Category Archives: Cakes & Cupcakes

Neapolitan Cake

Neapolitan CakeI make a lot of cakes—a lot. In any given month, I make at least ten, plus any that are tested and posted on this blog. What can I say? I have friends who like to celebrate and like my cakes. I’m flattered.Neapolitan CakeOf course, this means that making cake—something that once only brought joy—can sometimes be a slog. I don’t necessarily mind when baking feels like work (because it is my work), but I’d be lying if I said I couldn’t wait to come home and bake layers after a long day of blogging and personal cheffing. The joy understandably gets a little lost when I’m making a double batch of vanilla layers at 11pm on a Tuesday.Neapolitan CakeBut when inspiration strikes and I can be creative, it could be 4am and I’d be psyched to be baking. My roommate might not particularly like it, but I’d be in heaven.Neapolitan CakeSuch was the case last month when I made a cake for a friend whose only instruction was that it should have something strawberry involved, at his young daughter’s request. Other than that, I could go wild.Neapolitan CakeAnd so that request for a strawberry element somehow meshed with vanilla and chocolate and became Neapolitan…and I went wild. Wild! And it was so much fun (and so delicious!) that I went and made a second cake for this blog. You’re welcome 😉Neapolitan CakeY’all. Y’ALL. This cake. It is a thing. A real undertaking. A project best done over the course of two days. The most intricate cake work that’s ever been on this blog (aside from the wedding cake, of course).Neapolitan CakeBut I am also completely obsessed with it. I mean, what’s not to love about this checkerboard chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry interior and the ruffled tricolor buttercream exterior? It’s the most fun!Neapolitan CakeThe cake layers are all made from one batter. Once it’s mixed together, it’s divided in thirds. One is left plain—that’s the vanilla layer. Another is spiked with freeze-dried strawberries, and the last with cocoa powder and melted chocolate.Neapolitan CakeThey’re baked, cooled, evened…Neapolitan Cake…and then punched into rings and reassembled.Neapolitan CakeAnd layered in a specific order with thin layers of vanilla buttercream.Neapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeAnd then decorated in the most fun (and shockingly easy!) ruffle pattern. Or, you know, however you like.Neapolitan CakeWhen all is said and done and sliced and served, all your friends’ minds will be blown at your Neapolitan Cake prowess. As they freaking should be.Neapolitan Cake

Neapolitan Cake
makes one 3-layer 9-inch round cake

Cake Batter:
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
5 large eggs, room temperature
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature

For the Strawberry Layer:
1 1.2 ounce package freeze-dried strawberries, pulverized
2 tablespoons whole milk
red food coloring (I used 6 drops red gel), optional

For the Chocolate Layer:
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup whole milk

Special Equipment:
6 inch round cake ring/cookie cutter
3 inch round cake ring/cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 3 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment and grease again.

Make the cake batter. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar. Set aside.

Pour melted butter into a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla.

In a large measuring cup, use a fork to stir together whole milk and sour cream.

Whisk half the butter mixture into dry ingredients, followed by half the milk mixture. Add remaining mixture, followed by remaining milk mixture.

Make the flavored layers. Pour 3 1/4 cups of batter into one of the pans. This is the vanilla layer. Set aside.

Pour 3 1/4 cups of batter into each of two small mixing bowls.

To make the strawberry layer, whisk pulverized freeze-dried strawberries, whole milk, and food coloring into one of the bowls of batter. Transfer to another prepared pan. Set aside.

Make the chocolate layer. Whisk cocoa powder into the last bowl of batter.

Put chopped dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Whisk into batter, followed by whole milk. Transfer to remaining prepared pan.

Smooth the tops of all the pans-full of batter. Tap each full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake cakes 32-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for fifteen minutes. Run a small thin knife around the edges of the pans and invert the cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely. Layers may be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Even the layers. Working with one layer at a time, use a serrated knife to trim all layers until they are of even height (mine were each 1 1/4 inch tall).

Assemble the layers. Working with one layer at a time, place layer on a cutting board or other surface. Use the 6-inch ring to cut out the center. Use the 3-inch ring to cut out the center of the 6-inch circle of cake. Wipe rings clean. Repeat with remaining layers.

