Ok, I just don’t get it. What? The whole hoo-ha about Meyer lemons. For many years, I’ve heard how great, wonderful and totally amazingly these lemons were. In a sense, this is why I put off using them for so long. I didn’t feel worthy enough to try such awesome lemons. However, when a net came my way, how could I decline?
Having not read that much into the Meyer lemon, I was uncertain of what to expect. I decided to make this recipe because it sounded fantastic. After all, it was called the “the best damn Meyer lemon cake”. On grating the zest of the lemons, I found that it had a slightly soapy and vague orange/lemon aroma. The flesh itself was sweet. That’s ok; however, when I want something that tastes like lemon, I want it to taste like a lemon, i.e. zesty, tangy and tart.
Not only were the Meyer lemons disappointing, so was this recipe. I have quite a decent amount of experience in baking (cakes), and this one turned out super-dry. In addition to following the recipe, I poked holes into the cake to allow the syrup to seep into the cake, but still it was super-dry. The only way we could enjoy this cake was by lightly warming it before eating it. The cake was buttery, vaguely lemony and super-dry… oh, I mentioned that already, right? It seemed like a pretty sad waste of ingredients to me.
After this cake was made, we had a few Meyer lemons left, so it was decided that they should go into lemon bars. What a big mistake that was. The resulting lemon bars were super-sweet, and didn’t taste lemony at all. In fact, I think had we used oranges instead, they would have had more flavor. It’s safe to say that we won’t be buying Meyer lemons again.
MEYER LEMON CAKE
Adapted from Saveur: The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake
Makes 1 – 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4 inch) loaf
For the cake
- 60 g (1/3 c and 1 1/2 tablespoons) ground almonds (almond meal)
- 225 g (1 ½ c) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 115 g (½ c or 1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
- 200 g (1 c) raw cane (turbinado) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 120 ml (½ c) milk, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons lemon extract
- zest of 2 Meyer lemons
For the glaze
- 90 g (1/3 c and 2 tablespoons) raw cane (turbinado) sugar
- juice of 2 Meyer lemons
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease or line a 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4 inch) loaf tin (pan) with parchment.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the almonds, flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
3. To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just long enough to incorporate.
5. Add the flour mix and milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with flour, beating well after each addition.
6. Stir in the lemon extract and lemon zest. Pour batter into the prepared tin (pan), and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 60-65 minutes, or when a skewer inserted to the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the tin (pan) to a cooling rack. Stab the cake several times with a cocktail stick or skewer.
7. Meanwhile make the glaze. Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil.
8. Brush all of the glaze over the hot cake. Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Once cool, wrap tightly in cling film (plastic wrap). Allow to sit at room temperature for 24 hours before slicing and serving. Enjoy!