This lemon-spice cake is my recipe gift to you today. It’s a visiting cake.
This week marks Blue Cayenne’s second birthday. Woo-hoo! Let’s party!
But, what in the world is a visiting cake?
Cooking diva Dorie Greenspan (Dorie’s Cookies, Baking Chez Moi, Around My French Table) recently wrote about “visiting cakes” for an On The Road column in The New York Times Magazine. A visiting cake is a gift cake, one that is necessarily sturdy, durable and full of long-lasting flavor. Historically, a lot of visiting cakes were fruit cakes, but we’re not going to go there.
The lemon-spice visiting cake that Greenspan includes in her Times piece is perfect for a visiting cake. Its texture is pound-cakeish (I’m sure that must be a word). It is flavored with bold spices (ginger and cardamom) and hand-rubbed lemon sugar. And, its moist crumb is locked in by a generous brushing of melted orange marmalade.
I can tell you from personal experience (trust me here) that the cake tastes great for days after it is baked. In fact, it is at its very best on the second and third day after you bake it.
But, back to our birthday…Both of us here at Blue Cayenne–me and my Chief Quality Officer Juliet–thank you for reading our posts and for your generous words of encouragement. A special thanks goes to Al Nomura, my talented photography mentor, who (amazingly) has never lost faith in my ability to improve as a photographer.
Truth be told, Juliet and I are having an awfully good time with this one hundred ninety-one post (and counting) project. We’re eating some very good food, too, and it is always more fun when you can share the recipes.
Thanks for visiting.
- Butter and flour for the pan
- 1 1/2C. (204 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 t. baking powder
- 1 t. ground cardamom
- 1/2 t ground ginger
- 1/2 t. fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 C. (250 grams) sugar
- 1 large lemon (I used the zest from two medium-sized lemons)
- 4 large eggs (at room temperature)
- 1/2 C. (120 ml) heavy cream (at room temperature)
- 1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
- 5 1/2 T. (77 grams) unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
- 1/3 C. marmalade (melted)
- 1/2 t. water
- Preheat oen to 350 degrees F.
- Butter and dust a 8 1/2-inch loaf pan with flour.
- Melt butter and let it cool. Set it aside.
- Whisk 1 1/2 C. flour, baking powder, cardamom, ginger and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Combine sugar and the grated zest of one or two lemons in a medium bowl. Rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until the oil from the zest makes the sugar moist and aromatic. Whisk eggs into the sugar mixture. (Add the eggs one at a time and whisk each time until the egg is fully incorporated.) Whisk in 3 T. lemon juice. Whisk in the heavy cream.
- Slowly, add in the dry ingredients in two additions to the sugar mixture. (Use a whisk to do this.)
- Add vanilla extract to the melted butter you prepared at the beginning of this recipe. Gradually mix this butter mixture into the batter. Your batter will be thick and glossy.
- Scrape the prepared batter into your buttered and flour-dusted loaf pan.
- Bake your cake on the center rack of your oven for 70 to 75 minutes. (I set my loaf pan on an insulated cookie sheet for double protection against over-cooking the bottom of the cake.) When it is done, a tester pushed deep into the center of the cake will come out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let the cake rest for about 5 minutes in the pan. After five minutes, run a blunt knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. (Be careful here to be sure that the cake is fully releasing from the bottom of the loaf pan.) Invert the cake onto a rack on your counter and then turn the cake over.
- Melt the marmalade with the 1/2 t. water to make a glaze. Brush the cake with the glaze. Let it cool completely.
- Let the cake cool completely for at least 2 hours before you cut it.
- Cream sugar and butter together in a large bowl.
This recipe is adapted from a Dorie Greenspan recipe. Here is the link: Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon-Spice Visiting Cake