All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2018

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

sticky lemon cake for Julia

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!

To make:

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.



La Table De Nana said...

It's so pretty! I just just made a pound cake with a pansy:)

Laura Dembowski said...

This looks beautiful. I love cakes topped with glaze, I freeze almost all my desserts. Some are even better after spending a little time in the freezer.

katrina said...

Funny, Nana - I almost made a pound cake instead! Pansies are such beautiful flowers - and you have such a flair with decoration...

Laura - many thanks for the kind words. One of the nice things about freezing cakes or muffins and cookies is I forget they're there, so when I'm in need of a sweet treat - just check the freezer:)

Kate said...

Such a pretty cake and sweet (thoughtful) post, Katrina.
I just won Minette's Feast from Eileen at Tastefully Living. It's a delightful book about Julia and her cat Minette.
The cake is a fitting tribute!
I love the 6" wedding cake layer sized pan. Those cakes are such a great size.. always look extra special. Would you say the batter must go in two layers? I only have 1 pan and wonder if all the batter will fit, or if I should halve the ingredients?

katrina said...

Kate- I hadn't heard of Minette's Feast - now there are TWO new books about Julia for me to read! Thanks for letting us know...

I think there is a wee bit more batter than will fit in the one pan. When I have more batter than I need, I butter a few ramekins and bake a few tiny cakes for the freezer or a few special children or grown ups, perfect for a little treat. The batter should come up to about halfway, maybe a little more, but barely. The cakes do rise quite a bit.

Thanks for swinging by - nice to meet you!