Recipe by cookiedog
It doesn't rise much... the beauty in this cake is its flavor. It made one loaf cake for me and 3 mini loaves. I had planned on bringing the large loaf to my neighbor but decided against it. Not because I wanted it all to myself (which I did)... but because I dropped it half way through the baking time as I rotated it in my oven. Luckily it landed right side up. And lucky for my dogs the whole middle section of the cake shooted out from the pan and landed on my checkered linoleum floor upon impact. I quickly put what remained back in the oven and guarded the hot batter from my dogs until it was cool enough for them to eat. They lapped every last bit up and I was able to present 2 mini loaves (untouched by dogs) to my neighbor and I have a loaf resembling a lemony grand canyon waiting for me for breakfast. I found this on Joy the Baker's Blog (who suggests doubling the syrup) and she credits Dorie Greenspan.
Top Review by JustJim
Very nice! I made this yesterday afternoon and it is delicious. I had some thick cream left over, so I served it with a dollop and a cup of good coffee. I actually halved all the cake ingredients and only made one, but used the full syrup ingredients (effectively doubling the syrup) and the cake soaked it all up like a sailor on shore leave!
For the Cakes
- 2 2⁄3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 1⁄3 cups sugar
- 1⁄2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved or 1 1⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
- 2⁄3 cup heavy cream
- 2 lemons, zest of, finely grated
- 15 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the syrup
- 1⁄3 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 2 lemons, juice of
Directions See How It's Made
- Making the cakes: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8 1/2-4 1/2-inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them. Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Put the sugar and the lemon zest in a large bowl, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of lemon. Add the vanilla bean seeds and work them into the sugar. If you are using vanilla extract, add it later, after you have added the eggs.
- Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the extract (if using), then whisk in the cream. Continuing with the whisk, or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. As soon as the cake goes into the oven, make the syrup. After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the cakes for color- if they are browning too quickly, cover them lightly with foil tents.
- Making the syrup: Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil Remove the pan from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.
- When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-bladed sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.