I’ve been in a fog this week. Nothing is terribly wrong and yet, I’ve been inconsolable. Homesick, a touch lonely, and increasingly alarmed by the dropping temps knowing that winter is just around the corner, this has been one of those weeks where I’m just plain bummed. Far from family and friends, good hugs are in short supply, so seeking comfort, my thoughts obviously turned to the kitchen. I saw Tracey’s Spiced Lemon Cake on flickr and knew it would be just the sort of boost this week needed. The glaze was little too thick so I used more lemon juice than was called for (about 5 tablespoons instead of three, which was probably too much since the glaze was a bit runny). Next time I think I will double the cardamom. I could taste it in the batter and smell it while it was baking but the flavor was a bit lost in the final cake. I love spiced cakes and particularly like the taste of cardamom. Less intrepid spiceheads, however, will probably find the called-for 3/4 teaspoon of cardamom just enough to make this cake interesting and different from the usual lemon cake fare.
I slept terribly last night (a night of countless awful dreams relating to depositions and other work related horrors). This morning, I stumbled into the shower. Then fumbled with the coffee maker and cut myself a slice of this cake. I breathed in deeply and sighed. It didn’t completely take away the fog from a bad night’s sleep or the sting of having to go to work, but it was a nice burst of sunshine this morning and for that, I am grateful.
Spiced Lemon Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
* 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
* 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest plus 7-8 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, zest, and cardamom with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Reduce speed to medium-low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into cake pan.
3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool, top side up. Whisk confectioners’ sugar with remaining 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice until smooth; pour over cooled cake.
Yield: One 8-inch cake