Showing posts with label lemon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lemon. Show all posts

Monday, March 28, 2016

Lemon Almond Bars with Italian Meringue

I can't believe it's almost been a year since my very first blog post, the Speckled Easter Cake! I'm having so much fun on this baking journey. One year later, and I'm back with a new Easter post.

Our friends invited us over for an Easter potluck this past weekend, and since spring is in the air, I wanted to bake a fresh and fruity dessert to bring. When I came across this Lemon Almond Bars with Italian Meringue recipe, I knew it was calling my name. I know I've told you before, but lemon desserts are high up on my list of things I love.

Now, what makes this dessert better than a traditional lemon bar (and trust me, I do love a good lemon bar), are the two layers of almond cake that surrounds the lemon filling. The sweetness from the almond cake, the tartness of the lemon, and the smooth Italian meringue - it's pure magic.

Speaking of meringue, do you want in on a secret? I've been terrified of making Italian Meringue ever since I tried an Italian Meringue Buttercream recipe a year ago and failed miserably. To my surprise, it turns out it's not that hard at all! This time I had a good cooking thermometer, so I knew when the sugar mix had the right temperature before going into the whipped egg whites. After that, the Kitchen Aid worked its magic, and the result was a beautiful meringue.

I might have to come up with a similar cake idea, because this recipe was a perfect combination of fresh, light and creamy.

Lemon Meringue Bars
from Hembakat

Almond cake layers

400 g almond paste
100 g butter, room temperature
4 eggs
3 tbsp flour

Lemon filling

1 ½ gelatin sheets
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
90 g sugar
3.38 oz water
15 g corn starch
1 egg yolk
25 g butter

Italian Meringue

4 egg whites
3.38 oz water
135 g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grate the almond paste into a mixing bowl. Whip in the butter and the eggs, one at a time. Lastly, fold the flour into the mix.

2. Dress two 8 inch square baking dishes with parchment paper. Divide the batter into the dishes, and bake for about 17 minutes. Let cool.

3. Lift the cakes from the baking dishes, and remove the parchment paper. Clean one of the pans and cover the inside with plastic wrap. Put one of the cakes in the pan with the baked side upward.

4. Filling: Put the gelatin in a bowl of cold water for about five minutes. Bring the lemon juice and half the amount of water to a boil.

5. Mix the corn starch with the egg yolk and the remaining amount of water in a mixing bowl. Stir the warm lemon mix into the egg yolk and whip on high speed. Pour it back into the saucepan and let it simmer until the cream thickens. Pour the lemon cream into a bowl and add the butter, a little at a time, and stir until smooth.

6. Remove the gelatin from the water and gently melt in a saucepan. Pour it into the lemon mix, while still warm. Pour the lemon curd on top of the almond cake. Transfer the second layer almond cake, baked side down, on top of the lemon filling. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer for at least three hours.

7. Meringue: Pour the egg whites into a clean mixing bowl. Boil water and sugar until it reaches a temperature of 250 degrees. When the thermometer reaches 230 degrees, you start whipping the egg whites. When the sugar mixture reaches 230 degrees, gently pour it into the egg whites, whipping on high speed for a few minutes. Lower the speed, add the vanilla sugar and whip until the meringue has cooled.

8. Take out the cake from the freezer, and remove from the baking pan. Spread 2/3 of the meringue on the cake. Cut the cake into 12 rectangular pieces, while still frozen. Use the remaining meringue to decorate the pieces. I used a round tip, but you can also cut off one of the corners of a zip lock bag and get the same result. Torch the top of the meringue with a culinary torch.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Swedish Citronkladdkaka with Blackberry Syrup

Happy snow day! I hope my East coast friends are all snuggled up cozy and warm with a hot cop of coffee or tea. This little snow-inspired cake is delicious and so easy to whip up. Perfect for a day like this!

This was the first time I tasted a kladdkaka made with anything but the traditional chocolate, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. The lemon version was gooey, but light, and not too heavy like flourless cakes sometimes can be. Besides, anything sweet made with lemon is a thumbs up in my book.

