They say learning something new and doing something new is good for the brain and keeps us young. Well, yesterday I did two things that I’d never done before and it all started with my “staying young” 90-year-old friend, Irene (here at her b-day party last week). One of her visiting sons brought her a bag full of large Meyer Lemons so she gave me four of them to take home. Now, we have a Meyer Lemon tree that we’ve managed to keep alive in our cold winters and not-too-hot summers, but I seriously doubt I’ll ever see large lemons off of it like Tom brought her from the Sacramento valley. It was a great opportunity to use a recipe I’d been saving for a few years since we planted our tree: Meyer Lemon Cake. The recipe is a Sunset Magazine reader contribution: http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=1589353 . After googling to find the link I see it has been the subject of a number of blogs, even featured at a B&B in Nevada. I guess its claim to fame at our house is that half of it is gone already and I never did get the glaze done! Anyway, the two things I’ve never done before: 1. Butter and flour a tart pan. (I suppose I’ve never done this before because I’ve always used a tart crust in a tart pan. Truth be told, one reason I chose this recipe is because I didn’t need to make a separate crust) and 2. Boil lemons! This action mellows the flavor and softens them till they collapse. It was very fun to see what happens when you simmer whole lemons for half-an-hour. So, anyway, the other neat thing about this recipe is that it has no added fat in it. It’s quite amazing, made mostly with eggs and almond meal. The recipe calls for whirring 1 1/2 cups of whole almonds, but I had almond meal already on hand and so had to do some calculating by weight on how much to use. I went with 2 cups of meal and the cake came out very good and moist. It’s a dense cake even with folding in the egg white separately and I’m missing the candied ginger flavor, so I’d probably up the amount of that. I did cut out about 1/4 cup of the sugar just because we don’t like things too sweet, but I’d recommend tasting the batter before baking as using the whole lemons does lend a slight bitter quality from the pith. I’m not sure a child would appreciate this cake, but we sure do! Thanks Irene (and Tom) for the lemons! I’m sure the cake is even prettier with the glaze and lemon slices on top, but we’ll have to wait for next time for that.
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