Monday, March 24, 2008

Lemon Loaf Cake

Click any photo for larger.

Working my way through Pierre Herme's book I have begun with farily simple cakes, and this one was simple but delicious. The prep method was very similar to the Ligurian cake, with a few ingredient changes. I had never made a loaf cake before, but will certainly do so again.

For this one you need:
  • 2-2/3 cups cake flour (I used regular all purpose flour and it worked fine - perhaps the cake would have been fluffier or something with cake flour, I don't know)
  • 3/4 teaspoon double acting baking powder (I used plain old baking powder)
  • Zest of 3 lemons finely chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs at room temp
  • 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream (I used heavy cream)
  • 3.5 tablespoons rum (and more to taste)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temp

Pre heat your oven to 350, and butter the inside of two loaf pans - then dust them with flour and set aside, on top of TWO baking sheets. I don't know why this was done, I assume so the bottom of the cakes don't get scorched.

Sift the baking powder and flour together and set aside. Put the zest into a large bowl with the sugar and press between your fingers until the zest and sugar are incorporated - this makes your kitchen smell great. Add the eggs to this sugar mixture and mix. Pierre says to us a wisk, but I used my electric hand mixer. Then add the cream, rum and salt and mix each ingredient as you do so. Finally, add the flour in four additions, mixing the batter until the flour is incorporated each time. Lastly add the butter in two or three additions, again incorporating it into the batter each time. Here is my youngest helping out. I swear she will be a cook someday.

And here is the finished batter, a lovely silky texture.
Immediately pour the batter into the two loaf pans and put into the oven for 55 minutes at 350. Here is the finished product - the top is supposed to split.

A suggestion Pierre provides is to brush a simple syrup of water and sugar and lemon juice heated until the suger dissolves on top of the cakes when they come out - I did that too.

And here is the inside - perfect! All around the loaf cake there developed a wonderful crust.
And I took Jonathan's advice and made my whipped cream with honey and lemon juice this time instead of sugar. At first I didn't like it as well, but as I ate I enjoyed it more. I think this is because I went into this thing with expectations of what whipped cream is supposed to taste like. Next time I will probably put more honey in there.


Jonathan said...

This looks really good.

jonathan said...

BTW, what about using lemon zest instead of or in addition to lemon juice in the whipped cream? I wonder if that would improve the taste.

Dan from Madison said...

I will try it with zest next time - I bet the flavor will be more intense. This cake is truly outstanding, I will for sure be making it again.