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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Velvety, Lemony, Perfect!

Hello everybody! I can't believe another month has gone by! Where are days going? How can it almost be March? Wasn't it just Christmas? I feel like time is just escaping right in front of me! I am almost 35 as well!!! What in the world? Wasn't I just the age of my friend's daughter? How dare she be 18? How dare she have her prom in April? Wasn't I just 18? Anyway... I guess it's just starting to hit me! like... really hit me!

But... in Mexico we say "Las penas con pan son buenas" which translated means "Even pain is good if there's bread" and of course we have these weird expressions for everything in Mexico... and I guess if you pay attention to that "saying" you'll understand why we, Mexicans, are sooooo into food! Like... really into it! It's almost like a cult! LOL!  And there's obviously always truth in those popular sayings... Everything "feels better" when you eat! (therefore so much obesity I guess!) ... So... let's make the pain of getting older go away if just for a second with a little cake!

It's time to reveal the "Cake of the Month" ... we, The Cake Slice Bakers are baking through the "Great Cakes" book (by Carole Walter) ... this book has turned out to be quite a disappointment for some... I've actually enjoyed baking from it! and hubby has not complained at all either... It is a very old fashioned book... but there's a certain enticing beauty to old fashioned recipes! This month the cake that won our poll was

Lemon Velvet Squares 

They were... delicious! SOOOOOOOOOOO delicious! At least... we truly, deeply loved them! For the very first time we all REALLY loved a lemon cake/dessert! It wasn't overly lemony at all... and the lemon glaze that Mrs. Walters suggests to go with this cake is just the perfect way to top this very perfect, subtle, delicate, beautiful cake!

Since the recipe has already been published online I will share it with you today as well:

Lemon Velvet Squares 
(slightly adapted from "Great Cakes" by Carole Walter Recipe)
Yield: ( about 8-10 servings)

  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated navel orange rind
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice(or you can even use the "Simply Orange" juice which is all I had)
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, for garnish(or make a simple lemon glaze by creaming together 2 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature and 1 cup of powdered sugar and then just add 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp. hot water -add a few more drops if too thick-, 1/2 vanilla extract and blend until it is pourable and smooth.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°; butter a 13x9 inch baking pan. 
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. Cut the butter into 1" pieces and place in the large bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment.
  4. Add in the lemon and orange rinds and soften on low speed.
  5. Increase to med-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1 ½-2 minutes.
  6. Add the sugar gradually and take a total time of about 6-8 minutes to blend it in well (scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally).
  7. Add in eggs, 1 at a time (add the next one as the previous one has completely disappeared but don't overmix), scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  8. Decrease speed to low; in a small bowl, combine the water, lemon juice, and orange juice.
  9. Add the dry ingredients alternating with the liquids, dividing the flour mixture into 3 parts and the liquid into two parts, starting and ending with the flour.
  10. Mix just until incorporated after each addition; do not worry if the batter appears to curdle, it should smooth out after the flour is blended inches.
  11. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 seconds longer. 
  12. Spoon batter into prepared pan, smoothing with the back of a spoon.
  13. Center the pan on the oven rack and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top, springy to touch, and begins to come away from the sides of the pan. 
  14. Remove pan from oven and set on a cake rack to cool.
  15. Just before serving, place powdered sugar in a fine mesh strainer and dust the top of the cake (or pour the easy lemon glaze that I mentioned in the ingredients section); cut into squares and serve.


© Paloma K.

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