Friday, August 18, 2017

Lemon Bundt Cake

Once upon a time, the Engineer asked me to make a lemon bundt cake, for no reason other than he had a craving for one. I didn’t have a recipe handy, so I googled it and settled on this recipe from the White on Rice Couple. But then I realized that I needed lactose-free cream so it (something whippable, so I couldn’t just substitute coconut milk), and so it ended up on the back burner until I was in Canada. (You can always make this to compensate, but it’s not pure lemon.)

In the meantime, I made a small chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache that was an abject failure. I mean, I had thought it was weird that in the original post, the cake was covered with a bough of lilacs, as opposed to just a few flowers, but now I think I know why: the cake disintegrated upon unmolding. If you ever want to attempt it (the recipe is from Sweet Laurel Bakery), I can unequivocally say that you need to line the pans with paper in addition to greasing them and dusting them with cocoa. I’m not sure I liked it enough to attempt it again, though, especially since the frosting needed to be refrigerated for consistency.

Then, once I was in Montreal, I finally got around to making this coconut cake from a recipe I tore out of Martha Stewart Living in… 2004. Turns out the cake itself was fine, but the coconut cream was a disaster. It was supposed to be a frosting, but I had to serve it as a sauce on the side – so much for waiting to have lactose-free cream! That was a disappointment almost 13 years in the making.

So anyway, then I got back to the lemon bundt cake, and thank God I did. This cake was moist and delicious and very lemony, and it was really all you could want from a lemon bundt cake. And we lived happily ever after. Enjoy!

For the cake
2 ¾ cups (345 g.) flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) lactose-free butter or margarine
3 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
zest from 4 large lemons
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 eggs
½ cup lactose-free cream

For the lemon glaze
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar

For the vanilla icing
1 cup (120 g.) confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. lactose-free cream

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan (I used an angel food cake pan).

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt for at least 20 seconds. Set aside.

In a mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (if the bowl does not feel cool while creaming, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then continue creaming).

Beat in the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated.

Mix in the flour mixture in three stages, until just combined. Set aside

Whip the cream just past the soft peak stage. Stir in about ¼ of the whipped cream into the batter, and then fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Drop the pan from about 4" above the counter to knock out any bubbles.

Bake on the middle oven rack for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean near the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen the cake by knocking it against the counter (I also ran a knife along the edges). Invert the cake onto a serving platter.

Stir together the lemon glaze ingredients (if needed, heat them briefly to help dissolve the sugar). Brush on the hot cake until all of the glaze is absorbed. After it has cooled, if serving within a day or two continue to final step, or if serving later in the week, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve (keeps 4-5 days wrapped in the fridge).

On the day you are ready to serve (or the night before), take the bundt out of the fridge to come up to room temperature. In a bowl, whisk together the icing ingredients, adjusting the cream or confectioners’ sugar amount to make the icing fairly thick but pourable (not runny). If the icing is close to the thickness you want, but still a touch too thick to pour, warm it slightly and it will become more fluid until it cools off (perfect for icing the bundt cake). Drizzle the icing over the top of the bundt cake and serve.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Roasted Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcakes with Cardamom Whipped Cream

I could no longer find rhubarb in grocery stores after making the clafoutis, so I thought I’d have to hold off on making more recipes with rhubarb until next season. But then I was lucky enough to get rhubarb straight from my grandmother’s garden! Since there were still a lot of delicious, seasonal, local strawberries at the store, I decided to make roasted strawberry-rhubarb shortcakes – and, bonus, I’ve got lactose-free cream here to go with it! These were delicious as a not-too-sweet dessert, and I imagine they’d be good as an indulgent breakfast, too. This recipe makes 6 shortcakes, though we had leftover cream and filling (great with yogurt or ice cream).

For the shortcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp. granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1 ½ cups plus 1 Tbsp. lactose-free cream, divided (I think coconut milk would work here too)
1 Tbsp. demerara sugar

For the fruit filling
4 cups chopped rhubarb (1-inch pieces, from 4 or 5 stalks)
4 cups quartered strawberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
juice of 1 medium lemon

For the whipped cream
1 ½ cups lactose-free cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. ground cardamom

For the shortcakes
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 425 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Pour in 1 ½ cups of the cream and stir until the dough is shaggy. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface. Knead the dough for about 30 seconds, just until it all comes together. Shape dough into a 4x12-inch rectangle.

Cut the dough into 6 (4-inch-square) pieces. Transfer to the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the shortcakes with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream, then sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake until golden-brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the filling
While the biscuits cool, reduce the oven temperature to 350 °F.

Mix the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, and juice together in a large bowl. Spread over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft, stirring halfway through, about 20 minutes total. Cool on the baking sheet.

For the whipped cream
Whip the cream on high speed in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, vanilla, and cardamom, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the shortcakes
Slice the shortcakes in half. Place the bottom halves on serving plates. Spoon the strawberry-rhubarb filling over the bottom halves, top with a big dollop of whipped cream, and top with the other shortcake half.