I’ve discussed my passion for lemon cake before. If not on the blog, which I’ve got to admit I’m too lazy to check, probably in person. On my birthday, I’ve baked my own lemon cake from box mixes for years, with homemade lemon icing. Imagine my delight to find a guy whose favorite cake was also lemon cake with lemon icing…
At first, it was whichever cake mix was on sale at the grocery store, then when the foe protein gluten was eliminated from my kitchen, I used the ‘Cause You’re Special (which as a company name? Sigh…) lemon cake mix which was really good. But I wanted to make a homemade cake. So I went to Laura’s hibernating food blog to get a starting place. Because she’s awesome.
Of course, when I decided to get cracking, I was smack between Pants’ birthday and my birthday. So I decided to break my Lenten sugar fast wide open with a lemon cake on Easter. I wanted less sugar in the cake (which is a bit of a psychological trick because there’s stilla lot of sugar in the cake) so I lowered the sugar levels and used meyer lemons in conjunction with regular lemons. Meyer lemons are an orange-lemon hybrid, making them sweeter than lemons, but far more sour than oranges.
When I was little, we used to make a cake for Easter in the shape of a bunny. Of a bunny head, that is. I don’t know where my mom got the idea, but I’d guess out of a magazine somewhere. It was pretty simple – you just bake 2 layers of a round cake, use one cake as the face, and cut out the second cake along the approximate lines of baseball seam, making ears and a bow tie. (Example!) I carved the bow tie section a bit more so it looked like a tie with a knot and all
(If there’s a break somewhere in the bow tie or ears, you can patch it up with some icing to hold it together.) Then? Frost that sucker! We used to use jellybeans and licorice for the face but licorice has wheat in it, and jellybeans aren’t something I really enjoy. You can also cover it in shredded coconut for bunny fur. Or be like me and use the sort of gross but effective cake decorating gels to put a somewhat lopsided, off-center bunnyface on it and don’t bother taking a nice picture where you clean up the counter.
“If you’re going to put a lot of effort into something, be sure to half-ass it at the end!” is my motto. The buttermilk in the recipe gives the cake a nice additional tang, as well as leaves it, um, moist.
Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Layer cake
Adapted from here.
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
2 meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup gluten-free buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour (or replace all of these with 3 cups of your favorite gluten-free flour mix)
1/2 scant tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Either sift or whisk together until incorporated, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar (beat unil just incorporated, and then about 1 minute longer). One at a time, add the eggs, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and the juice of three lemons. Mix well, and slowly drizzle the buttermilk into the micing bolw with the mixer on low.
Add the flour in 1/2 cup batches, mixing on low until barely incorporated, after each addition. When all the flour is fully but barely incorprated, divide the batter between the two cake pans. With an offset spatula, level the cake batter in thee pans. Bake in preheated oven until light golden, and a cake tester comes out clean (about 20-28 minutes, depending on the magical conditions of your house and climate).
Remove the cake pans from the oven, and let cool about 10 minutes in the pan. Run a thin knife around the outside of the pans, and remove the cake from pans, and finish cooling on a rack.
When cake is fully cooled, frost with homemade lemony butter cream (about 1 stick of room temperature butter, 1 lb powdered sugar, the juice and zest of one lemon, and a splash or two of cream if it is too stiff to spread). Eat. Find someone to share this with so that you don’t wind up eating a whole cake by yourself in a week… not that I’ve done that. Half a cake? Um, I can’t comment on that one.