Lemon Cake

In three nights I finished reading, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.  In the book, Rose (the young girl) and her mom cook in the kitchen together preparing recipes from The Joy of Cooking. I couldn't help but reminisce about myself as young as four in the kitchen with my mom baking birthday cake and brownies. Our kitchen Holy Grail was (and is) The Joy of Cooking. 

The story is about a girl who can taste the cook's/baker's emotions in the food they prepare. But, while reading it all I could think about was how badly I wanted to make a lemon cake with lots chocolate frosting, as yellow and fluffy as the cake on the cover. (scroll to the bottom for pictures)

look how good this cake looks!

Our 1971 Edition
complete with packing tape around
the binding

I had to do some searching for a good lemon cake recipe, but I finally settled on a Citrus Chiffon Cake out of The Gourmet Cookbook (joy's selection of lemon recipes was a little disappointing) This recipe calls for equal parts lemon and orange zest and only orange juice, but I took some liberty in the amounts of each.

The flavor and texture of the cake was just what I was looking for and I'm thankful that only citrus, butter and chocolate are what can be tasted and not the baker's feelings, I doubt they would taste quite as sweet ;)

Citrus Chiffon Cake
adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, 2004 Edition, page

  • 2 1/4 cups caked flour (sift before measuring)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 large eggs, separated (separate as well as you can, the white stringy part of the raw egg goes with the whites)
  • 6 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • 3 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cups juice (I only had enough lemon for 1/3 squeezed, strained lemon juice and the rest with natural Florida orange juice)
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and dust with flour, two 9" or 10" round cake pans.

Sift together flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl

Whisk together yolks, oil, zests, juice and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture and whisk until batter is smooth

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at the medium-high speed until they just hold soft peaks. Reduce speed to low and add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, two tbs at a time. Beat until whites just hold stiff, glossy peaks.

Stir 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then gently but thoroughly fold in the rest of the whites. Poor batter equally into the two pans.

Bake until cake is golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool cake completely in the pan on a rack. Turn cake out onto a serving plate and frost.

Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting
(bare with me, this is from memory so it's not exact....)

  • ~ 3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 1/2 cup half and half (or milk or heavy cream)
  • ~ 2 ounces "dark chocolate" chips or baking drops (about 68% cocoa)

Beat the butter, 3 cups confectioners sugar, vanilla, and half and half until it starts to get light. Add the rest of the confectioners sugar. 

Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl (about 3 10-second intervals, stirring every 10 seconds) Keep the mixer going and add in the melted chocolate. Beat on high speed until light and fluffy.

it's so spongy!

Thanks, Jen for the TCHO baking drops, they are absolutely perfect in the butter cream frosting.


Acceptance to Tante Marie's

Do you know what this is!? Well it's obvious by looking, but I had to take a picture- I'm so excited! It's an acceptance letter into Tante Marie's baking program, a six-month, part-time program which will allow me to continue working (and earning a living), while I finally take a significant step in pursuing my true passion.

At the end of September, expect this blog to have some changes as I begin documenting my experiences at Tante Marie's. There will be a lot of baking and a lot of story telling and I can not wait!