I turned 24 last Friday! And in keeping with tradition, I made my own cake. Unfortunately, I didn't have the time (or occasion, really) to make the chocolate quinoa cake that Julie shared not too long ago, but instead made Gwendolyn's glazed lemon cakes that I've been drooling over since the recipe first appeared in the Herald.
I know I joked last year that birthdays are supposed to be about reckless abandon, but I couldn't help but swap out a bit of flour for some whole wheat. Still, the batter was as fluffy as a cloud, and the cakes were light, with a delicate crumb.
The cakes themselves just had a kiss of lemon flavour, the perfect foil for the tart glaze. By itself, I thought the glaze tasted too much like icing sugar, and I actually had to add more lemon juice than was called for in the recipe to get the right consistency. When spread on top of the cakes, however, the lemon flavour simply shone through.
And my birthday itself? I brought the lemon cakes with me to a hectic shift at the hospital - it was a welcome treat when I finally had time to sit down and eat at 2 p.m., and the few coworkers who tried a cake seemed to enjoy them too. My parents came home from vacation and we went out for sushi. On Saturday I brought the rest of the cakes to a friend's housewarming party - they have a beautiful home (with a gigantic couch) in one of the new communities at the edge of the city, around a fake lake. It was a quiet, uneventful weekend, and I fretted about it a little bit, but in reality, it was just what I needed after a hectic month.
Glazed Lemon Cakes
Adapted from Patent in the Pantry, who adapted it from Everyday Food
Makes 12 cakes (Recipe doubles easily, which is what I did to make one cake for every year!)
- ½ cup (1 stick/125 mL/113 g) butter, softened
- 1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
- ½ cup (125 mL) plain yogurt, or low-fat buttermilk
- 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- 1 cup (250 mL) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
- 1½ cups (375 mL) icing sugar
Nutrition Info (per cake): 266 calories, 8 g fat (5 g saturated), 56 mg cholesterol, 45 g carbohydrate (1 g fibre, 32 g sugar), 3 g protein, 154 mg sodium. A good source of folate (as a result of fortification) and selenium.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin tin (or 6-cup jumbo muffin tin). In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. In a small bowl or a measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, vanilla and lemon zest and juice of 1 lemon. Set aside.
- With an electric mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk mixture.
- Divide evenly among muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centre of a cake comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in tin, then cool completely on a rack.
- Set rack over wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice into icing sugar until smooth - you may need to add more lemon juice to achieve desired consistency. Using a butter knife, spread a generous layer of glaze on top of each cake. Let set for at least 30 minutes.