Separate all circles/rings of cake so that you have 3 3-inch center pieces, 3 6-inch middle rings, and 3 9-inch outer rings. Make layers by pressing pieces together like a puzzle. Layers should be as follows:

• chocolate outer ring, vanilla middle ring, strawberry center
• vanilla outer ring, strawberry middle ring, chocolate center
• strawberry outer ring, chocolate middle ring, vanilla center

For Layering & Assembly of Cake

Simple Syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

Vanilla Buttercream:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 tablespoons heavy cream

Strawberry Buttercream:
1 1.2-ounce package freeze dried strawberries
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5-6 tablespoons heavy cream

Chocolate Buttercream:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
6 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Make the simple syrup. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Make the vanilla buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in confectioner’s sugar in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Beat in salt, followed by vanilla. Add in heavy cream until desired consistency is reached.

Make the strawberry buttercream. In a medium-large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in confectioner’s sugar, strawberry powder, and salt. Mixture may be alarmingly crumbly—this is normal. Add vanilla and 5 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. If desired, mix in another tablespoon of heavy cream until the proper consistency is reached.

Make the chocolate buttercream. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy (about two minutes). Beat in confectioner’s sugar, followed by cocoa powder and salt, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla and heavy cream. Beat on high for 1-2 minutes, until very fluffy.

Place the layer with the chocolate outer ring on a serving plate or cake stand. Brush with simple syrup. Top with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream. Place the layer with the vanilla outer ring on top. Brush with simple syrup. Top with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream. Place the layer with the strawberry outer ring on top. Brush with simple syrup. Frost the entire cake with a very thin layer of vanilla buttercream (a “crumb coat”). Refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 1 day.

Load remaining vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate buttercreams into piping bags (or ziplocks with smalls corners snipped off). Remove the cake from the refrigerator.

To decorate the cake as pictured, working with one buttercream at a time, pipe a ring of dollops around the entire bottom of the cake. Use the back of an offset spatula to press into each dollop and drag upward to create a “ruffle” effect, wiping clean as needed. Use another buttercream to make a ring of dollops above the first (now-ruffled), and repeat the same pressing/dragging method to create the same pattern. Use the remaining color of buttercream, and continue the method, alternating in a pattern until you have frosted your way up the cake, onto the top, and to the center.

Slice and serve. Leftover cake may be kept covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.Neapolitan CakeNeapolitan CakeNeapolitan Cake

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Carrot Cake Petit Fours

Carrot Cake Petit FoursJust in case you thought I had this baking thing figured out, know that these far-from-picture-perfect Carrot Cake Petit Fours were the fourth test batch and by far the least hideous.Carrot Cake Petit FoursPart of me wants to try again, but it’s not a good part. As a rule, any part of you that can feel utterly demoralized by cake (!) doesn’t deserve too much of your attention. Or maybe it deserves all of your attention? Maybe it should to go to therapy…?

As another rule, you should not take mental health advice from food blogs.Carrot Cake Petit FoursSo, uh, back to Carrot Cake Petit Fours. These sweet little squares are basically miniature layer cakes. They’re super cute and delicious, and just the right amount of cake so that you don’t feel any guilt about going back for seconds. I can eat one in about three bites—four, if I’m being ladylike. <—But why start now?!Carrot Cake Petit FoursTraditional white almond petit fours are my family’s Easter dessert of choice, so I have been trying my hand at these little cakes for the last couple of years in an effort to recapture my youth. Last year, I went for Funfetti. This year, I’m combining my family’s favorite with an Easter classic: Carrot Cake!Carrot Cake Petit FoursNow, I’ve learned a lot of things in these efforts, chief among them that petit fours are a pain in the ass labor of love. There are many steps to making them and one is applying poured fondant. They take a minimum of 2.5 hours to assemble, and that’s after you’ve baked and chilled a sheet cake. There are SO MANY dishes. So many.

I wouldn’t even bother, except that each batch—even batch 3, after which I swore I was giving up until next Easter and was so deflated that I had to leave work early to go home and go to bed—has sent me down Childhood Easter Memory Lane. And so, I trudge on with the hope that I will one day make flawless petit fours.Carrot Cake Petit FoursAlas, today is not that day. But I’ll be the first to tell you that while my poured fondant skills leave something to be desired, my carrot cake game is strong 💪 Flavored with dark brown sugar and warming spices, and studded with the perfect amount of shredded carrots, this cake is seriously phenomenal. And it should be—it’s a streamlined version of my favorite carrot layer cake. Since the batch is 3/4 of the original recipe, I’ve adjusted the volumes of the sugars and slightly reduced the oil. Nothing major; just some tacked-on tablespoons that were bothering me.

