When life (read: a co-worker) gives you lemons, you make lemon-cake-with-coconut-vodka-cream-cheese-frosting, duh. I mean, what else?
Now, if you’re a keen ROF follower, you’ll notice that there aren’t any dessert-related posts on the blog. I am really not a big fan of sweets, nor do they fit into my healthy lifestyle regime. (Or, quite possibly it’s because my baking skills aren’t at a level where they can be shared with the world.) But I surprised myself over the weekend when I attempted to make this cake from my recently-acquired lemons. One of my favourite desserts hands down is a good plain cake, and this come pretty close.
With total inexperience – (this is my second attempt at making a cake from scratch; the first was a banana cake some years ago, and it was pretty average) – I had to do a little research for the basic proportions of a plain pound cake. After I grasped that concept I decided to make the recipe my own. This is what I came up with:
- 1½ cups AP flour
- 1¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 4 whole eggs, room temperature
- 2½ tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp (⅜ cup) lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously coat a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, sift flour along with baking powder and salt.
- In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and continue creaming until sugar crystals are fully dissolved into butter and mixture doesn’t feel grainy. With the mixture at a low speed, add eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate. Add the vanilla.
- Alternating dry and wet ingredients add the flour mixture and lemon juice and zest in small batches and mix until smooth. (You may have to scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula to fully incorporate flour).
- Pour mixture in to greased Bundt pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Gentle shake pan until all sides are loosened. Place on a desired serving platter and invert pan to remove cake.
We’re not done yet. Even though the cake is delicious as is, there’s always room for a little booze. And cream cheese. Here’s what you’ll need.
Coconut-Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 4oz (½ block) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- ⅓ cup coconut-flavoured vodka
- ¼ cup water, to be used as a thinner as necessary
And here’s how to make the magic happen:
- Over medium heat, melt butter. Add cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and whisk to incorporate. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
- Add vodka and mix thoroughly. Mixture should be the consistency of a thin porridge. Use water to thin mixture as necessary. If mixture is too thin, continue stirring over medium-low heat until desired consistency is achieved.
- Spoon hot frosting over cake and allow to cool at room temperature.
- Slice cake and enjoy.
Yes, it does taste as awesome as it sounds. And it really doesn’t get much simpler than this.
- Sifting the flour along with the rest of the dry ingredients does two main things: it allows lumps and other unwanted particles to be removed, while aerating the flour allowing for a lighter cake in the end. Sifting also allows for the rest of the dry ingredients (in this case, the salt and baking powder) to be properly incorporated into the flour before it’s mixed into the rest of the batter.
- Using lemon zest really makes the cake that more lemony as opposed to using just the juice. The zest contains essential oils packed with lemon flavour. To zest a lemon, you can rub the lemon along a fine grater, rotating each time, ensuring only to grate the top layer of yellow skin. Avoid pressing too hard and grating the white pith, which is extremely bitter and will spoil the taste of your cake. You can also use a zester and gently scrape the holes of the zester along the surface of the lemon from top to bottom, also rotating as you go along. You’ll end up with longer ribbons of zest, which u can then chop into finer pieces.
- Ingredient temperature is an important factor in baking. If a recipe calls for something chilled, best you chill it. Just as important is allowing ingredients to be at room temperature before incorporating them. For example, room temperature eggs will disperse more easily through the batter and allow for a fluffier cake. Cold butter does not beat well. Cold milk (or water) will coagulate and create clumps in the batter, requiring extra beating time to mix the ingredients. The easiest way to get your baking ingredients to room temperature is to simply allow them to sit at – room temperature.
Zesting a lemon [photocredits: thekitchn.com]
P.S. Thanks to my handy little helper, Corve, who thoroughly enjoyed the process and end result. Also, apologies for the crappy photos; my camera (phone) is out of commission for now.
A few months ago I published a post on my experience at Toss and Roll, one of Kingston’s hottest and most recently opened salad bars. Since then I’ve received a number of great reviews from friends and colleagues who have eaten there, but the main concern was the location; it didn’t offer much seating capacity, and the limited al fresco set-up meant it only allowed for casual lunch meet ups. But that’s all about to change.
