All content copyright Katrina Hall 2008 through 2025

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

buttermilk lemon cake

How can it be the last day of August already?  The last few months flew by, with me hobbling around with what I was told was gout, but tests confirmed it was not.  Still limping, but slowly able to walk further - to the store to buy ingredients for my daughter's favorite birthday cake!

Buttermilk Lemon cake is a combination of two recipes -  a sticky, lemony cake with a lemon glaze, and a creamy cream cheese and lemon frosting I usually top my carrot cakes with, and it is delicious!  I forgot to take a picture of the big cakes, but there was a tiny "extra" cake with the last of the batter.  I did a hasty piping and dollops of frosting, not so pretty, but it would have to do as an after picture.

Buttermilk Lemon cake

You can use a sheet pan, or several round pans.  Grease the pans and set aside.
Preheat oven to 325F.

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
3 cups sugar
zest of 2 lemons

Beat in mixer until blended and creamy, then add:

5 eggs
4 1/2 cups King Arthur flour, all purpose
1 teaspoon baking soa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Scrape the batter into the greased pans and bake - it usually takes an hour and ten minutes for mine.  The cake will be slightly brown on top and firm to the touch when you press the center gently.  Remove to wire racks to cool.  While cooling, make the lemon glaze:

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Place lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring the whole time, then take off heat to cool. 
If using a rectangular pan for the cake, cut the cake into equal rectangles or squares and let cool on a rack.  If using round pans, cool, run a knife around the edge, and very carefully unmold cake onto a wire rack.  Brush the lemon glaze on the cakes .

The Cream Cheese frosting:

In mixer bowl, place:

1 large package cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
juice of one lemon (about2-3 tablespoons)

Cream the ingredients, then slowly add:

1 box confectioner's sugar (or 3 1/2 cups loose confectioners sugar)

Pipe or spread on cooled cake, or cake pieces.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

polenta cakes with fresh tomatoes, scallions and basil

Hooray for tomato season!  Such a glorious assortment of sizes and shapes everywhere, from farmers markets to home gardens, to co-ops and grocery stores  - and because I'm without a garden this year, it's all the more thrilling.  I was hoping to make a tomato tart, but got blindsided with a gimpy ankle for a few days which kept me off my feet and away from the markets.  But I did have a stash of fresh herbs and baby tomatoes - and remembered those polenta cakes I used to make soooo......  I gave it a whirl, and was actually stunned when I unmolded the polenta cakes - they were so PRETTY!

This is such an easy, simple recipe, I'm sure you'll come up with some beautiful ideas of your own.  And don't forget, they're gluten free.

Polenta cakes with fresh tomatoes, scallions, and basil

First, you will need 6 of those little white souffle/dessert cups.  Drip a little olive oil in each one, and rub the oil on the bottoms and sides.  Set aside.

Tomato/herb mixture:

About 1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of chopped basil
2-3 tablespoons sliced scallion greens

Mix together the herbs and tomatoes and and sprinkle equal amounts on the bottoms of the souffle cups.  Set aside.

The polenta:

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup cold water
1/2 t. salt
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

Whisk the cornmeal into the cold water and set aside.

In a separate saucepan:

3 cups water, brought to a boil in a medium sauce pan

When the water is boiling, scrape the cold water and cornmeal into the hot water and whisk briskly.  If you want to, you can add 3/4 cup finely grated parmesan to the mixture.

Whisk the mixture until it makes plopping noises and bubbles.  Remove from heat.
Using a large spoon or a spring loaded ice cream scoop, fill the oiled cups right up to the top and smooth with another spoon.  Let cool for 25 minutes, run a knife around the lip of each cup, and unmold very carefully onto a platter or individual plates.

Serve at room temperature, along with a fresh green salad, some nice brie and rolls or good bread.  Yummers!

And that gimpy foot?  Turned out to be gout, of all things, which runs in my family.
No more sardines, chicken, hamburgers, tunafish, or mackerel - or gelato, either. Not for a while, anyway.   Hope you're having a glorious summer!