Monday, April 16, 2012

TWD: Lemon Loaf Cake


Let me just put it out there. This Lemon Loaf Cake is not half as good as Ina's Lemon Cake. (Which you may recall that I made back in March.) Which is sort of funny, as Ina always talks about how Julia had a huge influence in Ina's own culinary adventures.

Though when looking at the two recipes side-by-side, it's pretty obvious as to why Ina's is better. Ina's recipe contains more than double the amount of butter. There's an additional cup of sugar. It includes actual lemon juice, it includes buttermilk (as opposed to Julia's use of heavy cream), and it calls for a lemony sugar glaze. One might say that Ina's recipe is overindulgence at its finest.

Overindulging on this guy is impossible
Regardless, I approached Julia's recipe with an open mind. I don't need all that extra butter, sugar and stuff. And I certainly appreciated that I was not juicing a million lemons.

Of course as simple as the recipe was, it was almost destined to go wrong from the beginning. My cake flour was well past its prime. (Is that gross?)

This reads, "Best if used by Jul 05 2011," in case you can't see the white print

My melted butter solidified, and when I attempted to re-melt it, it exploded all over my microwave.

A couple other things happened, but photographs of letting cake batter sit in my fridge as I suddenly got too busy to bake it are not too exciting.

To compensate for what I knew would be a damaged cake, I made an amazing blueberry sauce. Seriously, add this sauce to your repertoire asap. The slight flavoring of orange (juice) and almond totally makes the sauce.

(Apologies for the completely un-styled and half-topped cake photo. It was served at a friend's house, and I knew that 1) it wouldn't be eaten in its entirety, and 2) we'd be wrapping it up and taking it home.)

In the end, the Lemon Loaf Cake did not taste all that awful - it just didn't taste that great. It was dense (perhaps due to my expired cake flour?), lacking in flavor, and even the blueberry sauce couldn't save it. I will happily go back to my sinfully delicious Lemon Cake recipe from Ina, and just suck up all the work required in juicing 14-16 lemons.

I much preferred this half of a cookies and cream cupcake over the lemon cake

If you think you can improve upon Julia's recipe and are not totally turned off by my review, you can view the recipe on the blogs of this week's TWD hosts - Treats and The Beauty of Life.


  1. Great photos and love the idea of adding the blueberry sauce.


  2. I hear you. "Eh" pretty much sums it up. Also, when it comes to desserts (particularly fruity ones), I agree that Ina can do no wrong. Don't blame poor Julia for the mediocre lemon cake, though. It was her guest baker, Norman Love, who contributed the recipe.

    Great story.

    And totally separately, I have cutting board envy. Where can I get one? Nutmeggers unite!

    1. You're totally rate - Julia definitely doesn't deserve all my criticism on this one. Oh, Norman....

      Isn't the cutting board great?? A good friend of mine gifted it to me for my wedding shower a few years ago. I believe she got it from Etsy, but I'm not sure of the specific seller. Love seeing other Nutmeggers in this group!

    2. Um, totally "right", not "rate."

  3. Great idea with the blueberry sauce on top!! I didn't think it was perfect either but I did like it :)

  4. I could have easily written this post myself. I had even included a comment about Ina´s lemon loaf, which is my absolute favorite, but then deleted it since I had never posted about it and it needed some explanation on the side. But you did a great job adding blueberry sauce!

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one preferring Ina's lemon cake! And as far as she goes, I don't think any explanation is ever needed. :)

  5. it DID require soemthing more to help it..a glaze or topping of some sort!! it was ok.. nothing great.. blueberry sauce looks good!!

  6. My mother's cake flour had expired in the year 2000...Just ponder that for a moment. We both squealed and tossed it without even inspecting the contents.
    Where did you get your Connecticut cutting board? I love it!
    I actually really enjoyed this cake. I was surprised to see everyone so divided on it. Mine wasn't dense or dry at all, despite slightly under-cooking it. Although the addition of jam was amazeballs. Diffr'nt Strokes I guess.

  7. Gah! That's crappy! But the blueberry sauce.... good lawd, that's a good idea! Will definitely have to try it :)

  8. I love blueberry and lemon together - I'll have to try that sometime. Good idea, and it looks pretty, too.

  9. I am always good for exploding butter in the microwave. Such a messy ordeal.
    Blueberry sauce is definitely a trick that everyone should have up their sleeve...

  10. Blueberry and lemon are always a good combination in my book. About cake flour - isn't it weird that the packaging on all cake flour looks like it's from 1978? There are two brands that I've seen - Pillsbury & Swan's Down - and they both need some serious help. It makes it look like all cake flour is expired if you ask me...

  11. I agree with you--this cake was less than spectacular. Your sauce sounds delicious though.