Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake

This cake was a few different things before it finally came to be a Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake. First I thought of making a raspberry crumb cake, then I thought of omitting the crumb part and making a raspberry cake with a cream cheese icing drizzle, this is where the lemon came in and I thought of a lemon raspberry cake, then it was a loaf cake and ultimately it became a Bundt cake. While initially I was thinking of sticking with the cream cheese icing drizzle I decided to pass on it so the cake wouldn’t end up being super-sweet. Did you get all that? Long story short… I ended up making a delicious lemon tinged cake that was filled with perfectly sweet raspberries.

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To make the batter I began by creaming together butter and sugar until it was light and fluffy. Following that I added six eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each addition and finally I added in vanilla extract. I put that aside for a moment and in a medium sized bowl I whisked together flour, baking soda and salt. With my mixer set to a lower speed I then added in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with lemon Greek Yogurt.

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And finally I folded in the juice and zest of one lemon and fresh raspberries which I dredged in flour – dredging the berries in flour prevents them from falling to the bottom of the batter while baking.

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I then poured the batter into a Bundt pan which I sprayed with baking spray and baked it in a 325 F preheated oven.

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After about 50 minutes the cake was ready to come out of the oven.

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I let it rest in the pan for about 20 minutes and then inverted it onto a wire rack so it could cool completely.

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Once cooled, I couldn’t wait to slice into the cake and enjoy a slice, and I wasn’t disappointed, it was absolutely delish. Just the right amount of lemon flavor and the berries were definitely a nice complement to the citrus flavor. And just as important… It was perfectly moist!

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Lemon & Raspberry Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

6 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup lemon Greek yogurt*

zest and juice from one lemon

2 cups raspberries, dredged in 2 tablespoons of flour

*I used 2 5.3-ounce containers of Chobani Greek Lemon Yogurt. You can also substitute with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Prep the Bundt pan by spraying it with baking spray or coating it with butter and then dusting it with flour.

2. Using a mixer beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy – about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

4. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the flour mixture in three parts alternating with the yogurt. Mix until just combined.

5. Fold in the raspberries, lemon zest and juice and then transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 – 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

6. Place the cake on a wire rack and let it cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before inverting and letting it cool completely.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

When it comes to pancakes I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I’ll take plain old regular pancakes or buttermilk ones over any flavor (i.e. banana, pumpkin, corn, etc…) or additions (i.e. chocolate chips) – although blueberry pancakes are quite delish! A few years ago though I decided to try Lemon Ricotta Pancakes at a wonderful breakfast spot in Brooklyn – Tom’s Diner – and was instantly hooked. I don’t know what it is about this particular flavor that makes them so delicious – the hint of lemon, the swirl of ricotta cheese, or the combination of both – but they are definitely one pancake everyone should try. And while there are recipes for pancakes made from scratch I opted to make these pancakes using store-bought pancake mix… short-cuts aren’t always a bad thing. And with Easter just around the corner these would be perfect addition or main dish for your Easter breakfast or brunch.

To begin I whisked together pancake mix, milk and lemon oil (I didn’t have any lemons on hand to zest.) Some things to note, I used Aunt Jemima Complete Pancake Mix and while it calls for water to be used with the mix I always opt to use milk for richer tasting and fluffier pancakes. Also, the equivalent of lemon oil to lemon zest is 1/4 teaspoon vs. 1 tablespoon.

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I then folded in the ricotta cheese; folding in the ricotta helps to maintain the texture of the cheese and allows the ricotta to swirl into the batter.

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I’ll admit I’m not the best pancake maker. Usually the first one I pour into the pan is my “test” one that gets thrown out. I just haven’t mastered getting the pan to the right heat. This time around I almost nailed it.

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After topping my short-stack with syrup…

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It was time to enjoy them!

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes*

Makes 5 4-inch pancakes

Ingredients:

1 cup pancake mix (I used Aunt Jemima complete)

3/4 cup milk (I used 2%)

1 tablespoon lemon zest (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil)

1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

Directions:

1. Whisk together the pancake mix, milk, and lemon oil (or zest) then gently fold in the ricotta cheese.

2. Spoon approximately 1/4 cup (I used an ice cream scoop) of the batter onto a lightly buttered pan or griddle heated over medium-heat.

3. Cook until bubbles form on the surface and then flip and cook for another minute or two until golden.

*This recipe can easily be doubled.

