Friday, June 17, 2005

Ligurian Lemon Cake

Since this cake was made after midnight when the household was fast asleep, it was a nice surprise for breakfast. What prompted me was half a box of raspberries in my refrigerator showing early signs of losing freshness. They were perfect to use in this cake recipe from Desserts by Pierre Herme, though. I halved the recipe and made it in my 8"x4" loaf pan instead of a springform pan, but I will give you the recipe as it appears in the book. This cake turned even better than I expected, moist and flavorful; probably due to the unexpected addition of extra-virgin olive oil. I am tempted to try it with blackberries next time. The only problem was that my lemon peel included the pith as well as the zest, and you could taste a hint of bitterness in the cake. I guess this is a good excuse to finally acquire a zester.

In case you are wondering about the name of this cake, check this link.

1 3/4 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, very finely chopped
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tbs whole milk
1 tbs lemon juice
7 tbs unsalted butter, melted and still warm
2/3 c mild extra-virgin oil
About 1 pint fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 10" round cake or springform pan. Dust the interior with flour.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and reserve.

Place the sugar and chopped zest in the bowl of a mixer and rub the ingredients together between your fingers until the sugar is very aromatic. Add the eggs and beat on medium-high for about 3 minutes. Set the beater on low, and add the milk. Add the sifted dry ingredients, beating only until they are incorporated, and then add the lemon juice, warm melted butter and olive oil, again beating only until blended.

Pour about one third of the batter into the prepared pan. Top with the raspberries, then pour on the rest of the batter, making sure that it covers and goes in between the berries. You'll have a thin layer of batter covering the berries.

Bake the cake for 30-33 minutes or until golden in color and pulling away from the sides of the pan. Immediately unmold it, and invert so that the right side is up. Cool it to room temperature.