Friday, June 17, 2011

Liberation Lemon Cake

They got out today.

Packed their bags.
Loaded up the car.
Waved goodbye.
Turned the corner.
Hit the gas.
Didn't look back.

After over two and a half years of living on her own with my niece in the back bedroom and basement of her mother-in-law's house, my sister is headed home.  To her husband.   To a house that they own, with a real bedroom for her daughter.  To books and toys and dishes and favorite blankets that languished in storage until they were nearly forgotten.  To a new job, where they are overjoyed to have her.   To a life that, at long last, has a shot at normalcy.

Not a moment too soon.  She's got house guests coming on Monday!

Cream Cheese Lemon Cake
Move over, Miss Grace.  My sister has made her own amazing pound cake recipe even better, creating the moistest, tangiest version of a lemon cake I've ever tasted.   Great on its own, or even more decadent with fresh berries and a dose of fresh whipped cream.   Let freedom ring!

For cake:
1 1/2 c. butter, softened
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
3 c. sugar
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
zest of 1 lemon
6 eggs
2 c. cake flour
1 c. all purpose flour

For glaze:
Juice of 2 lemons (about 1/3-1/2 c.)
1 1/2-2 c. powdered sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Preheat oven to 325.   Butter a bundt pan and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.   Stir in the lemon juice, vanilla, and almond extract, then add the lemon zest.

Add the flour and the eggs alternately, beginning and ending with flour...first add 1 c. of the cake flour, then 3 eggs, then another 1 c. cake flour, then 3 eggs, then the all purpose flour.  Mix well after each addition, scraping down sides of the bowl to make sure the batter is completely combined and smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.   Do not overbake!  Cool in pan for about 5-10 minutes.

While cake is cooling, prepare glaze by whisking together the lemon juice and powdered sugar until smooth.  The mixture should be pourable in consistency, as opposed to spreadable.  You will want it to soak into the cake.

Invert cake onto serving platter.  It should still be quite warm.   Carefully spoon the glaze over the cake, scooping up any extra that drips off and re-applying.

Allow to cool for another few minutes, then dust with powdered sugar.  As it cools, this dusting of sugar will enhance the formation of a lemony crust all over the cake.

Cut into wedges and serve!

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