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake

Key limes weren’t the only citrus fruits I picked up on a recent grocery trip; I also came across some Meyer lemons. I’m always on the lookout for fruits or vegetables that are not your typical everyday kind. So, what exactly is a Meyer Lemon? Well, it’s a cross between your basic lemon and either a mandarin or a common orange. They also have a sweeter and less acidic taste than your typical lemon. One other characteristic that sets them apart is their thin skin. I wasn’t all that sure what I was going to make with them. I began by searching for specific Meyer lemon recipes but I wasn’t all that thrilled with what I came up. I also searched through some of my cookbooks but to no avail of something that really stood out. So, I made my search simpler and just went with a basic lemon search and came across Ina Garten’s (aka The Barefoot Contessa) Lemon Yogurt Cake. The reviews for the cake were good so I just went ahead and swapped out the regular lemons for the Meyer lemons.

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As you can see from the picture below the Meyer lemons are also a bit rounder and the yellow-orange coloring of their skin lets you know they are perfectly ripe

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I began by zesting two of the lemons…

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And then squeezing the juice of three of the lemons to get a little more than a 1/3 of cup of juice. Their skins are so thin that a few of the halves ripped a bit while I was squeezing.

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In one bowl I sifted together flour, baking powder and salt.

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In the bowl of my stand mixer I whisked together whole milk yogurt, sugar, eggs, the lemon zest, and vanilla extract.

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I then slowly whisked in the dry ingredients.

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And finally I used a rubber spatula to fold in vegetable oil.

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Then it was time to pour the batter into my prepared loaf pan. I sprayed it with baking spray and then lined the bottom with parchment paper which I then sprayed with some more baking spray.

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I then placed the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 50 minutes. While the cake was in the oven I cooked an equal part of lemon juice and sugar (1/3 cup each) until the sugar dissolved and the mixture was clear and set it aside.

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After the letting the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes I inverted it onto a wire rack which I had placed over a baking sheet. After poking the cake a few times I poured the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allowed it to soak in while the cake cooled.

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Once the cake was completely cooled I moved it to a platter in preparation to drizzle it with a lemon glaze, which I made by mixing confectioners’ sugar and a few tablespoons of lemon juice.

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The final product. I should note that the recipe called for an 8.5 x 4.25 x 2.5 inch pan, which I don’t have, so I used my 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inch pan which resulted in a cake that was a bit wider and shorter but not lacking in deliciousness.

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This cake was absolutely divine. I thought it was going to be on the sweeter side because of the glaze and lemon and sugar juice poured over it but it only enhanced the flavor. I was extremely happy with it and can’t wait to make it again.

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Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake – adapted from here

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 1/3 cups sugar, divided

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons grated Meyer lemon zest (2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then grease the pan again.

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil in the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

3. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolved and the mixture is clean. Set aside.

4. When the cake is done, allow it cool in the pain for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the cake.

 

Lemon, Berries & Cream… Oh My!

Back in the fall I made a cake that I coined the Quintessential Fall Birthday Cake– an Apple Walnut Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (YUM!) – and recently I made a cake that could quite possibly be the Quintessential Summer Birthday Cake. A 4-tier lemon cake layered with pastry cream and topped with fresh berries (Delish!)
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Since the pastry cream needed to be refrigerated for at least 2 hours before using it I began this cake by cooking up 2 batches of it. I gathered up my ingredients (egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and vanilla extract) and whisked together the eggs yolks in one bowl and in another cooked the sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk until the mixture thickened and was bubbling. I then poured about a third of the milk mixture in with the eggs to temper them. Once the eggs were tempered I pour them back into the remaining milk mixture on the stove and whisked the mixture constantly until the cream came together. I removed the cream from the heat and added in the vanilla extract.
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Following that I strained the cream through a sieve and then placed a piece of parchment paper right on top of it prior to refrigerating it. I had never made pastry cream before and was concerned this wouldn’t come out well, especially with tempering the eggs, but, it came out perfectly and I probably could have easily eaten the whole bowl it was so good.
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While the pastry cream was chilling I began to work on the Lemon Cake – a 1-2-3-4 Lemon Cake. A 1-2-3-4 Cake is an old-fashioned cake that gets its name from the list of ingredients – one cup butter, two cups sugar, three cups flour and four eggs. First up I sifted together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. I actually sifted the flour twice as I first sifted it to get the 3 cups I needed and then sifted it again along with the other ingredients.
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In the bowl of my stand mixer I beat butter until it was softened and then gradually added in sugar until it was pale and fluffy.
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And then the eggs.
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Next up I added in the flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk.
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And finally I beat in vanilla extract and lemon zest.
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I divided the batter evenly between two 8-inch pans – which I prepped with baking spray and parchment paper – and baked it for about 45 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven, rotating halfway through.
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After letting the cakes cool 15 minutes in the pans I then removed them and let them cool completely on wire racks.
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In preparation to assemble the cake I split the two cooled cakes into four with a cake leveler and then whisked together the chilled pastry cream.
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After assembling the cake – I spread about a cup of pastry cream between each layer – I chilled it in the refrigerator for about an hour so the pastry cream could set and so I wouldn’t end up with a cake that had layers sliding all over the place.
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While it chilled I rinsed and dried the berries I would be using – strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
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To make sure the berries would stay put on top of the cake I spread a layer of pastry cream on the top tier and then placed the berries on top of it.
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This cake was delicious… The three flavors worked so well together and I can definitely see myself making it again before the cold weather begins to creep in in a few months.
 
