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

Stephen’s Homemade Five-Spice Sorrel Jam and Drink

For most people in the Caribbean, Christmas isn’t the same without a glass of sorrel, chilled to perfection, especially when made with a shot or two of “festivity” (read: rum). But these exotic, crimson red sepals can also be enjoyed in other forms. Here’s a simple but divine recipe for my all-natural, no-preservative-added sorrel drink and jam with cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and pimento. (This recipe puts nothing to waste since the jam is made from the leftover pulp after the juice has been extracted to make the drink).

sorrel

Sorrel drink – what you’ll need:

  • 2 lbs fresh sorrel (washed)
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6-8 slices of fresh ginger
  • 12-15 pimento seeds (allspice)
  • 5-6 cardamom seeds
  • 5 cups brown sugar
  • 10-12 cups water (about 3 quarts)

sorrel jam and sorrel drink

Method:

  1. Pour water into pot and add cinnamon sticks, cloves, ginger, pimento and cardamom and allow to come to a boil.
  2. Add sorrel to boiling water and continue boiling the mixture for about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let steep for at least 8 hours. Overnight is best.
  4. Using a strainer, separate the liquid from the pulp. Discard the cinnamon sticks and set pulp aside.
  5. In a large jug, stir in sugar to sweeten. Adjust sweetness if necessary.
  6. Store in bottles and refrigerate. (The mixture is best when left to refrigerate overnight so the flavours can further develop).

Stephen's homemade sorrel jam

Sorrel Jam – What you’ll need:

  • pulp from 2 lbs sorrel (No need for additional spices as the pulp would have retained the pimento seeds, cardamom, ginger, cloves, and the flavour from the cinnamon sticks. However, I’d suggest removing most of the ginger as it tends to make the end product a little fibrous.)
  • juice of one lime
  • 4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 oz Appleton rum (or your favourite rum) – optional

sorrel jam

Method:

  1. In a blender, purée sorrel pulp until a smooth consistency is achieved. (You may need to add water accordingly)
  2. Add puréed mixture to a large pot over high heat and stir in water, sugar, rum, and lime juice.
  3. Allow mixture to come to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
  4. Adjust sweetness as desired.
  5. After mixture is reduced to jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Pour in sterilized glass jars and store in refrigerator.

sorrel jam and sorrel drink

You can enjoy your jam with crackers, on bread, with peanut butter, or one of my faves; with cream cheese spread on warm bagel. You’ll never buy another jar of jam again.

Happy holidays,
SC

Jackfruit Salad with Gorgonzola Cheese? Ahmm, yes please!

This recipe idea popped in my head out of desperation for a breakfast quick-fix. I had recently purchased some jackfruit and realised that I needed to consume it before spoilage took over. While rummaging through my fridge, I also discovered a block of gorgonzola cheese that was neatly tucked among a chaos of other neglected ingredients. (I was meaning to clean my fridge for about a week now but hadn’t gotten around to it, because procrastination.)

Jackfruit

Enormous & prickly on the outside, jackfruit somewhat resembles durian. Once cut open, the yellow fleshy fruit pods or “bulbs” are revealed. [image source]

Native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, the jackfruit tree is well suited to tropical lowlands. It is commonly found here in Jamaica, but some persons don’t take to the fruit as easily because of its strong smell and flavour that may be cloying. With a starchy and fibrous texture, the flavour of the flesh of the jackfruit can be likened to a combination of pineapple, mango and banana.

gorgonzola cheese

Gorgonzola cheese – marbled by streaks of green and considered the Italian member of the Blue Cheese family – is commonly paired with sweet aromatic fruits like apples and pears, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the very strong, sweet, fruity aroma of the fibrous jackfruit flesh would be as good a compliment to the contrast of pungent, salty, creamy gorgonzola. To bring the flavours together even more, I tossed the salad in ginger extract, which added yet another depth of flavour and aromatic complexity. Also, I’ve had gorgonzola cheese that comes already crumbled, but I find if you crumble it directly from the block it tends to be richer and creamier with a more satisfying taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Jackfruit chunks
  • ¼ cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles (preferably cut from the block for a richer, creamier texture)
  • 1 tbsp ginger extract

Jackfruit

Method:

  1. Combine jackfruit and gorgonzola in a bowl.
  2. Add ginger extract and toss to combine.
  3. Refridgerate for at least 20 minutes to allow flavours to come together and for salad to chill.
  4. Remove from fridge and enjoy.
Jackfruit and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

Jackfruit and Gorgonzola Cheese Salad

I really recommend you try this simple dish of robust and contrasting flavours and textures.

One love,

SC