You’ll also notice that I left out the raisins and pecans. I usually like those in carrot cake, but figured all the slicing, frosting, and decorating petit fours require would be made easier without any variance in texture.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursAs for assembly, the cake is baked and chilled before being torted (sliced in half equatorially to produce two thin layers) and filled with my favorite fluffy Cream Cheese Frosting. I don’t usually like to say that any of my recipes are the “best ever,” but I make an exception for my Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s the best ever.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursAfter being stacked back together, the cake is trimmed to remove any crispy or uneven edges. Then the remaining cake is sliced into 1 1/2-inch squares. Those are crumb-coated (lightly frosted), and then the real fun starts.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursPetit fours are traditionally coated in poured fondant for a clean finish. Easier said than done! The good news is that poured fondant is mercifully quick and easy to make—just some melting and whisking over a double boiler. The less good news is that I tried three different methods of applying it to the cake and the best is a squeeze bottle. It allows for the most control, with spooning/spreading coming in as the best alternative. Dipping is a big no for these—crumb city. As I said before, this is a pain in the ass labor of love.Carrot Cake Petit FoursBut when all is said and done and decorated with little piped carrots, it’s totally worth it. The moist carrot cake, cream cheese frosting, and even the poured fondant assembly—totally worth it. Because they are just that delicious and that frigging cute, imperfections and all.Carrot Cake Petit Fours

Carrot Cake Petit Fours
makes about 2.5 dozen petit fours

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 1/4 cups coarsely grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces full-fat brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Poured Fondant:
2/3 cup hot tap water
2/3 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups white chocolate chips (a little more than a 12 ounce bag)
2 lbs confectioners sugar

For Decoration:
1/2 cup Cream Cheese Frosting
orange food coloring (or red and yellow)
green food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×13-inch cake pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, dark brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments. Use a silicone spatula to fold in carrots.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread to edges. Tap full pan on the counter 5 times to release air bubbles. Bake for 33-37 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use a thin, flexible knife to release cake, and then use overhang to lift it onto a rack. Allow to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until completely combined. Beat in vanilla. Once combined, beat on high for two additional minutes, until light and fluffy. Set 1/2 cup of frosting aside.

When you are ready to assemble, line 2 rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Top each with a cooling rack. Set aside.

Line a cutting board with parchment. Remove cake from refrigerator, unwrap and place on cutting board. Use a serrated knife to even the top of the cake. Torte cake (slice into 2 very thin layers). Remove top thin layer so you can frost the bottom thin layer. Return the top thin layer to cover the frosting. Crumb coat (lightly frost) the top.

Use serrated knife to trim off crispy cake edges (about 1/4-inch on all sides). Slice cake into 1 1/2-inch squares.

Use an offset icing knife to crumb coat squares on all exposed sides. Place on prepared racks/pans.

Make poured fondant. In a liquid measuring cup, stir together hot water, light corn syrup, and vanilla.

Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips in the heatproof bowl. When water simmers, place bowl back over the water. Whisk until melted. Alternate adding confectioners sugar and liquid ingredients, whisking constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes (it works best around 100F).

Use a funnel to fill a squeeze bottle with poured fondant.

Working quickly, use squeeze bottle to cover the the top and sides of each square. Use an offset icing knife to adjust sides as necessary. Re-warm poured fondant as needed (I like 8-10 second bursts in the microwave). This may be done with a spoon as well, although a squeeze bottle is simpler. Let poured fondant set for at least an hour.

Divide reserved frosting into 2 small bowls. Tint one with orange food coloring and the other with green. Pipe carrots (instructional video here), if desired. Serve.

Leftover petit fours will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.Carrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit FoursCarrot Cake Petit Fours

Marble Bundt Cake

Marble Bundt CakeOh, hello.Marble Bundt CakeAre you also distracted by the undeniable beauty of this Marble Bundt Cake?Marble Bundt CakeWait til you find out how delicious it is.Marble Bundt CakeAnd how incredibly easy it is to make.Marble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt CakeOne batter, two bowls, ten minutes to mix 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 Marble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt CakeA little over an hour in the oven…Marble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt Cakeand a thick blanket of ganache later…Marble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt Cakeyou have a Marble Bundt Cake that will put any coffee shop fare to shame. Shame, I tell you.Marble Bundt CakeBetween the dense, buttery crumb…Marble Bundt Cakeand chocolate marbling that actually tastes like chocolate…Marble Bundt Cakeit doesn’t get much better than this.Marble Bundt Cake

Marble Bundt Cake
makes one 10-12 cup capacity bundt cake

Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Ganache:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, salt, butter, eggs, vanilla, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick. Set aside.

Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30 second increments in the microwave, stirring in between, until melted. This may also be done in a double boiler.

Transfer 1 1/2 cups of batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate. Use a fork and/or silicone spatula to combine the two.

Transfer remaining batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Dollop chocolate batter over the top and use a thin knife or skewer to lightly marble it in. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.

Make ganache. Place chopped chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edge.

Pour warm cream over chopped chocolate. Do not stir. Cover bowl with a lid or aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Remove lid/foil. Starting in the center of the bowl and stirring your way toward the edge, use a fork to stir until chocolate and cream are combined and smooth.

Place cake (still on the rack) over a rimmed baking sheet.

Spoon/pour ganache over the top. Let set for 15-20 minutes before removing to a serving plate, slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.
Marble Bundt CakeMarble Bundt Cake

Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Nobody throws a dinner party quite like my friend, David. He can make a multi-course meal for fifty without panicking for a second, and he’s been known to throw impromptu dinner & a movie nights for twenty without the slightest hesitation.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Both the man and his food are sophisticated without being pretentious—think ham smoked on his roof, cold salmon with dill & yogurt, habanero cheese grits, herby roasted potatoes, tomato & avocado salad with pesto, and a recipe for brussels sprouts that haunts my dreams. And that’s to say nothing of the things he can do with a Costco croissant and a bulb of fennel! I could go on, but the bottom line is that David makes unfussy food that is outrageously delicious, and if you are ever so lucky as to be invited for dinner at his apartment, you must must must go. If not for the main menu or the love of his three-legged cat, go for the Boterkoek.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}If you have never heard of Boterkoek (pronounced “bow-ter-kook”), it’s Dutch for “butter cake,” and it’s about to be your new favorite dessert for any and all occasions. David is of Dutch descent and makes it frequently (usually from Heleen A.M. Halverhout’s Dutch Cooking), and now, so do I.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}As its name states, this cake is ridiculously buttery. It’s also sweet, simple, and the sort of thing that works just as well for dinner with friends as it does for delivering to new parents or keeping around to pick on over the course of a lazy weekend.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek is made from a dough rather than a batter. It includes softened butter (duh), sugar, an egg, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, and minced candied ginger. There’s no leavener, but the final product isn’t terribly dense. I attribute that to beating the softened butter until it’s good and fluffy.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}As with all of David’s go-to recipes, this one is decidedly unfussy. The most annoying part of making a Boterkoek is reserving a teaspoon of the beaten egg for brushing over the top of the cake. No bother, really. The thin layer of egg wash makes for a golden top, and a crosshatch pattern carved out with the tines of a fork gives way to crispy edges and a magazine-quality presentation.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}I haven’t even mentioned the flavor! Boterkoek is rich and buttery with a touch of almond flavor and a little sharpness from the candied ginger. The texture falls somewhere between a cake, shortbread and a blondie—it’s best eaten with a fork when it’s warm, but can be handheld when it’s room temperature.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek is what I like to call an everyday cake; it can be made easily with few ingredients, doesn’t require layering or frosting, and works for almost any casual occasion including, of course, a dinner party at David’s. Or, you know, watching Netflix in your oldest/best pajamas.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Either way, you shouldn’t skimp on the ice cream.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}
adapted from Dutch Cooking by Heleen A.M. Halverhout
makes one 8-inch round cake, about 8-10 slices

1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup minced candied ginger

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch pie plate with butter. Set aside.

Crack egg into a small bowl and beat with a fork. Use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon to remove 1 teaspoon of the egg to a separate bowl. Whisk 1 teaspoon water with the 1 teaspoon of egg to make an egg wash. Set both bowls aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, an electric mixer (or wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease) to beat softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the larger amount of egg, vanilla and almond extracts, and beat to combine. Add flour and salt and mix until a thick, crumbly dough forms. Add minced candied ginger and mix on low for 10-15 seconds to distribute.

