Adam’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and Hannah was a huge help making his birthday cake. Every year I make a roast chicken dinner for him and bake a three-tiered devil’s food cake with vanilla buttercream. This year Hannah helped with the cake. Baking with her always requires a little project management, but baking a three-tiered cake required a little more.
I loved today. Such a great summer day, and a great unwind after some stressful work times. Tuesday is my last day of work, so I’ve been closing up the library, saying my goodbyes, packing up and hauling home all of my personal work stuff. That has occupied a lot of my thoughts the past week, so today was a really nice respite. At this point I am mentally done and gone, I just need the days to physically end.
We had a horrible storm here yesterday. Thunder, lightning, a big pelting hailstorm. A nearby crack of lightning killed my computer. It’s completely fried, along with two other gadgets and the network ports they were attached to in Adam’s technology cave (also known as the laundry room closet). I’m currently posting from our library computer, which I’ve usurped until my new parts get here and Adam can fix my motherboard (I sound like I know what I’m talking about, right?).
Let me preface this with a confession. Part of why I’m so excited to be a mom is to finally have an excuse to go crazy with the party planning. I think I do a pretty good job entertaining our grownup friends, but the options for kid parties are just neverending. This is not the sole reason I wanted to start a family, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Don’t get me started on the sewing options for homemade Halloween costumes. This Mommy business completely appeals to my inner home ec goddess.
I had a serious craving on Friday night for a lemony cake. Not a pound cake, and not a full-on layer cake with frosting. I specifically wanted to make a lemon Bundt cake, and it took me a surprisingly long time to find a straightforward recipe for this. I found all kinds of bundts made with puddings or oozing with fillings, but I just wanted something plain and simple. Eventually I found a perfect recipe in the American’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. I do love that book so. My only criticism is that I made the citrus glaze to go over the top of this cake, and it was a little bit of a tart overload to me. But that could be my own weird pregnant palette, or the fact that I slightly overmeasured the amount of lemon juice I used. Not a flaw of the recipe’s, just my own taste. A simple glaze would’ve been more delicious to me. But here are both recipes as I made them.
Lemon Bundt Cake
To coat the pan:
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking pwder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
3/4 cup buttermilk (I made my own with the lemon juice and milk trick)
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 large egg yolk at room temperature
18 Tbsp (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
For the glaze:
1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or orange juice
Here’s what I will say about this pie: Martha Stewart failed me this Thanksgiving.
I spent a ton of time working on 2 desserts from her November 2011 issue: the 6-layer salted caramel chocolate cake, and this pie. Both sounded delicious in theory, neither really worked. And since I take baking pretty seriously this was not good. We had my in-laws staying with us Thanksgiving week, so hearing baking comments and questions from the MIL every time I brought out a new dessert fail essentially killed my festive spirit (pregnancy hormones didn’t help, either). Nobody needed to tell me they were both insane desserts, but who doesn’t want their houseguests to just lie to them?