I was on vacation last week--we didn't go anywhere, since I was the only one off (spring break for Brianna was a month ago), but it was a nice break from work. I realized this weekend that I actually accomplished quite a few things on my to-do list. I got some annual doctor appointments out of the way, including my first mammogram. Gotta love getting older... =) (It was kind of a weird experience, but not that bad. I've certainly endured more uncomfortable things--after all, I gave birth to two children.) I bought some new sandals and gave myself a pedicure so I'm ready for all the warm weather around here. Of course, then I had to paint two smaller sets of toenails as well. I even got to have both lunch and dinner out with my husband. I took him to lunch on Wednesday for his birthday (and made him cupcakes, too), and then the daycare did parents night out on Saturday. Two nice meals sans kiddos in one week--unprecedented!
Surprisingly, I didn't do as much baking as I originally expected to. But for a change, I did get a jump on making the latest TWD selection--I baked it over a week ago, in fact. This week our recipe is Lemon Loaf Cake, and our hosts are Truc of Treats and Michelle of The Beauty of Life. As I was reading over the recipe (contributed by Norman Love), I realized that I was already familiar with the mixing method for the cake batter. Both Dorie's Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes and the French Pound Cake from Flour are mixed up in a similar fashion. Instead of creaming butter and sugar together, you start off by mixing the eggs and sugar together. Then you fold in the dry ingredients, and finally the liquids (cream and melted butter).
I like loaf cakes, but was in the mood for something different this time. Gillian asked me recently why I hadn't made anything in the "bug pan" in a long time. Since I previously used it for the Flour pound cake, I figured it would also work well for this recipe. I was lucky enough to find the pan (pictured above) at Costco last spring, which made it much more affordable for a Nordic Ware pan. It only has a 3 cup volume, though, so I knew I'd need to put the rest of the batter in something else. I have some small loaf pans, but ended up going with my 6-cup bundt pan.
Besides my pan choices, I did tweak the recipe in a few other small ways. I borrowed Dorie's tip from recipes in Baking and rubbed the lemon zest into the sugar before combining it with the eggs. I also used a bit more salt--1/4 teaspoon--and for the cake flour, I used King Arthur's Unbleached Cake Flour Blend. After baking, I left the bugs unadorned, but couldn't resist dressing up the bundt cake. After I removed it from its pan, I brushed it with a lemon syrup while the cake was still hot. Then once it cooled, I drizzled it with a lemon glaze as well.
The verdict? We liked both versions. This is my favorite type of pound cake--I love the texture of it, and it never seems dry to me like others do sometimes. I like the extra punch of lemon added by the syrup and glaze on the cake, and enjoy how the tart topping makes a nice contrast to the sweeter flavor of the cake itself. The lemon flavor was milder in the bugs, but definitely still there. We all ate those shortcake-style with macerated strawberries and whipped cream, and they were delicious. I need to use that pan more often--the girls really love the fun shapes.
If you'd like to give this recipe a try, you can find it on Truc's blog or Michelle's blog. Be sure to check out the other lemony Links, too!