I started making this cake for my (former) sister-in-law’s birthday twenty years ago. It’s become a tradition for Easter as well. While I’m not a baker, this recipe is easy and, essentially, fail proof. The original recipe is from the Silver Palate Cookbook, but I’ve adapted it a bit – particularly the glaze. This is not a light and fluffy cake, it’s a dense and rich cake. This time around, I made a lavender whipped cream to accompany the cake. I have some lavender syrup which came from a fantastic store Up Home in Pennsylvania http://www.uphomeltd.com/ . If I were serving the cake, I would have drizzled each slice with a bit of the lavender syrup (it is divine), but I sent the cake whole and didn’t want to part with my lavender syrup. It has always been my tradition to decorate the cake with edible flowers, usually pansies, but since it is mid-August, and because I was using the lavender, I decorated it with lavender and lemon balm. You could also use thin lemon slices.
INGREDIENTS (for the cake):
- 2 Sticks (1/2 lb.) sweet, unsalted, butter – softened
- 2 Cups Sugar
- 3 Eggs
- 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- 2 TBS. Lemon Zest – tightly packed
- 3 TBS. Fresh Lemon Juice
- Lemon Icing (see below)
Preheat oven to 350 Degrees. Grease a 10 inch tube or bundt pan. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (I use a handheld mixer but you could use a stand mixer, or do by hand). One at a time, beat in eggs until well combined.
Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk to better, alternating dry and wet, but beginning and ending with dry. Add lemon zest and juice and mix until well combined. Pour batter into greased pan. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Insert a toothpick into the center, and if it comes out clean, cake is done. Cool cake in the pat on a rack for 10 minutes and then flip onto a plate to remove the cake (you may have to gently tap around pan to release cake). Allow cake to cool before icing.
INGREDIENTS (for the Lemon Glaze):
- 3/4 Stick Sweet (unsalted) Butter – melted and cooled
- 3+ Cups Confectioners Sugar
- 2 TBS. Lemon Zest
- 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
In a medium sized non-reactive bowl, combine melted butter and confectioners sugar, whisk until there are no lumps. Check for desired thickness (I like more of a thin glaze, but if you like a thicker icing, add more sugar). Add lemon zest and juice. Place foil or parchment paper pieces around the edge of the cake plate to catch excess glaze (there will be a lot). Spoon glaze on top of cake so that it can run down both the inside and outside of the cake. I usually don’t glaze the inside as much as the outside. Keep spooning glaze over (move the outer edge to get good coverage for the outside of the cake). Once you have finished glazing the cake, remove you tin foil or parchment paper “catchers” and wipe plate of any excess frosting that may have gotten through. Decorate with edible flowers or thin lemon slices (pictures here include: lavender and lemon balm, and pansies, but nasturtiums are another good option).
Serve with whipped cream (or Lavender Whipped Cream- see below).
INGREDIENTS: (Whipped Cream):
- 1 Pint of Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 TBS. Lavender Syrup (substitute 1 TBS. Vanilla (or other) Extract if you don’t have Lavender Syrup)
Put a small metal bowl and the beater attachments for an electric mixer, or a whisk, in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. (The key to achieving great whipped cream, as opposed to butter, is to keep everything very cold). When ready to prepare the whipped cream, remove items from freezer, add whipped cream and flavors to the bowl and begin whipping immediately. Whip until desired consistency is achieved. You can also assure that your mixture is cold whipped by putting a smaller bowl, containing cream, atop a larger bowl of ice water.