Press dough into prepared pan. Brush egg wash over the top. Use the tines of a fork or edge of a knife to create a crosshatch pattern on top.

Bake cake 30-35 minutes, or until golden and glossy on top. Let cool at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving from the pan.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4.Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes

Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesI’ll never forget the first time I found meyer lemons in a regular grocery store. It was 2010, and I was doing a last-second rush for supplies before a blizzard. I have no idea what I shopped for that day (my then-oven ran at least 150F cool, so options were limited), but I remember seeing a display of meyer lemons and thinking they were so…exotic. I had heard of meyer lemons, of course, but never seen them in the wild (er, Cobble Hill grocery store). Out of curiosity, I put a couple in my cart. I couldn’t begin to tell you what I did with them, but that is the probably-tedious story of how I came to love meyer lemons.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesFast forward nine years and I have used meyer lemons many, many times. I see them in every store this time of year, and while I no longer think of them as exotic, I always look forward to adding their orange-lemon flavor to my bakes. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I only have one lone meyer lemon recipe in my archives! Just one measly recipe for scones—very good scones, mind you, but how is that the only recipe I have to celebrate one of the best winter citruses out there?!Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesWell, consider that oversight rectified. Today’s Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes celebrate everything that is wonderful about this winter citrus. There’s meyer lemon zest in the batter, the cakes are soaked in a sticky meyer lemon syrup, and the cakes are topped with a thick meyer lemon icing drizzle. Yesssss.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesThis recipe is based off the Orange Cardamom Cake I posted last fall. The batter itself is near identical; just sub meyer lemon zest for orange and nix the cardamom. Instead of baking it in a bundt pan, I went for two loaf pans—one to share, ya know?!

I also upped the temperature by 25F. This extra burst of heat allows the cakes to dome slightly, which comes in handy when you drizzle on the thick meyer lemon icing.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesBut before we get to icing, let’s talk syrup! After baking, these cakes are soaked with a meyer lemon simple syrup. To make it, just combine equal volumes of meyer lemon juice and granulated sugar over low heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves. Easy.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle CakesWhile the cakes are still warm, poke ‘em full of holes. I like to use a thin, flexible knife to keep them inconspicuous, but a skewer will work. Whatever you use, poke it through to the bottom. Then pour over that syrup. You’ll think it’s too much, or that it’ll make your cakes soggy, but it won’t. It’ll just make them extra moist and dense and outrageously delicious. This is the good stuff.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle CakesLast but not least, let’s talk about the drizzle. It’s a just a simple icing—two ingredients, one bowl, no mixer—but it’s the crowning glory on these tea cakes. Once the soaked cakes are cool, set them on a cooling rack and pour the icing down the center. The cakes’ slight domes should help the icing to “spread” itself, but you can coax it with the back of a spoon, too. It’ll drip down the sides a bit, but should be thick enough that most of it stays on top. The icing will set quickly, which is a good thing because you’re going to want to dig right in.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle Cake is good on the first day. Very good, even. But if you have the patience, you should wait a day or two to have a slice. The cakes become even more tender and the orange-lemon flavor intensifies over time, making those day-old slices absolutely heavenly.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesI, however, have no patience around Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cake.Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes

Meyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes
makes two 9×5-inch loaf cakes

Cakes:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh meyer lemon zest (about 2 medium meyer lemons-worth)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature

Syrup:
2/3 cup freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice (about 4 medium meyer lemons)
2/3 cup granulated sugar

Icing Drizzle:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 1/2 medium meyer lemons)

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9×5-inch loaf pans. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on the two long sides, and grease again. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick.

Transfer batter to prepared pans and smooth the tops with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pans on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes while you make the syrup.

Combine meyer lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stab warm cakes (still in their pans) several times with a thin, flexible knife or skewer, making sure to poke all the way to the bottom. Pour syrup evenly over the cakes, about 1/2 cup each. Let cakes soak in the syrup until they are completely cool.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and set a cooling rack over the top. Use parchment overhang to remove soaked cakes from pans. Discard used parchment and place cakes on prepared cooling rack.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar and meyer lemon juice. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more meyer lemon juice by the teaspoon. Pour over the centers of the cakes—the icing should “spread” itself, but you can coax it a bit with the back of a spoon. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cakes to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to five. Meyer lemon flavor will intensify over time.Meyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle CakesMeyer Lemon Drizzle Cakes