Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Keep Celebrating!

I'm all for anything that stretches out a celebration. Today, my birthday got a bit of a stretch when at my regular spinning group, I was the delighted recipient of a gorgeous cake and a bunch of funny cards. It's the tradition of our group to fete our members during the week of their birthdays, and it's such a joy to have your own birthday commemorated in due season.

The Group:
The Cake:

This cake is truly exquisite. By Liz's generous provision, here is the recipe:

Lemon Bundt Cake
1 cup butter (the real thing -- not margarine), softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract (be careful not to get this on your hands-it burns)
2 lemons for juicing -- depending on how lemony you want the glaze to be (2 to 3)
Powdered sugar -- which I just keep adding to the lemon juice until it is sweet enough

Put the softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until really creamy. Gradually add the oil, and mix until very smooth. Next comes the sugar, added slowly, mixed until it looks fluffy. You can't really overmix during this step. Remember to turn off the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl every so often, so that the ingredients all get incorporated into the batter. When in doubt, mix a little longer.

Crack the eggs, one at a time into a separate container before adding to the batter, so that you can pick out any shell fragments. The eggs should be added to the batter one at a time, and mixed well after each egg. This step is where the light and tender texture is made, so the batter should be really well beaten. It should appear very light and fluffy when you are done mixing.

Adding the flour, milk, and lemon extract
This is the step where you want to mix the batter as little as possible. With the mixer set on a slow speed, add 1 cup of the flour, and mix just until blended. Add 1/2 cup of milk, mix just until blended, then repeat with 1 more cup of flour, 1/2 cup of milk, and the final cup of flour. Add the lemon extract at the end, and mix it in gently.

Bake the Cake
Use a 10 inch Bundt pan. I use a pampered chef stoneware pan, as it cooks more evenly than other types of bakeware. Whatever you use, make sure it is well greased. This cake bakes in a cooler oven, so bake it at 300 degrees for 90 minutes, or longer if needed.

Cool the Cake
Okay, this may seem like an obvious step, but it took me several tries to get it right. The cake is done when a cake tester or knife blade inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool the cake in the pan on the rack for 15 minutes, then remove from pan directly onto wire rack. Cool completely.

This glaze is so easy and makes the cake even more yummy. Simply juice the lemons into a container (I use a gravy shaker, but a bowl and whisk works just as well), and add powdered sugar to taste. I like a tart glaze, but you may want it more sweet. Mix until smooth, then just pour the glaze over the cake, and enjoy!

I put the cake on a rack over a flat pan. Then, I drizzled some of this over the cake, waited until it dried, then put on more layers until I ran out. I had lots of glaze and next time I think I will just do one lemon's worth.

(Thanks, Liz!)
This cake is not on any diet plan. Be warned.

And then this afternoon, with the characteristic unpredictability for our part of the country, a freak thunderstorm popped up and dumped about a half an inch of rain, and marble-sized hail. Really, really weird. But we'll take it, because there is no rain forecast for the foreseeable future, and it dropped the temperature easily by 10 degrees. Yessss.

So, thank you, Texas Twisters, for another day of birthday fun, and thank you, Lord, for another respite from the furnace blast.

2 comments:

  1. Awww, what a great group! Happy Birthday week. Miss y'all!

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  2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MONTH!!!

    ReplyDelete