I am one of those people who feels compelled to have a bowl of lemons in the kitchen — and then fails to use them all before they go bad.  Today, I decided to zest and juice them all and then make something yummy.  This pound cake is a basic recipe, with a few twists.

First, after throwing out all my baking and cooking sprays (one of my remaining bad habits in the kitchen), I decided to throw caution to the wind and use coconut oil (solid) to grease the pan.  Coconuts go with lemon, right?

Second, I recently read something somewhere (I have no recollection where) about the sweet crunch a cake will get if you sugar the pan instead of flouring it. So I sugared the coconut oiled bundt cake pan instead of flouring it.

Third, I didn’t have plain yogurt or enough sour cream for the recipe.  What I did have was 4 ounces of sour cream and a container of Noosa Raspberry Yogurt.  (I am addicted to Noosa yogurt — even the pumpkin flavor is good!)  Raspberries go with lemon, right?

Ingredients

2 tbs organic coconut oil
2 sticks of unsalted organic butter, softened
3 cups of sugar (I use Zulka Morena, a minimally processed sugar)
3 tbs lemon zest (this was about 4-5 medium sized lemons)
3 1/2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
juice from one medium lemon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 eggs (preferably not straight from the fridge)
4 ounces sour cream
8 ounces Noosa raspberry yogurt (or other Greek or Australian yogurt)

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a bundt pan with coconut oil and sprinkle sugar evenly in the pan.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Sift together with a fork.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until well-combined. Turn the speed down to medium and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing each into the mixture before adding another. Once the eggs are all combined, add the lemon juice.

Turn the mixer down to low. Add one third of the flour mixture, then the sour cream. Add another third of the flour and half the yogurt.  Add the last of the flour and the last of the yogurt. Turn up the speed for just about 30 seconds to be sure it’s all combined.

Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give the batter a few good stirs. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. You might have extra, which you can bake as cupcakes (just halve the baking time).

Bake for 60-65 minutes, until a cake tester comes away clean. Let the cake cool in the pan. Loosen the sides with a slim knife, and turn it out onto a cake plate.

How It Turned Out

Lemon Pound Cake (2)

The sugar trick worked on the sides but not the top (maybe that’s because of the pan?).  Otherwise, it’s an oh so summery cake to share.

P.S. What did I do with the juice from all those lemons I zested? I juiced them straight into an ice tray. When it’s done freezing, I’ll have little cubes of fresh lemon juice for whenever I need a couple of tablespoons for a recipe.

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The Stupendous Six Year (my favorite munchkin) is a fan of Minions. And bananas. And cake. Mostly he’s a fan of cake. So for Family Night Dinner, I made a banana bundt cake for dessert.

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
5 eggs
3 bananas, mashed
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbs maple cinnamon toast sprinkle
5 oz plain greek yogurt

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a bundt pan with baking spray or butter with a bit of flour.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugars together.  While that goes, sift together — in a separate bowl — the flour, baking powder, salt, and toast sprinkle.

When the butter and sugars are combined, add the bananas and continue to mix on medium speed. After that’s combined, add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each.  Add the vanilla.

Slow the mixer to low and add 1/3 of the flour mixture. After that is mostly combined, spoon 1/3 of the yogurt in. Continue alternating the flour and yogurt until everything is in the bowl. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and finish mixing the batter. It will be thick.

Transfer the batter to the bundt pan, spreading evenly in the pan.  Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes away clean but for a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool before turning it out of the pan.  Serve with whipped cream or a little vanilla icing.

How It Turned Out

A dense, moist cake with super banana flavor. The pile of homemade whipped cream was a lovely complement.

 

Banana Cake (2)

Banana Cake 2 (2)

This is a basic chocolate cake, garnished with Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup. Simple to make, yummy to eat.

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup Truvia baking blend
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup Ghirardelli 100% unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/2 cup plain lowfat greek yogurt
1 can Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a bundt pan with Baker’s Secret or other baking spray with flour.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients, sifting it all together with a fork.  Combine the milk and yogurt together in a separate bowl.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and Truvia together until fluffy. Scrape the sides with a rubber spatula to make sure you don’t have lumps. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each.  Add the vanilla.  Then add the flour mixture and milk mixture in three batches, alternating between the two (dry-wet-dry-wet-dry-wet).  Scrape the sides, making sure everything is mixed in. The result is a thick batter.

Fill the bundt pan with batter, smoothing out the top/bottom.  Bake on the center rack of the oven for 50 minutes or until your tester comes out clean but for a few crumbs.

Let the cake cool in the pan. When you’re ready to plate it, loosen the sides and center with a thin flexible knife. Turn the cake out onto a cake plate.  Spoon the chocolate syrup over the top — you can drizzle or drench, however you like.

How It Turned Out:

Chocolate Cake

This is not a super sweet cake, nor is it super moist.  It is, however, very chocolatey and stands up well to whipped cream, ice cream, and drizzles of extra chocolate sauce (or maybe some Bailey’s Irish Cream).

Photo courtesy of Thomas A. Chard II.

My fabulous assistant’s birthday is this weekend, so I made him a cake.  He asked for something healthy, and since carrot cake is already on its way to being a vegetable, that’s what I made.  This version is based on a Cooking Light recipe, with a few tweaks.  I subbed out the buttermilk in the cake, added extra carrot and some organic cranberries, and used a little vanilla glaze instead of the cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Bundt Cake 2

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups organic pre-shredded carrots (in the produce section)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large organic vegetarian-fed eggs
1 container fat free vanilla Activia yogurt (a risk, but it was what I had and it worked)
1 cup dried organic cranberries
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tbs (plus a little) 1% milk
1 tbs vanilla

How I  Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with Baker’s Secret or Pam with Flour.  I use a paper towel to spread the spray evenly in the grooves of the pan.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the shredded carrots to the flour mixure and combine thoroughly.  You’ll begin to wonder about this recipe at this point, because you’re used to the wet, mushy, grated carrot going into the batter and adding moisture.  It looks weird and “rustic,” but it turns out great. Set that bowl aside.

In the Kitchen-Aid mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugars (white and brown) together. When that is light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry mixture in batches.  Mine blended just fine even before the yogurt, but you can alternate with spoonsful of yogurt if you want.  However you do it, add the yogurt and blend until just combined.  With a rubber spatula, fold in the dried cranberries last.

The cake batter will be thick.  With the spatula, transfer it to the bundt pan and be sure that it fills the pan evenly.

Bake the cake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until it is a golden brown on top and the cake tester comes out clean but for a few crumbs.  Let it cool in the bundt pan on a wire rack for about twenty minutes.  Loosen the sides and center by sliding a knife around the perimeter of the pan.  Flip the pan over, give it a light thump, and let it sit on the rack.  The cake will gently come free in a few minutes.

When the cake is cool, make a glaze by whisking the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and milk together to get the consistency you want — not too thick, not too runny.  You might need a smidge more than 2 tablespoons of milk.  Also, 1 tablespoon of vanilla makes a VERY VANILLA glaze that is caramelized in color.  If you want a less intense or whiter glaze, use less vanilla and more milk.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake with a spoon.  Cover the cake until you are ready to serve.

How It Turned Out:

I made this the night before to take into work today, and we didn’t eat it until late afternoon.  Not only did it remain moist (but not smooshy), it smelled and tasted lovely.

Makes 12 normal portions, or 16 skinny ones.