more.  it was fun making them guess.  spice cakes are easy to hide unusual ingredients in since the spices tend to mask the flavors of the other ingredients.  are you curious about that ingredient?  well, believe it or not, it was a can of crushed tomatoes.  once baked, the tomatoes are not obvious in either appearance or taste.  they do add some wonderful color and lots of moisture.

guess again tomato cake with pecans and raisins
makes 1 (10-12) cup bundt pan serving about 16
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup pecan pieces
3 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 can (14.5 ounce) crushed tomatoes-make sure they do not contain things like garlic and herbs!
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the bundt pan.  place the raisins in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a gentle boil.  remove from the heat and allow them to cool completely in the water.  drain well.  
toast the pecans on a baking sheet for 5-7 minutes, allow to cool before using.  in a mixing bowl, combine the cake flour, baking soda and the spices.  in a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  add the eggs and mix completely, scrape the bowl and mix it in.  place the dry ingredients into a sifter or mesh strainer and sift them over the butter mixture.  fold it a few times by hand.  pour the entire can of tomatoes over the top of the batter and fold it all together.  fold in the raisins and pecans and scrape it into the prepared pan.  bake until a tester comes out clean, about an hour.  cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.  invert onto a rack and allow it to cool completely.  

sweet potato-cinnamon swirl coffee cake

if you haven’t already figured it out, i have a thing for bundt cakes.  whether they are chocolate, loaded with spices or chock full of fruit, i love them.  more than likely, i just love the pans.  i don’t eat large quantities of the cakes-just slivers here and there.  but i do love hunting for bundt pans in the thrift stores and i have at least half a dozen different pans to choose from.

bundt cake recipes are generally pretty flexible and if you have one good one, you can easily turn it into a dozen great recipes.  this recipe would easily work with pumpkin or butternut squash.  it would also work with apples or pears that were chopped rather than pureed.  there’s a few to get you started, how many more can you think of?  trust me, i will do more than just think about it.

sweet potato-cinnamon swirl coffee cake
1 (10) cup bundt pan serving 12-16
4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 cup baked and mashed sweet potato-nothing added to it
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
1teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons pecan pieces, toasted and chopped small
1 teaspoon cinnamon

preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the pan and set it aside.  in the bowl of a large food processor, combine the butter, sugar, sweet potato, salt and vanilla.  pulse to combine.  with the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time.  be sure to scrape the bowl at least once.  dump this mixture into a large mixing bowl.  place the flour, baking powder and pie spice into a sifter or a mesh strainer and sift it over the batter in the bowl.  fold the flour in a couple times, sprinkle the buttermilk over the surface and fold together until no streaks remain.  scrape 2/3 of the batter into the pan and smooth out the top.  in a small bowl, stir together the dark brown sugar, pecan pieces and the cinnamon.  spread it evenly over the top of the batter.  carefully top the ribbon with the remaining batter, smooth it out and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  cool in the pan for about 15-20 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

carrot bundt cake with dried apricots and fresh pineapple

carrot cake-you either love it or hate it.  personally, i am in the middle on this one.  while i like raisins, i do not like them in a carrot cake.  raisins in the batter-pass!  give me a carrot cake with lots of coconut, walnuts, pineapple chunks and of course, shredded carrots, and i am a happy baker.  so how can you improve on this perfection, besides slathering it with cream cheese frosting?  quite easily, actually.

when i wrote my first book, i was thinking of a carrot cake that i could serve at our holiday festivities with my cousins.  several of them have sensitivities to peanuts and for a while, tree nuts were suspect too.  that had me thinking…carrot cakes almost always have walnuts in them.  so what if i switched over to walnut oil rather than the usual vegetable oils and left the walnuts out.  that way, i could easily make the cake with a vegetable oil if the need arose.  ok, nut issue solved!

but what about the other stuff?  freshly grated carrots-no changes needed here.  shredded coconut; nope, it stays as is.  pineapple???  of course, let’s switch this to fresh, ripe pineapple.  not bad, only about 100 times better than the crushed stuff in cans.  but what about the texture?  now that there aren’t any chewy nuts, it isn’t very exciting.  in stepped a bag of dried apricots and history was made.  chewy, tart and full of apricotty goodness.  now that’s what i’m talkin about!  so, is it possible to improve any further?  you betcha, put it in a bundt pan and you’re golden.  and for the one i made to take to the garden recently, i threw caution to the wind and added some toasted pecan pieces, have mercy on my soul, for i am just a baker with a well stocked larder.  i didn’t mean anything by it…

carrot-apricot bundt cake
1 (10-12) cup bundt cake serving about 16
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup wild flower honey-the darker ones have more flavor
1 cup oil-can be walnut, hazelnut or any other vegetable oil that is liquid at room temp
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
2 cups shredded carrots
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple-drained
1 cup sweetened flake coconut
1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
2 1/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour the cake pan.  in a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, honey and oil.  whisk it until combined.  add the ginger, carrots, apricots, pineapple, coconut and nuts if you are using them.  whisk to combine.  place the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift it over the batter.  using a spatula, fold the batter until it is combined and no streaks remain.  scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about an hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes.  cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes.  invert onto a rack to finish cooling.  give it a little sprinkle of powdered sugar for decoration if you like.  enjoy and may the force be with you. 

meyer lemon syrup cake

for the last 12 or so weeks, i have been attending as many of the master gardener classes as possible.  each week, a small group of certified members has attended in a sort of welcome wagon capacity.  we also bring refreshments for the break.  they have dubbed me the cake lady because i bring a cake each week.  i suppose they could call me worse things than that…

a recent trip to the store yielded a mesh bag of meyer lemons.  these lemons with orange colored skin, have a flavor that is not quite lemon and not quite orange and it is definitely worth seeking them out when they are in season.

if i am baking with citrus, the zest is the part i use.  i used the juice to make a glaze that i brushed over the cake.

meyer lemon syrup cake
1 (10-12) cup bundt cake serving about 16
8 ounces unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 meyer lemons
4 eggs
4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed juice from the zested lemons
3 tablespoons sugar
preheat the oven to 350.  grease and flour a bundt pan and set it aside.  place the butter into a mixing bowl with the sugar, salt and zest and on low speed, mix to combine.  turn the mixer up to medium and allow the mixture to cream until light and fluffy.  add the eggs, one at a time and mix to combine.  scrape the bowl as you go. from here on, it is best to mix by hand so if you are not using a wide shallow bowl, transfer the batter to different bowl that will make folding the batter by hand a little easier.  place the flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift it over the batter.  fold this a couple times.  sprinkle the buttermilk over the batter and gently fold until no streaks remain.  scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a pick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  
make the glaze by combining the juice and the sugar along with 2 tablespoons of water in a small pan.  bring to a gentle boil and let it cook for a minute or two.  be sure to do this over low heat or you will evaporate most of the glaze and be left with either a thick syrup or a burned pan…brush a little of this over the cake while it is still in the pan.  after it has cooled in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, invert the cake onto a rack, pierce it with a fork a few times and brush the remaining glaze over the top and the sides of the cake.  allow it to cool completely before cutting.