We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Delectable Lemon Cake (Gluten-Free and Traditional Recipes)

by Michelle

“I can resist anything except temptation.” ~Oscar Wilde

   I did it. I really did it. I converted my favorite Lemon Cake to Gluten-Free Lemon Cake. Oh yeah. High-five. Do a little dance, make a little love, get down tonight (why lyrics from KC and the Sunshine Band popped into my head at this very moment is scaring me to no end). I'm sure it is scaring you, too. Give me a moment to collect myself. ..............  There. All better.
   If I may just take a moment to brag here, I will share that not only did I make a beautiful Lemon Cake this week, I also made a gorgeous gluten-free Angel Food Cake. Come to my house where we make the noun party a verb. The making of that light as air cake will certainly be the star of an upcoming post. In the meantime, this week's love and adoration is directed at the ever versatile Lemon Cake.
   Lemon Cake is absolutely delicious served plain accompanied by herbal tea, brewed coffee, or for me, one of Linda's fabulous lattés. Trust me on this: the lemon cake makes a wonderful substitute for biscuits in any shortcake dessert. Serve generous slices of lemon cake with lemon curd (or lime curd  - yes, lemons and limes like each other) and perhaps raspberry sauce with a selection of fresh berries, and whipped cream. Employing an Isi Whip-It! for dispensing the whipped cream ratchets up the fun factor. Remember, we're making party a verb, which requires action and lots of it. So get busy, make some fun and squeeze the lemons (don't get too crazy though, remember to zest them first).

Delectable Lemon Cake
(Gluten-Free and Traditional)

   For easy entertaining, you can easily make the Lemon Cake a day ahead. My daughter thinks it tastes better on the second day. The Lemon Cake also freezes well (it's just so easy to get along with), just defer applying the Lemon Glaze until after the loaf is defrosted. To prepare for freezing, wrap cake in parchment paper, and then fold down the seams of foil like you're crimping a paper lunch bag, making sure the loaf is completely sealed. Freeze up to a month or two when properly wrapped. Defrost by placing the loaf on the kitchen counter for several hours or overnight (do not unwrap until the loaf is at room temperature), and then glaze before serving.
   For best results the butter, eggs, lemons and buttermilk should all be at room temperature. Please note, only organic buttermilk is gluten-free. If modified food starch in the ingredients or packaging, the product has gluten in it. You will need 8 to 11 lemons to yield 1/3 cup zest and a total of 1 cup lemon juice that is divided between the cake, syrup and glaze.

One medium-sized lemon will yield between 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice. Give the lemons a good scrub with a sponge doused with dish soap and  rinse and dry thoroughly before zesting. Finally, to get the most juice out of your lemons, before slicing the lemons open, roll each lemon between the palm of your hand and a hard surface, applying significant pressure. 
   I prefer to mix quick breads in a food processor. (Read more about this method in our Banana Bread post.) It is nearly impossible to overwork the ingredients in a food processor, and the loaves rise extra high in the oven. If you do not own a food processor, I have included the traditional method for mixing at the bottom of the post. This recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties! by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter New York, ©2001).
   Feel free to susbstitute your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour in lieu of the white rice flour, tapioca flour and potato starch listed below. You may omit the guar gum or xanthan gum if your mix includes it; otherwise add it to the recipe. For questions regarding gluten-free baking, please read our new post: Gluten-Free Baking Primer: From Alcohols and Vinegars to Flours and Starches.

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake:                         Traditional Lemon Cake:
2 cups (240g) white rice flour                    3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (85g) tapioca flour                        1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup (37g) potato starch                       1 tsp fine sea salt
1-1/2 tsps guar gum or xanthan gum
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt

Wet Ingredients for both versions (note: only organic buttermilk is gluten-free)
      You will need approximately 8 to 11 lemons for both the zest and juice.
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large, eggs at room temperature
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (9 small lemons produced exactly 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup organic buttermilk, at room temperature
3/4 tsp baking soda (1/2 tsp if you are making the Traditional Version) stirred together with 1 tsp vanilla extract

Lemon Syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Lemon Glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
3-1/2 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice

Special Equipment:
Food Processor: not mandatory, but sure nice
Microplane (or peeler or sharp knife)
Loaf pans (see below for dimensions)

Food Processor Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease, flour (all-purpose flour or tapioca flour), and line the bottom of two 11.75 x 4.25 x 2.25-inch loaf pans with parchment paper (purchased pans at IKEA). Or, grease, flour, and line the bottom of two 8.5 x 4.25 x 2.5-inch loaf pans with parchment paper.

2. Grate lemon zest from all the lemons using a microplane and set aside. (If you do not have a microplane, you can peel the lemons, carefully leaving the bitter white pith behind, and grind the lemon peels with the sugar until fine.) Juice lemons and set aside.

3. In a food processor, with a steel blade, process dry ingredients until mixed (about 30-60 seconds), remove from bowl and set aside. This will both mix the flours and sift them in one easy step.

4. In an empty bowl of the food processor, with a steel blade, process sugar and eggs for 60 seconds.
5. Add soft butter to sugar and egg mixture and process butter for an additional 60 seconds.
Let me count the ways I love my iPhone. I can even use it as a timer.
6. Add buttermilk, lemon juice, baking soda-vanilla mix, and zest and process for 10-15 seconds until combined.
7. Remove lid from food processor, pour all dry ingredients on top of wet ingredients, secure lid, pulse mixture 3 to 5 times until flour ingredients just disappear. Do not over mix batter.
8. Divide the batter evenly between pans, smooth the tops, and bake for approximately 40 to 45 minutes for the longer, thinner pans or about 1 hour for a traditional-sized loaf pan, until cake tester comes out clean.
9. To prepare the lemon syrup: Combine the sugar and the lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
10. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes, and then invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon or brush the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

11. To prepare the lemon glaze: Combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides. Let the glaze set.

Mixer Method:
1. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest.
2. Sift together the dry ingredients in a bowl. In another bowl, combine lemon juice, and the buttermilk. In a small cup, mix together the soda and the vanilla extract. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter (add the vanilla-soda mixture all at once), 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.

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it." ~Oscar Wilde

1 comment:

  1. A Gluten free dessert that looks good! Beautiful pictures too.


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