Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

lemons for Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

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

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously coat a Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift flour along with baking powder and salt.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Pour mixture in to greased Bundt pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. 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.

Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting (sliced)

BUT WAIT.

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:

  1. Over medium heat, melt butter. Add cream cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and whisk to incorporate. Add sugar and mix thoroughly.
  2. 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.
  3. Spoon hot frosting over cake and allow to cool at room temperature.
  4. Slice cake and enjoy.

Yes, it does taste as awesome as it sounds. And it really doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Lemon Cake with Coconut Vodka Cream Cheese Frosting

Recipe Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 - thekitchn

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.

One love,

SC

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Spicy Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Peanut Sauce

“What good is our best dish if we have not friends to share it with?” – Stephen Charoo, 2013

will cook for friends

With this quote in mind, I can’t say enough how much I love to cook for loved ones. There is just something eerily euphoric when I see the reactions from a well received dish of my creation.

That said, my good friend Jo-Anne and I have been plotting to have a cook-up at her house for some time now.

Today it finally happened.

The menu was shy of ambitious (in terms of volume that is) but we fared well.

This dish was inspired by my trip to The Cheesecake Factory while visiting my aunt and cousin in Chicago, Illinois a few years ago. Theirs was a Thai lettuce wrap with chicken satays, but of course, I had to put my own twist to it. Lettuce wraps are pretty fun to eat, and puts control in the hands of the guest. Serve the fillings on a platter with whole lettuce leaves on the side, and let your friends and family wrap their own.

Jo-Anne

Jo-Anne

 Starter: Spicy Curried Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Creamy Peanut Sauce

Camera 360

Ingredients:

  • 1 head fresh iceberg lettuce (6-8 leaves)
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, shredded or cut into thin strips
  • ¼ cup black olives, seeded, chopped
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • Peanut sauce (recipe below)
  • Curried shrimp (recipe below)

Camera 360

Method:

  1. Wash and dry the lettuce leaves and arrange on a larger platter.
  2. Arrange accompanying fillings alongside lettuce leaves.
  3. Let your guests create their own lettuce wraps by choosing a filling or fillings and placing it on a leaf along with the peanut sauce and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Fold the leaf in half and enjoy!
toasted almonds

toasted almonds

Curried shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 24 oz. pack deveined, shelled, small shrimp
  • one medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, 2 finely chopped, 2 smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • cumin powder (geera)
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1 small scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil for stir-frying

Method:

  1. In a bowl, combine shrimp, onion, chopped garlic, bay leaf, thyme leaves, and pepper and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes for flavours to develop.
  2. Mix curry powder and cumin powder in 1/4 cup water.
  3. In a sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp. oil, and add the two cloves of smashed garlic and allow to burn and flavour the oil. Remove and discard garlic after about 3-4 mins.
  4. Add liquid curry mixture and stir constantly until it reduces to about 1/3 or to a viscous consistency.
  5. Add shrimp and cook uncovered on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Try to get as much water to evaporate.
  6. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger extract
  • 1/4 cup water

Method:

  1. In a small bowl, stir together peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame seed oil and ginger extract until well mixed. Gradually incorporate water until texture is smooth and creamy.
peanut butter sauce

peanut butter sauce

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”  – Dorothy Day

This starter is pretty good on texture and colour, and surely does hit about every taste bud. Create your own lettuce wraps with your favourite ingredients. And, if you’re looking to drop a few pounds or just to knock off eating healthy from your 2013 resolutions list, then this is definitely a fun and simple way to do it!

Camera 360

Of course, this was only the starter. The rest of the meal included a scrumptious oven-BBQ chicken and potato medallions for the entrée, Jo’s very own creation, and out-of-the-box (literally, not figuratively) brownie. Lol. Sides included blanched string beans, fried ripe plantains, steamed rice, and corn-on-the-cob.

Jo's world-class bbq chicken

Jo’s world-class bbq chicken

corn-on-the-cob

corn-on-the-cob

my plate

my plate

One love,

S.C.

 

Mothers’ Day Treats @ World-Class Devon House Bakery

devon house

A great dessert is a good way to indulge on any special occasion. During the month of May, Devon House Bakery (located on the grounds of the world-famous Devon House, Hope Road, Kingston) will be treating moms to a free Dame Amor Black Forest Cheesecake with the purchase of any three or more pastry items.

Camera 360

I got first taste of these delicious delights when marketing manager and friend Kerin Scott called me up to be part of a photo shoot to launch the bakery’s social media campaign. I was one of a handful of foodies that were just TOO excited to indulge in the sinfulness of the many yummy delights that are available at this nifty bakery.

As part of the photographing process we had to taste everything. Ok, so we didn’t HAVE to, but you get the point. #fattie

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some of my favourites included the classic strawberry cheesecake, chocolate fudge cake, and red velvet cheesecake.

oreo cheesecake

oreo cheesecake

chocolate fudge cake

chocolate fudge cake

red velvet cheesecake

red velvet cheesecake

Dame Amor blackforrest cheesecake

Dame Amor blackforrest cheesecake

Oh, and since we’re already there, might as well throw in one of their amazing, freshly made patties, my favourite being the shrimp patty. Listen, if you get nothing else, make sure you get the shrimp patty! And yea, there are actual, discernible shrimp inside. Enough said.

devon house signature patties

Devon House signature patties

The bakery is open from 10:00a.m. to 10:00p.m. every day of the week, and the al-fresco ambience is the perfect setting for a dessert date.

Check them out on Facebook and be sure to take advantage of this offer and treat mom (or yourself) to some of the best pastries in town.

Photo credits: Skkan Media, STUSH and SLEEK Magazine.