Yesterday was Julia Child's 100th birthday, had she lived to share the day. Because she meant so much to me, I wanted to make her a cake. I settled not on a recipe from her many and wonderful, read-in-the-middle-of-the-night cookbooks, but from a recipe I adored and had made many times. Sticky lemon cake is perky with lemon juice and zest, and just dandy any time of the day. Divine with sliced strawberries or blueberries, raspberries sprinkled on top; instead, I added a branch of rosemary ( for remembrance) and a tiny viola flower, in love and thanks. I chopped up a handful of pistachio nuts, just for the color and crunch but you can use berries instead. Happy Birthday, dearest Julia!
I used two small, 6 inch heavy wedding cake pans, greased with vegetable shortening (Crisco)
Preheat oven to 330F.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
zest of a lemon
2 extra large eggs
2 1/4 cups King Arthur flour, all purpose
1/2 t. baking soda
kosher salt or Vege-sal
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. chopped pistachios for garnish - or fresh berries
Cream the butter and sugar well, along with the lemon zest. Add the eggs and mix well, then add the flour, baking soda, salt,nutmeg, buttermilk, and fresh lemon juice.
Scrape into the cake pans, dividing equally, and smooth the tops. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until tops spring back gently when softly pressed with your fingertip.
Remove cake pans to cooling rack.
The lemon glaze:
While the cakes are cooling, make a lemon glaze:
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
Place in a small saucepan and stir, then heat until hot, and until sugar has melted. Remove from heat.
Run a dull knife around the sides of the cakes, then remove, top side up, to cooling rack. Brush with the glaze several times, then sprinkle with nuts or garnish with berries. Let set for at least 1/2 hour before cutting. This cake freezes well, so feel free to freeze one of the cakes for later. Just wrap firmly in double plastic wrap before setting in the freezer.