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Posts Tagged ‘lemon’

Pound cake is one of my favorite no-fuss desserts. It’s simple, easy and versatile. Pound cake also reminds me of my grandmother, who taught me that it’s a perfectly acceptable breakfast treat. :P

I was flipping through the March issue of Southern Living and came across this recipe for Lemon Coconut Pound Cake. I just happened to have all of the ingredients on hand in my kitchen so 10 minutes later I found myself baking. I had the cake in the oven in less than 15 minutes and it smelled wonderful while it was baking.

I was extremely pleased with both the texture and flavor of this cake. Sometimes pound cakes can be a bit dry but this one was soft and moist. I attribute the great texture to the use of yogurt in the batter. The lemon coconut flavor provided the perfect Spring twist on pound cake.

We ate this plain and it was delicious but it would also be nice with a glaze or with berries and fresh whipped cream. Make this cake a must on your Spring dessert rotation!

Lemon Coconut Pound Cake
(Recipe heavily adapted from Southern Living)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut, plus extra for topping cake

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan. Stir together flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add sugar, beating until fluffy and lightened in color. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Alternate adding flour mixture and yogurt to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice and 1/2 cup coconut. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loaf pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Mine took closer to an hour and 15.) Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).

Yield: 8 servings

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My mother in law celebrated a birthday last week and of course I volunteered to bring the cake. (Remember last year’s Coconut Cake with Lime Curd Filling?) Typically, the girls in the family prefer fruitier desserts while the guys are all about chocolate. I am firmly in the fruity cake camp so I knew that was the direction I wanted to go with this cake. I’ve mentioned before that I have a tough time deciding what to make (I will browse recipes for hours) so I was excited when my sister in law suggested a cake with fresh blueberries.

Luckily, my Google search for blueberry layer cake didn’t yield too many results. I trust anything that Epicurious posts on their site so I was sold on Blueberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting as soon as I saw it and noticed it received over 100 positive reviews.

I totally must disclose that this is not a light and fluffy cake. It’s pretty dense and I was scared to death when I was removing it from the pan and frosting it that everyone would hate it. I typically prefer a light, airy cake and this is not that. I was so surprised that it ended up being moist and the texture worked with this cake. Everyone really enjoyed the cake and raved over the flavor. My friend Catherine also made the cake for her mother in law’s birthday after reading about it on my healthy living blog, Peanut Butter Runner, and it was also a hit with her family.

The only modification that I made to the recipe was to increase the lemon zest in the batter and lemon juice in the frosting. I knew that I wanted a pronounced lemon flavor and some of the reviews suggested increasing the lemon. I will most definitely be baking this cake again. It’s such a fun (and ridiculously delicious) way to use fresh, local summer blueberries.

Make this before blueberry season ends! You’ll be happy you did! :)

One Year Ago: Coconut Cake with Lime Curd Filling

Blueberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
(Recipe source Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

FOR THE CAKE
2 cups plus 6 tablespoons cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (double for a more pronounced lemon flavor)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs

FOR THE FROSTING
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar (I used a little less)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (I added 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for more lemon flavor)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
FOR THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8- or 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper and butter paper. Dust pans with flour and set aside.
Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Transfer 1 tablespoon flour mixture to separate bowl and add fresh blueberries. Toss with flour to coat and set and blueberries and remaining flour mixture aside.

Stir together whole milk, vanilla extract and grated lemon peel in small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using electric mixer, beat butter in until light and creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour. (Flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.) Gently fold in blueberries with a spatula. Divide batter equally among pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 23-25 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for 10 minutes and then run knife around pan sides to loosen. Turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely. Peel off parchment paper.

FOR THE FROSTING
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar (tasting as you go – you might not want all four cups of powdered sugar due to sweetness). Beat in lemon peel, juice if using and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until just firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

TO ASSEMBLE CAKE
Transfer one cake layer to platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over cake layer. Top with another cake layer; spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. (Cake can be prepared up to one day ahead of time, covered and refrigerated. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.) Decorate cake as desired and serve.

Yield: 10-12 servings

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strawberrytartfgts

Our friends Cristen and Graham just welcomed a beautiful baby girl into this world. After a couple weeks at home adjusting to the crazy life of being new parents, they were ready to get out of the house! We invited them over for a casual evening with make your own pizza. I put together some fun toppings and everyone made their own pizza. I think it was just the thing they needed to relax a bit. Baby Camille was on her best behavior and slept pretty much the whole time. We hardly heard a peep.

I wanted to make a lighter dessert that would be nice after pizza. I knew Cristen loved lemon-flavored desserts and I’d had my eye on some strawberry tart recipes for the last month or so. I decided to combine the two and it worked out perfectly.

I think my favorite part of this dessert was the crust. It was so good! It is definitely going to become my standard sweet tart dough recipe. If I made this again I would probably make an extra half batch of the lemon curd to fill the tart pan a little more. Don’t be intimidated by all of the steps. It’s really easy to put together if you make the curd and crust the night before you want to serve it.

Strawberry Lemon Tart
(Recipe source Smitten Kitchen – tart dough, Williams Sonoma – tart dough mixing method, epicurious.com – lemon curd)

Ingredients:

FOR THE TART DOUGH
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

FOR THE LEMON CURD
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

GARNISH
Fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced in half
1/4 cup strawberry jam

Directions:

FOR THE TART DOUGH
Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir together flour, sugar and salt in mixer bowl. Add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal (should be between the size of oatmeal flakes and peas). Add the egg and beat just until the dough pulls together.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and gently pat into a ball. Lightly flatten into a disk shape. Roll our immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1-2 hours.

When you’re ready to roll the dough, butter a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Roll the chilled dough on work surface to form a 12 inch round. You’ll want to free the dough from the work surface occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking. You can also use a bit of flour on your roller and work surface to help with sticking.

Turn dough into prepared tart pan. Seal any cracks that you may have. Trim your overhang to about 1/2 an inch. Fold the overhang in to create double thick sides. Pierce crust all over with a fork. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes (I froze mine overnight) before baking.

You need to bake your crust before filling. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove dough from freezer and cover with nonstick foil, shiny side down. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an extra 10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool crust on wire rack to room temperature.

FOR THE LEMON CURD:
Whisk eggs, sugar and lemon juice in heavy small saucepan. Add butter and lemon peel. Stir over medium heat until curd thickens to pudding consistency, about 8 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of curd and chill at least 2 hours.

TO ASSEMBLE THE TART
Spread curd in crust. Layer strawberries over curd.

Heat jam in a small saucepan or in a small bowl in microwave. If you microwave – BE CAREFUL! The jam gets hot VERY quickly (ask my husband about the second degree strawberry jam burn all over my hand – ouch). I recommend microwaving for 5 seconds at a time until it thins to desired consistency.

Brush jam over the top of strawberries and let glaze set in refrigerator for at least one hour or up to six hours. Release tart from pan and serve.

YIELD: 6-8 servings

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