I’ve been on a total citrus kick lately. My latest attempt is Ina Garten’s lemon cake. The still-hot-from-the-oven loaves are soaked with a lemon syrup, which adds a mouth-puckering tartness. Ina glazes hers with a lemon icing, but I skipped it since I was low on confectioners’ sugar.
(makes two 8-inch loafs)
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup grated lemon zest
4 large eggs, at room temp.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temp.
1 tsp vanilla extract
Lemon soaking syrup
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven 350 F. Butter and flour two loaf pans (I used 8.5 x 4 inch loaf pans).
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.
Combine lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract in a small Pyrex measuring cup. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the lemon zest. Then add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally.
Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Mix in half of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat with flour, buttermilk, and flour.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.
Shortly before the cakes are done, make the soaking syrup. In a small, non-reactive saucepan, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Cook over low heat, whisking occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.
Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and set them on a cooling rack over a baking sheet (to collect any dripping syrup). With a wooden skewer, poke the cake all over and spoon or brush with the syrup. Allow the cakes to cool completely.