Friday, April 8, 2011

Foodie Fridays: Lemon-Glazed Butter Cake with Lemony Whipped Cream

Although I really like winter (the clothes! the snow! the holidays!), I'm quite glad that warmer weather is coming to the New England area. Despite the fact that opening day is today (let's not talk about it - I'm just going straight home after work to skip the crowds), I love the longer days and the fact that the end of the semester is creeping closer. Also, the weather inspires me to branch out from the heavier recipes that winter almost demands and break out (or seek out) some lighter fare. Besides the lovely and quick tomato and basil pasta dish I had for dinner last night, one of my new go-to recipes for spring is this lemon-glazed butter cake. While the cake, which came to me via Gourmet and Epicurious, is wonderful on its own, I like to up the ante with a lemony whipped cream either used as a frosting or served on the side. The resulting dessert is a satisfying but not super-heavy end to a meal.

Lemon-Glazed Butter Cake (slightly adapted from Gourmet and Epicurious)
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature 30 minutes
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour an 8-by 2-inch round cake pan.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together milk and zest.
  3. Beat together butter and granulated sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top, then rap gently on counter to release any air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
  6. Whisk together confectioners sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
  7. Turn out cake onto a rack set over a baking sheet, then reinvert. Brush top and side of cake with all of glaze. Cool completely.

Lemony Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup lemon curd
  • Garnishes: Lemon zest, lemon twists or wedges, confectioners sugar, mint (optional)
  1. Chill cream, beaters, and bowl (this is particularly important if your kitchen is hot)
  2. Whip cream to firm peaks (between soft and stiff)
  3. Using a spatula, gently fold the lemon curd into the cream. Don't go too crazy - you don't want to push your cream into butter territory. Plus, a few streaks are quite pretty
  4. If you decide to pile the cream on top of your cake, any one (or several) of the garnishes listed above are lovely
Note 1: Some recipes call for adding a tablespoon or two or confectioners sugar to the cream. However, I found that the lemon curd provided more than enough sweetness.

Note 2: I know this goes without saying, but this does not keep well. Make it just before serving.