Friday, April 10, 2009

Fabulous Lemon Cake

I have made this recipe 3 times now, and every time I make it I get rave reviews (granted, twice it was for the same people, but that's because they asked me to make it again). It really is delicious. Very moist and full of lemon flavor. My husband and I were trying to figure out why people like this so much, and I've decided that it's because it's different from your everyday dessert. I mean, how often do you eat a dessert of just lemon?

A few tips of mine. The recipe calls for 6 to 8 lemons, but I only use 4. It gives me all of the zest I need and all of the juice I need. I use 1/4 cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water in the syrup, and I don't feel obligated to use all of the syrup on the cake. I do think it helps to make the cake really moist so I wouldn't omit it. But just use your best judgment of how much it needs when it comes to spooning it on the cake.

Oh yeah, one more thing. If I need it for a luncheon, I make the cakes the night before and put the syrup on. Then the next morning I add the glaze and let it set. It tastes just as good as it would have if it had been baked fresh that morning, but it saves a whole lot of time and stress in the morning!

Lemon Cake from Barefoot Contessa Parties!


* 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
* 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
* 3 cups flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
* 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

* 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
* 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rice Pudding

We had some milk that needed to be used up, so I decided to make some rice pudding. I looked at a few different recipes and couldn't find one that was exactly what I wanted so I improvised. I already had some cooked rice so that had to be a key ingredient. I also wanted to have more of a custard pudding, so adding an egg was the trick there.

I was very pleased with the rice pudding in the end. It was very thick, rich, and creamy. The second day we added a little milk to loosen it up and it was just as tasty. My husband and I ate it all up so fast (2 days when it should have taken us a week) that I didn't even get a picture!

Rice Pudding

3 ½ cups cooked rice, at room temperature
2 ½ cups whole milk
1 ½ cups half and half
1 cup cream
2/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten well
1 ½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup raisins

Combine rice, milk, half and half, cream, sugar and salt in a large heavy pot. Cook over medium high heat until mixture begins to simmer, stirring continuously. Reduce heat so that the mixture is at a low simmer, continuing to stir until mixture becomes thickened (about 25 minutes). Add beaten egg very slowly and mix well to combine. Simmer for another minute. Add vanilla, cinnamon and raisins and stir well. Pour into a bowl, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or chilled.