I had neglected the blog recently as my attention had been directed elsewhere in the past few weeks. I have just returned from a trip back east where I attended my high school reunion, and boy, was it a good time. The last time I saw many of these folks they were 17 years old. It was actually kind of sweet how many of the guys were whipping out their iPhones and showing me pictures of their grand-children. Everybody was there; the captain of the cheerleaders, the homecoming queen, the jocks, the potheads, all just a little bit older and a little bit grayer (if that’s even a word). So, now the party’s over and it’s time for me to get back to my real mission in life, and that’s cake.
Today was one of those rare days in Los Angeles where it was cold and cloudy and actually raining. It was the perfect day to put on the thick fuzzy socks, a heavy sweatshirt and break out the KitchenAid and just bake. And did we ever have a good time, me and the KitchenAid that is. When November rolls around I like to make things with cranberries. Personally I think that they’re a terribly underrated fruit, but they really shine in this Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake. If you’re looking for a good cake to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner, this one would be a winner.
P.S. And I just want to give a little shout out to Mindy and Greg for reading the blog. Thanks!
Cranberry Lemon Bundt Cake
From Williams Sonoma
- Unsalted butter for greasing pan, plus 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
- 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3 cups fresh cranberries, about 12 oz.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 lemons
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
- Preheat an oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter. I used a silicone bundt pan, and the cake easily came out of the pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar in the bottom of the pan, then evenly distribute the cranberries over the sugar
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Next, add the granulated sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Finely grate the zest from the lemons over the sugar and mix briefly.
- In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from the lemons, use a sieve to strain out the seeds and pulp. In a liquid measuring cup, combine 2 Tbs. of the lemon juice, the buttermilk and vanilla; reserve the remaining lemon juice.
- Add the 12 Tbs. butter to the lemon zest–sugar mixture and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk mixture in 2 batches. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes to aerate.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly over the cranberries. Bake until the cake is browned and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cake plate, lift off the pan and let cool completely.
- Once the cake is cool, in a bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 1/2 Tbs. of the reserved lemon juice until thick and smooth. Test the consistency by drizzling a bit of glaze over the cake. If it runs off the cake, whisk in a little more confectioners’ sugar; if it sits on the cake without moving, whisk in a little more lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let set for at least 15 minutes.
I would suggest that you invest in a silicone bundt pan. My experience with metallic bundt pans is that often, the cake can get stuck in the crevices of the pan even when properly buttered and floured. When I use the silicone pan the cake always relases perfectly.
As I was driving down the main thoroughfare in my community today, I spotted a group of kids, I would say about 10 or 11 years old, yelling and waving frantically at me to stop. They had set up a lemonade stand with an array of handrawn signs, on the corner of this particular intersection. How could I drive by this group of young entrepreneurs without purchasing the product that they had obviously spent hours concocting. I would be forever known as “the mean lady”.
When I pulled over to the curb and got out of my car, I could see sighs of relief on their tiny faces. Yes! A customer. I ordered up a glass of their homemade brew, and when I opened my wallet to pay, I realized I had just blown my entire wad at the supermarket on this evening’s dinner. Oh geez, was this really happening. Dead broke in front of a bunch of 10 year olds. I quietly asked if they took American Express, and they told me they run a cash only business. However they said, since they knew where I lived, they would come by later to settle my outstanding balance. Whew! Problem averted.
As I stood their enjoying my refreshing drink, I started sizing up their business, and thought I should set up my own stand and sell a more mature version of lemonade with my homemade cookies. Do you think it would look weird for a middle-aged woman to sit on a street corner hawking her wares? Well, my kids said they would disown me and would be forced to leave town. So, I let the idea go…for now, anyway.
This version of lemonade is not too sweet, and infused with lots of herbally goodness. The cucumber slices just heighten it’s freshness and make it perfect for a summer’s day.
From Everyday Food, June 2008
- 1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
- 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs, additional for garnishing
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice (I needed about 13 lemons)
- Persian cucumber for garnish
Mama’s tips: 8 ounce mason jars are perfect for serving the lemonade, and can be found in most supermarkets and online.
What a great night; I’ve got the fluffy slippers on, two-hours of American Idol ahead of me, and just out-of-the oven lemon pudding cakes. It doesn’t get any better than this. I remember the times when a fun evening was heading out to a disco (now I’m dating myself) and dancing the night away to Donna Summer songs. Oh, how times have changed…for me, at least. My life is very simple now. Just give me a little Ryan Seacrest and a sugary dessert, and I’m a very happy camper.
I planned the exit of these little cakes from the oven at approximately 7:25pm, so that they could have a little time to cool down before the evening’s fun began at 8. The pudding cakes are especially good right from the oven because they’re a little cake-y on the outside, with a warm pudding center on the inside, and a sugary crust on the top. It’s a total warm-and-cozy dessert.
Lemon Pudding Cake
From Real Simple Magazine
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- turbinado (raw sugar) or a coarse sugar
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Place six, 4-ounce ramekins inside a large roasting pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment, whisk together the egg yolks and butter until combined. Whisk in the milk and lemon zest and juice. Add the sugar mixture to the lemon mixture and whisk until smooth. Transfer this mixture to another bowl and completely clean and dry the mixer bowl.
- Using the electric mixer, beat the egg whites and salt on medium-high until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. In three additions, gently fold the egg whites into the lemon-sugar mixture.
- Divide the pudding mixture among the ramekins. Sprinkle the tops of the puddings with the coarse sugar. Now, add hot water to the roasting pan so that the water comes half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.