The original recipe doesn't call for syrup, but I had some blackberries at home and thought it would be a nice touch to the lemon flavor. And it was delicious! I also used some graham crackers as a crumb coating for the spring form pan. Because, why not?

Stay warm, and have fun baking!

from Hembakat

1 lemon 
150 g butter
3 eggs 
270 g sugar (1 heaping cup)
2 tsp vanilla sugar*
150 g flour
powdered sugar for garnish

*you can substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla extract

Blackberry syrup

1/2 cup blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch and  1 tsp of water


For the blackberry syrup:

  1. Put the rinsed blackberries and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and mush the berries with a fork. Mix the cornstarch with 1 tsp of water, then add to the berries and stir. Let simmer for a couple of minutes.
  2. Take out a clean bowl and put a fine mesh strainer on top. Pour the syrup into the strainer and press the mushed berries. Let cool.

For the kladdkaka:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the lemon and pat dry. Zest the lemon and squeeze out 2 tbps of juice.
  2. Melt the butter. Add all the ingredients and stir until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased and floured spring form pan. (I used graham cracker crumbs as coating instead)
  4. Put the blackberry syrup in a zip lock bag and cut a small hole in one corner. Gently squeeze thin horizontal lines across the batter. Take a toothpick or a small pairing knife and run vertically trough the lines. First downwards, then do the next one upwards and continue until you have created a pattern over the whole batter.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, and then let cool. Remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar along the edges. It's delicious when served with whipped cream!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lemon Lavender Pound Cake

There are two kinds of dessert I am most likely to never turn down, and that is anything made with chocolate or lemon. Now that spring is here, I feel like my usual baking of rich chocolate desserts are being switched out for lighter, fruity ones. Since I happened to have some lemons sitting on the kitchen counter that looked kind of lonely, I decided to try a new recipe for lemon pound cake. Because honestly, is there anything more wonderful than a perfect slice of lemon pound cake? I think not. 

This weekend we stopped by Union Market in DC and found this amazing little stand, Bazaar Spices, which sell spices and herbs from all over the world. Among other things, I picked up a bunch of dried lavender that I wound up using in the pound cake. By adding a teaspoon of lavender buds to the sugar, and grinding them together in a mortar, it releases the flavor of the lavender into the sugar. It smelled amazing and added a whole new dimension to the cake.

I have tried a couple of lemon pound cake recipes in the past, and I must say this one is one of my favorites. I made a few minor changes, such as using buttermilk instead of milk, adding lemon peel when it only called for juice, and including lavender. The result is a lemon flavor that isn't overpowering, and a crust that gives a nice texture to an otherwise moist cake.

I have found that a lot of recipes call for mixing sugar and lemon juice together, and soaking the cake just as it has come out of the oven. Sometimes I find that it makes the pound cake too sticky, so if you're like me and enjoy a little crust on your pound cake, I would say, just let it be. Sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake and call it a day!

Lemon Lavender Pound Cake
altered recipe from 

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
the peel from one lemon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 cup buttermilk (milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes before using.)

  1. Put the sugar and lavender in a bowl and with a mortar, grind the lavender.
  2. Run the sugar through a fine sifter to get rid of any big lavender pieces.
  3. Mix together 1 cup lavender sugar and butter.
  4. Add eggs,1 tablespoon of lemon juice and lemon peel; mix well.
  5. Add salt, flour, and baking powder to mixture.
  6. Add buttermilk.
  7. Bake at 325°F in a well greased loaf pan for 1 hour, or until golden brown.
  8. Dust some confectioners sugar on top before serving. Enjoy!

Citronkaka med lavendel
113 g smör
2,5 dl socker
1 tsk torkad lavendel
2 ägg, vispade
1 msk citronjuice
skalet från en citron
1 krm salt
3,6 dl mjöl
1 tsk bakpulver
1 dl buttermilk (mjölk + 1 tsk citronjuice eller vinäger som får stå i 10 minuter innan användning)