As was expected, things kicked off and the demand for more space, longer opening hours, and a more central location became pertinent. Just under nine months in, Toss and Roll will be relocating to 75 Hope Road (beside the recently opened Opa! Greek Restaurant) and will extend their hours to 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The redesigned menu will feature a variety of new dishes including a breakfast fare, assorted teas and smoothies, along with long-standing crowd favourites.
Of course, fitness junkies and owners Keisha and Jermaine Bailey have managed to keep the menu quite clean and lean with fresh fruits and veggies, whole wheat offerings, and lean meats.
Come and check out their grand opening tomorrow Saturday, January 25 and enjoy discounts and free smoothies.
Eat right, live better.
By virtue of my job, I was recently approached to write an article on Scotchies Jerk Centre for Nearshore Americas, a media company that covers outsourcing related news in the Americas. (Their Off Hours feature highlight the culture and lifestyles of each location.)
This was a great opportunity as it allowed me to exercise my food blogging skills while showcasing one of Jamaica’s most renowned cuisines. In my line of work I am constantly looking for new and intriguing ways to promote Jamaica as an ideal location to do business, and food is always a great way to advertise our culture and lure prospective investors to the island.
Jamaica. The name instantly evokes an image of pristine waters embraced by immaculate sandy shores, with a year-round welcoming sun and hospitable people. But there’s much more to this humble island of 2.8 million inhabitants. An innate creativity and abundance of natural resources allow for an extensive selection of exquisite and remarkably unique products such as Jamaican jerk. Read more on Nearshore Americas’ website here: http://www.nearshoreamericas.com/secret-true-jamaican-jerk/
Recently my workplace celebrated its 25th anniversary, and boy was it fancy! The lobby that usually welcomes eager staff members and corporate heavyweights alike, along with the adjoining business auditorium that hosted many an event were now transformed into Kingston’s newest nightclub. Well, at least that’s what it felt like.
Anywho, I somehow got involved in the planning process. It started when I was consulted on the alcohol line-up for the night’s proceedings. And no, I am not an alcoholic, but I was pretty adamant that there needed to be a bar, with a seating area, and white rum, and red wine. Again, I am NOT an alcoholic. In all of the excitement, the idea for a cheese station transcended my thoughts and landed on the ears of the planning committee. Suddenly it became a thing – my thing. Thanks Bev! I found myself negotiating cheese prices with a distributor, setting foot in strangers’ (yes, more than one) houses to source cheeseboards and fancy crockery, and coming up with a lavish but practical way to present all that was happening in my head.
In addition to a cheese plate (I ended up using white cheddar, pepperjack and muenster) I had an idea for a cheese dip of sorts. I’ve never attempted this before but I figured it couldn’t be that hard. And thankfully it wasn’t. Here’s how I did it.
- Three 8oz blocks of cream cheese
- Two 4oz packs of smoked marlin
- 4oz sour cream
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced
- juice from 2 limes
- handful of fresh parsley (flat leaf), stems removed, roughly chopped
- fresh dill, roughly chopped, about 2 tbsp
- salt & pepper to taste
- Accompaniments: pepper jelly, pesto, (flavoured) honey
- Ensure cream cheese and smoked marlin have come to room temperature so it’s easier to work with.
- In a food processor, add room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, onion, garlic, lime juice, parsley and dill and process well.
- Add smoked marlin and pulse to combine. Ensure not to over process.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a serving dish and allow to chill for at least 8 hours in order for flavours to develop.
This will yield quite an amount, so you can adjust the portions accordingly. I find this goes best with plain crackers, and the suggested accompaniments (pepper jelly, pesto and flavoured honey) make a good pairing. The spread improves on taste over time, so make it a day ahead. You can substitute your favourite fresh herbs, but the dill really elevated this recipe.
This recipe was a huge hit and makes for an impressive appetizer for any occasion! I’m still receiving compliments and recipe requests.
Oh yea, we had a GREAT time. Let’s leave that there.