Elizabeth’s teacup and my cake.

I don’t think I mentioned here that my friend Elizabeth fell asleep in Christ earlier this year, at the age of 103. Just this morning I was given this teacup of hers, and it made me think about my friends and  tea parties. The mutual friend who brought this cup had been one of the guests at the party that Maggie and I gave not long after her grandpa died.

My house is in such disarray from the usual project paraphernalia plus that of some unusual ones; it’s hard to imagine even a recent time when I was able to clear my head and all horizontal surfaces in preparation for such an event, much less to cook for it! This is what Maggie and I laid out:

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One of my favorite tea goodies is a lemon cake, the recipe for which I’d shared a year before the party above occurred. I’m pretty sure that one was the last tea party I gave, but I don’t intend for it to be the last ever. Here is the recipe again, below, as a little reminder to me of hopes and dreams. It is part of this post titled: “Lemon Trees and Cake.”

lemon cake 7-27-14

My father scorned Meyer lemons. Growing his own lemons made him, and all of our family, partial to the intensity of a Normal Lemon. If anyone wants to give me lemons, Meyer or otherwise, I will never turn them down, but I also prefer what I grew up with.

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When I cook with lemons I usually think of my father and our trees. If as I child I ever found my father lying on the living room floor it was not because he’d been wrestling with my brother, but more like he’d been wrestling with those trees. During pruning season he’d invariably put his back out doing that necessary work on our ten acres (We had twenty more acres in oranges.) That would be more than a thousand lemon trees.

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precious zest

I learned to drive a tractor before I was old enough to drive a car, because Daddy needed me to pull a trailer between the rows when my sisters and I were picking the second, smaller crop of lemons that wasn’t worth hiring a whole picking crew for.

In those pictures that I retain in my mind, my brother wasn’t old enough to buckle down and help yet. He was sitting under a lemon tree crying, and the dust mixed with his tears to make a miserable face.  I must say that he’s more than made up for it in the years since, and is one of the most buckled down and hardworking people on the planet.

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a grandma’s trusty old sifter

The latest thing I cooked with lemons is this meltingly appealing cake, which Mr. Glad requested for his birthday last month. That he wanted cake was very strange, because it’s been Blackberry Pie as long as anyone can remember, and a good month to be born if you want that. But I was happy to oblige with the cake, and I devoted most of one Saturday to making it, so I had plenty of time to enjoy the process.

In the past I’d only baked this glazed cake for tea parties that I used to have in a bygone era. Now that it’s been revived in my repertoire I’ll want to make it more often. It uses a lot of lemons in the form of juice, and in this recent case, even more fruits to get enough lemon zest to impart the deep lemony flavor. It can be made up to three days ahead and freezes well.

Lemon-Sour Cream Cake

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large or extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon minced lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 cup sour cream

The Glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely minced lemon zest

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch lightweight Bundt pan. Sift the flour, baking soda and baking powder together into a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

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very thick and fluffy batter

In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, or in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, minced zest and lemon extract and mix for 2 more minutes.

Reduce the speed to low or pulse with the food processor. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add half of the sour cream, mixing constantly, then add the rest of the flour and sour cream, ending with the sour cream.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and remove the pan. Make the glaze while the cake is still warm.

P1100842To make the glaze, using a fine-meshed strainer, sift the powdered sugar into a small, non-aluminum bowl. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk to break up lumps.

Transfer the cake to a rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet lined with wax paper. Using a long skewer, poke holes in the cake at 1-inch intervals, almost going through to the bottom. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, giving it time to absorb as you pour. Let the cake cool to room temperature. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Every time I make this cake, about 1/4 cup of the glaze ends up on the baking sheet under the cake, and would be wasted and washed down the drain in all its precious lemonzestiness if I didn’t find a way to use it. This time I whipped some heavy cream and slowly drizzled the syrup into it at the end when it was getting nice and thick. I froze the mixture in custard cups, and ate one of them the next day. It was quite delicious!

15 thoughts on “Elizabeth’s teacup and my cake.

  1. Just today I was looking up a copycat recipe for Starbuck’s Lemon Loaf and now I see that your recipe is remarkably similar only yours is done in a Bundt pan which I would much prefer over a loaf. Thanks for posting the recipe.

    ( I cannot imagine acres and acres of lemon and orange trees).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am a lemon lover, and the cake sounds utterly wonderful. I believe I might make it, one of these days.

    Another lemon recipe I adore was a “Mile High Lemon Chiffon Pie” that was always on the menu at Stone’s restaurant in Marshalltown Iowa. Marshalltown was about 30 minutes from my home town, and we went to the eye clinic there. After our appointment, we’d go to Stone’s and have the pie: the best, most lemony chiffon pie ever. It wasn’t a mile high, but it was higher than any pie I’ve seen.

    One day, I was remembering that treat, and it occurred to me: that recipe just might be on the internet. Here it is, complete with an anecdote or two.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have made it. And notice that it also can easily be halved if a smaller pie’s desired. I’ve done a half-filling in a smaller pie plate, and that give the same sort of height. But it’s so good, the full recipe’s the way to go.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. From now on at the fruit & vegetable stand, feeling the lemons, I’ll change my picture of a child “sitting under a lemon tree crying, and the dust mixed with his tears to make a miserable face” to one of a man who, like me, is warmed by the family stories, and the light, that his sister shares.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lemon is one of my favourite flavours. We have a Meyer Lemon Tree growing in our garden – it needs pampering and covering in the winter, but rewards us in February with a good amount of lemons. They are not as tart as “normal” lemons, but I’m thankful we can grow them here.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My mouth is watering after reading about this lemon cake. Meyer Lemons are not popular here; personally I do not ever remember seeing them in the store. Is there truly a huge difference in taste?

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    1. Quoting Wikipedia, “Meyer lemon fruits have a sweeter, less acidic flavour than the more common Lisbon or Eureka supermarket lemon varieties…It became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse during the rise of California Cuisine starting in the 1970s.” I guess that explains why they are so popular where I live!

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  6. I love the associations with your Father and Brother! You were a hard-working family! I’d love to be able to pick lemons! Your cake sounds delicious! A friend made a wonderful lemon, raspberries and cacao nibs cake for our concert on Saturday! It was so lemony!!

    Liked by 1 person

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