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Lemonade Cake

Something you should know about me is that I’m a pie girl. Pie over cake any day. However, I am clearly outnumbered in my family as the only other pie aficionado is my youngest daughter. I do love my family very much though, so I bake them cakes, because no matter how hard I try I can’t convert them damn it.

My mother’s birthday just passed and I thought I’d try something new. I have to admit this Lemonade Cake was delicious and briefly made me forget about my love affair with apple crumble. It also made those “cake people” very, very happy.

There are several recipes for Lemonade cake floating about on the internet, but in the end I chose this one because I like making my own cake, rather than the boxed kind.

Lemonade Cake

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
Cooking spray

Icing

2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg whites, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda; stir well with a whisk. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat well after each addition.

Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

To prepare frosting, place 2 tablespoons butter and the next 4 ingredients (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). Chill 1 hour.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

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Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart

When life hands me lemons, I like to make lemonade, lemon loaf, lemon squares, and lemon pies. My favorite thing in the world to make though is this Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart. This has been in my baking repertoire since 2004 when I found it in a Bon Appetit magazine. It’s become a family favorite and my good friend Tracey’s as well. Tracey is a formally trained chef at the Cordon Bleu and Stratford cooking school. She also owns an incredible gourmet food company called Epicuria. This lemon tart impresses her, which makes me puff out my chest a little bit. We all have to have something that we can be proud off in our recipe file. This is mine.

Lemon Crème Brûlée Tart

Crust

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tbsps chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 tsps (or more) chilled whipping cream

1 egg white, beaten to blend

Filling

3/4 cup plus 2 tbsps sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
4 large egg yolks
2 large eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated lemon peel

Lemon slices (optional)

For crust: Combine flour, sugar and salt in processor; blend 5 seconds. Using on/off turns, blend in butter until coarse meal forms. Add 4 teaspoons cream. Using on/off turns, blend until moist clumps form, adding more cream by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into a ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Fold overhang in, pressing to form double thick sides. Bake crust until golden, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 18 minutes (small cracks may appear). Brush inside of hot crust twice with egg white. Maintain oven temperature.

For filling: Whisk 3/4 cup sugar, cream, yolks and eggs in bowl to blend well. Mix in lemon juice and lemon peel. Pour filling into warm crust. Bake until filling is slightly puffed at edges and set in centre, about 30 minutes. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Preheat broiler. Place tart on baking sheet. Cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burning. Sprinkle tart with 2 tablespoons sugar. Broil tart until sugar melts and caramelizes, turning sheet for even browning, about 2 minutes. Transfer tart to rack. Cool until topping is crisp, about 1 hour. Push tart pan bottom up, releasing tart. Place on platter, garnish with lemon slices if desired. Serve.

Pleasantville note: I don’t put mine under the broiler. I find it’s too easy for it to burn and get away from you. I use my kitchen torch which gives me more control. If you use your broiler, don’t take your eyes off the tart!

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