The recipe has sort of evolved through the years, and I think of my mother whenever I make it, recalling the grand times we had together experimenting in the kitchen. We both liked desserts that were not overly sweet, and we liked the slight "edge" the pith of the Meyer lemon added to the cake. If you were to make it with a regular lemon, which is more sour and has a thicker layer of pith, it would go beyond a slight "edge" right into bitter.
The cake can be glazed or frosted, but I like it with just a dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of whipped cream. This time, since I had some cream cheese on hand, I made half a batch of cream cheese frosting and piped a wide border. This is one cake that can stand up to a sweet frosting.
Now that spring has sprung, what are you in the mood to bake?
Meyer Lemon Cake - Gateau au Citron
(Makes one 8-inch layer)
6 ounces (1 large or 2 small) Meyer lemons (Use unsprayed, unwaxed organic lemons)
3/4 cup sugar
1 dip-and-sweep cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 On a plate (so as to catch all the juice) cut the lemon(s) into 1/4-inch slices and remove the seeds. Place the lemon slices and juice in food processor along with the sugar. Process for 60 seconds. Let stand to macerate while continuing the recipe.
2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees if pan is glass). Butter well and lightly flour an 8-inch layer pan.
3 In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
4 Add the butter to the lemon mixture and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs and vanilla and process until smooth, about another 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
5 Sift the flour mixture over the lemon mixture a third at a time, alternating with the milk in two additions, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.
6 Turn the batter into prepared pan and bake about 30 minutes, until it tests done with a toothpick inserted into the center. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on wire rack to cool.
The cooled cake can be wrapped tightly and stored at room temperature for up to 5 days. Can be frozen, double-wrapped, for a month. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature.