spring is here

Today, I've got a new guest blogger. She is my Chicago BFF, aka telephone pal, travel partner, person to cry to when husband is out of control (or it could be me, who knows), fellow foodie and baking buddy. She is one of those people who makes a hot, delicious homemade meal EVERY NIGHT, and if I lived near her, I'd be at her doorstep, every night.

I'm excited to try out this recipe- I hope you will too.

Spring is Here

While I can’t really complain about Midwest winter doldrums this year, I will say that the 6 inches of snow the last Friday of February and the few inches that stuck on the ground on March 2nd, were met with near contempt.  Today, I put those feelings aside as the sun bolstered through with 60-degree temps and melting snow.

Today is baking day!  The past few days I have sought out a perfect recipe to make a statement that “Spring is here---for good” (one can almost hear the trumpet sound da-da-da-dat-da-da).  Ina Garten’s Lemon Cake seemed the perfect recipe to make the announcement to all. 

In search of this recipe, I found many comments about the lemon syrup pooling at the bottom of the plate as well as how to make the syrup seep into the cake.  I quickly surmised the situation and made the following adjustments.  Instead of inverting the cake and poking holes with a skewer into the cake, 10 minutes after cooling, I kept the cake in the bundt pan and poked the holes in the bottom of the cake  (this way the top of the cake can still maintain its aesthetics without holes all over the top of it).  I then slowly poured the syrup into the cake.  I let the cake sit for a few minutes and then popped it out onto the cake plate.  

Finally, as you will see, I have not yet perfected the art of applying the glaze, but another little alteration I made was to add some fresh lemon peel to the glaze (or maybe it’s just that I wanted to use the microplane again).

Alas, Spring, I say to you, please stay.

Lemon Cake
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Yield: 2 loaf cakes (or one bundt)

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Cream butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter evenly between pans, smooth tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
4. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.
5. When cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon lemon syrup over cakes. Let cakes cool completely.
6. For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a whisk until smooth.  If glaze is still too thick add a little extra lemon juice.  Pour over top of cakes, and allow glaze to drizzle down the sides.


  1. I was "Downtown" today (having lived in this area, you know what I mean - it's the NJ equivalent of saying you went "into the City!". I was at a conference, and the walk from the train station to the conference hotel was accompanied by a brutally cold north wind. Typical. It somehow seemed fitting then to see a cake by a Chicagoan when I arrived home! I can't wait to try it - it looks DE-lish and I have company coming tomorrow...

  2. So proud of the guest blogger tho i am way too un-trained to try out any of the recipes i must say it brings me great joy to be on this blog... keep it up U Mar and U Rebecca

  3. That looks delicious. A refreshing cake! My family would love it. Come visit us. We have some wonderful Irish treats this week.

  4. You two are too much! Great joint entry! Love you!


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