Tag Archives: lemon

The Cake Slice: Strawberry Lemonade Cake

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Doesn’t a pink cake just scream “HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!!!”….???

Well, maybe not. But, this cake is special. For the June cake selection, as part of the Cake Slice Bakers, I carefully selected this lovely pink cake for my husband. You see, he loves strawberries. Every year for either his birthday or father’s day, I try to make him something with strawberries in it. Strawberry pie. Strawberry shortcake. Strawberry ice cream. Etc., etc.

With my monthly cake baking deadline the same weekend as father’s day, I decided on the Pink Lemonade Cake recipe from Southern Living’s The Southern Cake Book. I did, however, make one substitution by substituting the pink lemonade mix with fresh, crushed strawberries…thus, Strawberry Lemonade Cake.

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The cake came together in a flash. It was quite dense, though. I believe that’s on account of the directions that said to mix the flour with the remaining ingredients without first whipping the butter. Regardless, it was a fairly tasty cake. I’m not sure that I’d make it again, but it was a great, suitable cake for the occasion.

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Check out what the other ladies in my club chose to bake this month:

The Cake Slice: Luscious Lemon Layer Cake

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Sometimes things just don’t go exactly as planned. So it goes for the March cake. I happened to have all the required ingredients and few spare minutes to knock this out on a recent Saturday. The only thing I didn’t have were three round pans of the same size, which was what the recipe prescribed. Instead, I opted for two layers, and given the results, I’m really glad I did.

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Forging ahead, I used a spatula to spread the batter between the pans, trying as best I could to smooth and level them.

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Into the oven they went, and off I went to some other distraction until the timer buzzed.

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The next sign that something was wrong came as soon as I pulled the pans out of the oven and noticed the layers were flat and dense. Referring back to the recipe, I quickly realized that, in my haste, I had added only 2 tsp of baking powder…not the 2 Tbsp that I should have added. Oops.

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The first sign of unexpected consequences was when I tried to pour the batter into the pans and it did not move. As in…I could literally tip the bowl upside down, and the batter would not fall out.

On to the frosting while the layers cooled. I added a bit too much powdered sugar, resulting in a relatively stiff buttercream, similar to a thick cookie frosting.

That’s when it hit me. This cake wasn’t really a cake, but more like a giant layered cookie. Alas, the layered sugar cookie “cake” with luscious lemon buttercream was born!

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This is my third selection of 2015 as part of The Cake Slice, a group of international baking enthusiasts who get together “virtually” every month to bake cakes from a chosen cookbook. This year, we are in the process of baking our way through The Southern Living Cake Book. Each month we can pick from four selections to make. Take a look at what the other bakers chose to make this month:

Lemon Pie Bars

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Lemons are a staple in our household. Every few weeks a bag of organic lemons finds its way into our shopping cart and they never last long. Lemons are so versatile. We squeeze the juice on chicken, fish, or even just a simple pasta with a little butter and Parmesan. We stuff lemons in whole chickens before roasting. Most often, however, we combine lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper and toss it with spinach – a light, flavorful dressing that’s easy to whip up and much better than store bought salad dressing.

Once in awhile, we have a few lemons to use up before they go bad. When we do, this lemon pie bar recipe does the trick. It’s the perfect combination of creamy lemon custard paired with crumbly, buttery crust. The best part is that it’s made from scratch – with ingredients typically on hand – and it beats the lemon bar box mixes by a mile. To get the most juice from your lemons, slice them in half and microwave for 10 seconds before juicing.

Lemon Pie Bars

Crust:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners sugar

Topping:
2 eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1Tbsp lemon zest
2Tbsp all purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 1 cup flour with confectioners sugar in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender, incorporate butter into mixture until it resembles pie dough. Press into a 8 x 8 square baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, or until crust begins to slightly brown. Remove from oven.

In another medium bowl, beat eggs for 1 minute. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, flour, and sugar. Mix for another minute. Pour mixture over crust and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven when topping is set. Cool.

Sprinkle powdered sugar on top of bars. Store at room temperature.