Makes about 3 cups
Ingredients:
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
Pinch of salt
2 cups milk
1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Whisk egg yolks until smooth in a large bowl. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan, and heat over medium. Stirring constantly, gradually ass milk in a slow, steady stream, and cook until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
2. Whisking constantly, slowly pour one third of the milk mixture into egg yolks. Pour mixture into remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil and is thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
3. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap, pressing it directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days.)
 
Ingredients:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons (I used one lemon so the cake wouldn’t be too “lemony”)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter two 8-by-2 inch round cake pans; line with parchment rounds, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. (I used two 8-by-3 inch pans and used baking spray instead of butter and flour.) Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
2. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add granulated sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of bowl once or twice. Gradually add eggs; beat until incorporated after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl once or twice.
3. Slowly add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of buttermilk; beat until just combined. Beat in vanilla and lemon zest.
4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake, rotating halfway though, until a cake tester comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Transfer pans to wire racks to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks to cool completely.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I recently went to Georgetown Cupcake – if you haven’t tried them and you get the opportunity to do so definitely do it, even if you have to wait on a ridiculously long line – to get some cupcakes and while I was there I picked up one of their menus. While they have staple cupcakes they make every day they also have a daily (and monthly) rotating schedule of specialty flavors that they offer as well. One of those specialty flavors is a Lemon Berry cupcake – a lemon and raspberry cupcake with a raspberry frosting topped with a candied lemon – which gave me the idea for a basic lemon cupcake with a raspberry whipped cream frosting which then turned into a raspberry cream cheese frosting. I could have sworn I had a recipe for lemon cupcakes among my recipe stash, but, I couldn’t find one so I turned to Allrecipes to do so. I like using recipes from their website since you can scale them down to whatever serving size you need. After reading through a few recipes I settled on one submitted by Megan C. that was initially scaled for twenty-four cupcakes and I scaled down to twelve. The directions also have a recipe for a Blackberry Buttercream which sounds pretty good as well.

I started by assembling all of my ingredients for the cupcakes: sugar, butter, an egg, vanilla extract, flour, baking powder, milk and a lemon.

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Using a Microplane I grated half of the lemon to get the zest and then squeezed it to get the juice.

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To make the batter I started off by creaming together the sugar and butter and then adding in the egg.

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Once the egg was mixed in well I added in the vanilla extract.

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Next up the flour.

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Then the milk, lemon zest and juice.

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Now it was time to spoon the batter into my prepared cupcake tin. While I did scale the recipe down for twelve cupcakes the batter definitely didn’t look like it was for twelve decent sized cupcakes so while I normally use my ice cream scoop to spoon the batter into the cupcake tins I opted to use my cookie scoop instead so I could be sure to have enough batter for twelve. As you can see the liners were barely halfway filled.

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After baking for 20 minutes in a 350 degrees F preheated oven they were done. As I suspected, the cupcakes by no means baked-up to fill the entire liner. Oh well, at least I know for next time that if I am going to make twelve I should scale the recipe to make eighteen cupcakes.

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While the cupcakes cooled I got to making the frosting.

As I mentioned before, I was initially planning on making a raspberry whipped cream frosting but decided to make a cream cheese frosting instead since I figured it would hold up better and be a little richer with the lemon cupcake. I actually didn’t follow a specific recipe for it since I’ve made cream cheese frosting quite a few times before and it’s fairly simple. I opted to cut back on the confectioners’ sugar so it wouldn’t be too sweet with the addition of the raspberry jam.

I started by creaming together one stick of unsalted butter and an 8oz. block of cream cheese with a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

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I then added in 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar.

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And finally 1/4 cup of seedless raspberry jam. It came out to be a nice shade of pink actually.

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Once the cupcakes were completely cooled I piped the frosting onto each of the cupcakes using a large star tip.

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Final verdict… They were quite yummy, especially the frosting. I plan on using it again for chocolate or vanilla cupcakes.

Lemon Cupcakes

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 lemon, juice and zest

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners

3. Cream sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.

4. Beat in flour and baking powder until thoroughly combined; beat in milk, lemon juice, and lemon zest to make a smooth batter.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups.

6. Bake in the preheated oven until cupcake edges are slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool cupcakes completely.

Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

Begin by creaming the cream cheese and butter together and then add in the vanilla extract. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and add in the confectioners’ sugar, once the sugar is incorporated add in the raspberry jam and continue mixing on medium speed.