When I went to the store last week, I bought three lemons. I don’t really know what possessed me to buy them, they just looked so bright and happy that I thought I’d take a chance and try to make something with lemons. I immediately thought of a lemon cake.
I went to my go-to baking book, The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking, and found a basic white cake recipe. I started by mixing flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and shortening in my mixer. This recipe called for the shortening and other ingredients to be blended, but, as I said my last post, I am not in possession of a blender or food processor. I just mixed the shortening with everything else in the mixer.
Then I added the vanilla and the eggs and stirred until it was a batter.
Then I cut one of my lemons in half and squeezed out all of the juice. I was apprehensive of adding pure lemon juice to the batter, so I started out by adding 2 teaspoons. I ended up adding 2-3 tablespoons. The batter was sweet, with a lemony kick at the end.
I poured the batter into two prepared cake pans and baked them for 30 minutes in the 350 degree oven.
They came out so pretty! I know that a bare cake may not look very pretty on its own, but these two cakes popped out so perfectly and were a lovely golden color.
My only issue with these cakes was that they had not risen any higher than what the batter was when I had put them in the oven. I started on the lemon buttercream frosting while the cakes were cooling. I used the lemon buttercream recipe from The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking. I started by beating the butter in my mixer until it was light and fluffy. Then I cut up another lemon, added powdered sugar, a touch of vanilla, some milk and 3-4 teaspoons of lemon juice and let it all mix together.
I topped it off with some happy sprinkles and called it a night. Because the two cakes did not rise much, they ended up like a very dense sponge cake! It was very tasty, and I think that the sponge texture worked very well with the lemon flavor. For some reason, I always associate fruity cakes with sponge cake. I love that I’m learning the chemistry of baking on my own. Maybe if Chemistry in high school had involved baking, I would have been able to understand it…
Recipe for Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Buttercream: Courtesy of The Pillsbury Complete Book of Baking‘s Simply White Cake and Buttercream Frosting
Lemon Spongey Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 egg whites
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans. In a large mixing bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and shortening at a low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Add vanilla, lemon juice and egg whites; continue beating an additional two minutes. Pour into prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 27 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely. Fill and frost as desired.
2/3 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons half-and half or milk
2-3 teaspoons lemon juice
In a mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in vanilla, lemon juice and half and half, adding enough half and half for desired spreading consistency.