The Cake Slice: Lemon Velvet Squares

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Two things I know for sure:

One. Spring will come. Despite this brutal winter, before we know it, we’ll be sloughing off our layers and venturing outside. As the last of the melted snow drips off our south-facing deck, the cedar boards will again drink in the heat, creating a cocoon of sunny, radiant warmth around our deck chairs, our favorite backyard haven.

And, Two. Baking is most joyful when in the company of a little helper. This one in particular is my ever-curious, not afraid to get messy, culinary explorer. He helped me zest the lemons for this month’s cake. A fresh, fragrant lemon cake, evocative of Spring. Continue reading

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade with Strawberries and Lemon Basil

When life hands you lemon basil…make lemonade. Toss in some fresh berries, and now you’ve got something special.

I grew two varieties of basil in my garden this year – sweet basil and lemon basil. The later is less common and often associated with Thai cuisine. The leaves are smaller and a lighter hue than standard sweet basil. What I adore about this herb is the fresh citrus scent when you rub a few leaves between your fingers…heavenly…and not so overpowering as the scent of traditional basil (don’t get me wrong – I love that, too).

So back to the lemonade. It was the last weekend of summer before school starts, and among the swimsuits, snorkels, and other cabin necessities, I packed a handful of lemons, a carton of strawberries, and a bunch of fresh-picked lemon basil.

The weekend was spent playing cards, playing volleyball (with the laundry line serving as a makeshift net), tubing on the lake, and enjoying an end of summer jam session on our neighbor’s deck that included a delicious potluck and even a piñata for the kids.

The highlight of the weekend was watching a float plane take off from the lake and swoop over our heads as we sat in the tube.

And, when we arrived back at the dock, a monarch butterfly was resting on my older son’s sandals, soaking up the late summer sun on the dock.

Just like the butterfly, we soaked up every last bit of summer on our last official cabin weekend.

Strawberry Lemonade with Lemon Basil

Serves 6-8.

1 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
6-8 strawberries
5 small to medium lemons
lemon basil
3 cups water

Begin by making a simple syrup: Combine 1 cup water and the sugar in a small saucepan. Whisking often, bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Remove 2 Tablespoons of zest from lemons and add to a pitcher. Juice the lemons, being careful to remove any seeds, and add juice to pitcher.

Coarsely chop berries with a knife, then add to chopper (I used my mini prep food processor). Toss in a small handful of basil leaves and turn on chopper for a few seconds until berries and basil are finely chopped but still a bit chunky. Scrape into pitcher.

Finish by adding 3 cups of water and the simple syrup to the pitcher. Stir and refrigerate for flavors to blend a bit before serving. Serve over ice in glasses garnished with extra berry and lemon slices.

Lemon Zucchini Bundt Cake

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I got this recipe from a friend in Nebraska and knew right away that I had to try it. Only problem: I don’t own a bundt pan. That’s right, no bundt pan. And, did I mention I live in Minnesota, the land of Nordic Ware, the company that made bundt pans famous? So, off to Target I went to look for a bundt pan…and sure enough, they had a whole Nordic Ware section…I could barely control myself. My wallet is now $24.99 lighter, and I’m the proud owner of an original Nordic Ware bundt pan…guaranteed for 10 years…that’s a lot of cake in our future.
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This recipe originates from All Recipes. It’s actually a bar recipe, but I followed my friend’s suggestion and baked it in a bundt pan rather than a bar pan. I didn’t modify the recipe, but you could easily cut down on the sugar and oil and substitute some apple sauce.
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My zucchini plants have been flowering for the past few weeks, but so far, no zucchinis this year. Fortunately, I still had some frozen, shredded zucchini in our freezer from last year’s garden. Since the recipe calls for lemon, I decided to use a mix of both green and yellow zucchini to play up the yellow theme.
20120725-085158.jpgI sprayed the bundt pan lightly and added a dusting of flour before pouring in the batter. After baking for 40 minutes, I pulled the pan out of the oven, let it sit for 10 minutes to cool, and then flipped it over onto a platter. The cake slipped out perfectly. Added a dusting of powdered sugar and some flowers from our garden, and then we sliced it up. Moist, delicious, and the hint of lemon gives it a fresh, summery twist. It was a hit with the whole family, but was particularly a hit with my 8 year old, who told me that it rocks and that I can make this anytime. I might have to again soon…it’s already half gone.
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