“How will I east cake if my head is over there and my hands are over here?”- Marie Antoinette
I LOVE to bake. I find it calming and enjoyable. There is something methodical and comforting about combining simple ingredients and ending up with a sweet masterpiece that will (hopefully) be enjoyed by everyone. Baking is also a challenge, if you skip a step or cut corners you risk ending up with a disappointing concoction. It’s simple chemistry. Don’t get me wrong, I am no Julia Child, my biscuits are hockey pucks no matter how little I touch the dough. Yet I can bang out a pie crust no problem (I will master the biscuits some day!).
Yesterday I couldn’t sleep after a night shift so I started flipping through my cook books with the intention of bringing something sweet to my sweet co-workers. My Smitten Kitchen cookbook turned up the perfect challenge- a citrus olive oil loaf. Loaves can be tricky business, over bake them and they dry out. Under bake them and they collapse…. dun, dun, dun.
The recipe called for grapefruit but low and behold I didn’t have any and I sure wasn’t going to run to the grocery store in my pj’s post nights. I did have half a dozen lemons so I improvised. The cake was moist, the crust was perfectly browned and the flavour was impressive. I would make it again and everyone who tasted it enjoyed it as well. Next time I will try grapefruit! Happy chemistry/ baking all!
Lemony Loaf (adapted from D Perleman’s Smitten Kitchen)
1.5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tbs of freshly grated zest (I used lemon, she suggested grapefruit..yum!)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar (this stuff is the bomb!)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs (room temp)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs fresh lemon juice (or grapefruit!)
1/3 cup plain yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream (whatever you got!)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbs sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (or grapefruit)
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp of vanilla
pinch of salt
In a bowl combine both sugars and add citrus zest. Mix with hands, rubbing zest and sugar together to release essential oils (this will smell AMAZING!). Whisk in eggs and oil, continue to whisk ’till smooth. Pour into sugar/zest and stir. In another bowl sift dry ingredients together. In second bowl combine lemon juice, dairy and vanilla until just mixed. Alternate dry ingredients and wet ingredients into sugar/oil mixture starting with dry ingredients and ending with dry ingredients (remember that chemistry stuff I was talking about…dry, mix, wet, mix, dry, mix, wet, mix, dry and then finally mix once more). Pour into a buttered and floured 9×5 loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 45mins to 1 hour, until tester or toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10 min or so in the pan before removing. While cooling make syrup by combining sugar and juice in a small sauce pan and simmering until sugar is dissolved. When cake is out of pan, poke top with a toothpick and spoon syrup over top of cake while still warm.
Combine glaze ingredients and whisk well. When cake is syrup-ed and fully cooled, drizzled glaze over top and serve! My glaze looks thicker than it probably should be…I was rushing and cooled my cake in the freezer (bad idea…please avoid this step) so they glaze didn’t drizzle very well!