Annual Holiday Baking
Marisa Guerin, PhD - December 11, 2019
Since my blog-writing muse appears to be on vacation, I will content myself with posting a recipe for a favorite sweet treat. If you like the taste of sweet lemons, this one is for you. I adapted it from two different other recipes, one for wine cake and one for lemon cake...so nothing original here other than curiosity and a real appreciation for a great cake.
Enjoy your holidays!
(Marisa’s name for a triple-lemon hit to a vanilla cake)
1 Box French Vanilla Cake Mix
1 Box Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
Whatever the Cake mix calls for (3 eggs, oil, water)
About 3 large lemons for the squeezed juice and grated zest needed, more for decorating.
1) Pre-heat the oven according to cake mix package directions.
2) Make sure to grease/flour the pan well so that the cake unmolds easily. A good size regular bundt pan is a good choice.
3) Use box mix for French Vanilla cake with its stipulated oil, water, eggs. (I sometimes replace half the water with white wine – that’s optional.)
4) Add one package of Vanilla instant pudding to the other mix ingredients.
5) Increase liquid in the mix by ¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice, about one good sized lemon. You can grate the lemon peel and sprinkle the zest in, too.
6) Beat the batter according to cake mix directions, pour into pan and bake as directed.
7) Immediately upon taking the pan(s) out of the oven, place on a cooling rack which is also on top of baking sheet (to catch drippings); poke holes with wire or toothpick/skewer throughout the part of the cake that you can see before it is removed from the pan, and brush with lemon syrup mixture. (Directions below) Then carefully unmold the cake and place it right side up on the rack, on the baking sheet, and poke more holes and brush the rest of the syrup all over the cake.
8) When cake is cool, make lemon glaze (Directions below) and drizzle over the top and sides of the cake. Festive zip can be added in the way of golden sugar sprinkles, or chopped bits of caramelized ginger.
9) Bottom of cooled cake will be very moist, use care and a broad spatula when moving from rack to platter. Decorate platter with sliced lemons and fresh bay leaves or mint leaves, or whatever you have around that's pretty.
Lemon syrup: ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, dissolved in ¼ cup fresh lemon juice.
Lemon glaze: 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, mixed with 1 Tablespoon softened butter, gradually add 2-4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice until desired consistency, stir in 1-2 teaspoons grated lemon zest.
Watch carefully for balance between too thin and too thick - too thin will pour off the back of the spoon, too thick hardly drips off the spoon. You want medium, a glaze that moves very slowly down the sides of the cake when you drizzle it on. Don't have a pastry bag for drizzling the glaze? No worries, home-made version = spoon the glaze into a zip-lock plastic bag, snip tiny bit off one bottom corner, and use it as a pastry bag.