Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TWD: Lemon-Drenched Vanilla(ish) Cakes


The really awesome Wendy of pinkstripes chose this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe, Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes. Both "rum-drenched" and "vanilla cakes" sounded great to me in a vacuum, but after years of trying, really trying, to like boozy desserts, I've finally accepted that I'm just destined to be a dessert teetotaler. If I like a cake with rum in it, you can be sure that would like the cake without rum in it even better. Therefore, I decided to skip the rum and instead go with the lemon variation suggested by Dorie.

I was so happy to see that this was a loaf cake, and a simple one at that. My other baking project over the weekend was to try to make a chocolate swiss roll cake that looked like a lightsaber - a test run for my son's birthday in a couple of weeks. I'd never made a roll cake before, or used rolled fondant for that matter. Suffice it to say that after my practice round I am not brimming with confidence about my ability to pull off the edible lightsaber under pressure. I've got the bakery on speed dial, just in case. But a loaf cake? That I could do.

This cake is hand mixed -- no mixer required. That endeared the cake to me immediately, especially because my beloved Kitchen Aid started to make some ugly squeaking noises during the lightsaber batter mixing. I don't even want to think about My Precious conking out on me, and since this cake was mixed by hand, for five minutes I didn't have to. This is a straight up mixing process -- combine the dry ingredients, whisk eggs into sugar (since I was doing the lemon version, I first rubbed lemon zest into the sugar), add vanilla (Dorie says that the rum/vanilla version depends on the "very best vanilla you could find" - presumably vanilla beans from Tahiti or Madagascar, but since I was just doing the modified lemon version, I went with the very best vanilla I could find in my pantry - Kirkland Signature Pure Vanilla Extract from Costco), then whisk in heavy cream. Finally, add in the dry ingredients and fold in melted and cooled butter. Pour into a loaf pan and bake.

After the cake is out of the oven, poke a bunch of holes in it with a skewer or something similar, and then brush the cake with a simple syrup of sugar, water, and, (for the lemon version I did) lemon juice. I've never drenched a cake before - it was tons of fun!


The results? Wow, we really love this cake. The crumb is exactly as Dorie describes - tight, compact and sturdy, but still soft and moist. The lemon flavor here was fabulous - I LOVED how the lemon syrup infused the cake with extra tartness. This cake is delicious enough to stand on its own, but it would also be great with berries and cream, lemon curd, etc. It's been a while since I made the French Yogurt Cake, another lemon cake that we adored around here, so I can't really say which is better. But it would be hard to beat this one for the total "simplicity and pure deliciousness" package.

Run, don't walk, to Wendy's blog to read more about this cake (and tons of other fabulous creations) and for a daily dose of fun and adventure. Great pick, Pink!

20 comments:

Sweet and Savory said...

Another lemon person here. I like a cake that has variety that works.

Kayte said...

Looks really great, even without its light saber clothes. Nothing wrong with a naked cake, that's for sure...your flavor combo sounds wonderful and I will use that as I am making it again for picnics this weekend (it makes two cakes at the same time, two picnics...perfect), and this time, it will be booze free for the under 18 crowd. Yep, going with your suggestions. Thanks. Any preview photos of the light saber cake yet?

Mary said...

I made the lemon version too. Can't wait to see what you make for your son's birthday.

Audrey said...

Maybe you could convince your son (and his friends and his friends' friends) that lightsabers are SO last year and all the coolest people do battle with lemon cake. I love lemon cake, and no disrespect to Wendy, but I would have gone for the lemon too. (And best wishes to Precious. My KA is at least 20 years old (more, I think), and still running strong. It has been named Snoopy because my nephew noticed a certain resemblance (he was right!) I just know it's going to pass away quietly (or not so quietly) one of these days. I'm terrified that it has heard me say that I wouldn't mind one of the new colors (the copper one...oooh.) No, there, there, honey, I didn't mean it. White is SO pretty! I love you in white!

Nickki said...

I really will have to make the lemon version of this cake, it sounds and looks delicious! I skipped the rum but still loved this recipe. A keeper!

Di said...

I loved the rum version, but after reading your post and Nancy's, I want to try the lemon one, too. Good luck with the light saber cake!

jillbert said...

Gotta love an easy dessert that isn't shaped like anything but a loaf!

Leslie said...

I'm trying to wrap my head around the light saber cake. You are a much better mom than I would have been! Your cake looks delicious. We loved Dorie's French yogurt cake and if this one is that good, I must make the lemon variation.

Amanda said...

Holy cow- I can't believe you are trying the light saber cake.... What next? A grotto? :-)

Katrina said...

Mmm, lemon! I went with just vanilla bean, everyone loved this. (I'd rather have chocolate. ;)

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Your lemon version looks much better than mine turned out - more compact in the crumb. I used to make a cake-mix lemon pound cake and drenched it with a lemon glaze made from just lemon juice and sugar. I think I'll use that glaze next time (tempted to use the cake mix too, but will resist that one.)

Good luck with the light saber project; the things we get ourselves into, right?

Peggy said...

Cathy it looks delicious. So moist looking. I would love a piece right now with my tea for a morning pick me up! You seem to always have more fun adventures in your life than a pirate at sea! Love your cake.

Lauryn said...

Your cake looks perfect! So glad you enjoyed it so much! I am also not the biggest fan of boozy desserts. I guess I prefer to drink my alcohol, not eat it!

Pamela said...

Good luck with the lightsaber cake! Post pics. If you're successful, I know Vincent would love one! I might have to follow in your foot steps, might Jedi cake baker. ;o)
I didn't bake with TWD this week, so I didn't know there was a lemon option. Sounds better than the rum one to me!

Maria said...

I haven't made this one. Would be good with berries:)

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AmyRuth said...

Shucks Cathy, its late and I getting hungry hanging around your cake so I had better get a drink of water and head to bed. Just sayin that cake really sounds good. I love lemon, well I love chocolate too but I love that you drenched with lemon. Sounds like I should give it a whirl. Nice.
AmyRuth

TeaLady said...

Looks perfect. This was a very good cake. I loved the flavor - lemon DRENCHED!!!

brooke said...

A hint of lemon can make a cake of anytime, twice as tempting.

Lovely
Brooke
http://www.momentsofelegance.com

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