Tag Archives: Lemon

Lemon Coconut Cake for Recipe Friday

This cake recipe is not an original, but it is special at our house. It comes from the essential baking cookbook by Murdoch Books, and it has become my son’s signature cake. He has made it at least 5 times, most recently for our anniversary.

I am generally not a big fan of cake. I usually prefer cheesecake or cookies. But this cake is so delicious. Its lemony sweetness and moist texture have made it a big hit with everyone who has had the pleasure of eating a piece. (I’ve had 3 pieces just this week, but thankfully my son took half of it to share with friends on the first day of school).

I still remember the first time my son made this cake. The recipes in this cookbook are geared towards countries where metric measurement and Celsius temperatures are the norm. He didn’t read carefully enough and set the oven at the first temperature indicated, which was 180° – at that time he was not experienced enough of a baker to know that most cakes bake at 350°. Once we figured out why it was setting up and turned the temperature up, it turned out just fine. In fact, I think that first cake was moister than any of the ones he has made since.

Anyway, if you are looking for an elegant but delicious cake for a party or potluck, I highly recommend this one. But be prepared to not bring home any leftovers!

 

Lemon Coconut Cake

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup coconut
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup caster or baker’s sugar (very fine sugar)
4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk

For coconut icing:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup coconut
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8 inch spring form pan (or a regular round cake pan). Line the bottom with baking paper.

Sift flour into a large bowl and add the coconut, lemon rind, sugar, butter, eggs and milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into the cake pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.

Leave the cake in the pan for 5 minutes before releasing the spring form side of the pan, or turning out of the cake pan, and setting on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the coconut icing, combine the powdered sugar and coconut in a bowl, then add the lemon rind and enough lemon juice to make a stiff but spreadable icing. Spread the icing over the cold cake.

Note about the coconut: The original recipe calls for desiccated coconut, which I think is unsweetened, but we can never find it and have always used sweetened angel flake coconut.

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Madeleines with Lemon Curd for Recipe Friday

Last Saturday afternoon, right before his friend came over to hang out, my son said, “I need to make Epicurean Creamed Peas this weekend.”

“What for?” I asked.

“For French class,” he replied, “but I need three people to evaluate it. I guess I’ll have to be one of the three.”

Just to set the record straight, I had told him already that my husband and I wouldn’t be home for dinner on Sunday because we were going to a concert, so I’m not sure when he was planning to make these peas. On top of that, the instructions for the assignment said that he needed three evaluations from other people, plus his own evaluation.

So I suggested he make a French pastry instead and bring it to church on Sunday morning for the snacks that we put out for after church when people are visiting. That way he would have plenty of people to evaluate his cooking project. He agreed that was a good idea, and we found this Madeleines recipe on WordPress.

The Madeleines were a big hit a church! We didn’t bring a single one home, and several people told me they heard how good they were but didn’t get to the snack table in time. Plus, he got an A on the project for French class. I’ll bet the pictures of people from church eating them with a smile helped!

We did make a few slight modifications to Mary’s recipe linked above.

First, we don’t have a Madeleine pan, so he just used mini cupcake papers and lined them up on a small cookie sheet. The recipe made 26. Some of the Madeleine’s turned out a bit oddly shaped, but it didn’t affect the flavor one bit!

Second, it took about 16 to 18 minutes to bake these at 350° instead of 12, and they still didn’t get very brown on top, but he didn’t want to over-bake them.

Third, instead of just dusting them with powdered sugar, he spread lemon curd on top of each Madeleine after they were cool, and then the powdered sugar. The sugar soaked into the lemon curd so you couldn’t really see it, but I think the added sugar was a nice balance to the tart (British) lemon curd. (Don’t tell his French teacher!)

 

I knew he was going to have to bake these again, especially since I only got two. And lucky me, he made some more Tuesday night. I think the second batch was even better. Mmmmm!!

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Green Beans for Recipe Friday

My all-time favorite vegetable is green beans, also known as string beans. When the farmers market opens in the spring, I go every week looking for the first green beans of the season. We eat them at least twice a week all summer long.

So I thought I would share two main ways that I cook green beans as a side dish. But first the most important part of both recipes: You have to start with fresh green beans that snap when you bend them. I don’t do canned or frozen green beans.

Green Beans with Lemon and Butter

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh green beans
lemon juice
marjoram
basil
butter

Directions:

Snap ends off each green bean. You can either leave them whole or snap into small pieces depending on your size preference. Place the beans in a pot of cold water. Add 2 squirts of lemon juice (I usually use the bottled kind, but you could use a fresh lemon if you have one), 2 shakes of marjoram, 2 shakes of basil, and a dash or 2 of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and continue to boil on medium for approximately 10 – 15 minutes, or until the beans are just tender. I usually pull one out and test to see if it is tender but still “squeaks” a little bit when you bite it. Drain beans. Add 1 more squirt of lemon and 2 tsp or so of butter. Serve with whatever else you made for dinner.

* * * * *

Traeger Green Beans

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh green beans
lemon juice
marjoram
basil
cooking spray (like Pam)

Directions:

Snap ends off each green bean. Leave whole and rinse. Spray middle of a large sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place beans on the aluminum foil. Add 2 or 3 squirts lemon juice, 2 shakes of marjoram, 2 shakes of basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Fold up sides and ends of aluminum foil making a packet, leaving a small opening at the top. Add 1/8 water, being careful not to wash the spices off the beans. Close up aluminum.

Now here’s the tricky part. To make this turn out the way it does for me, you need to have a Traeger pellet stove. It’s kind of like a bar-b-q, but kind of like a smoker, too. I suppose you could do this on a gas grill, but you won’t get the flavor that comes from the smoking of the wood pellets.

Place the packet of green beans at the coolest end of the pellet stove or grill. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from grill and serve. Some of the beans may get a little black, but they taste really good that way. We usually do chicken or steak, and potatoes, on the Traeger at the same time. Makes for easy after-dinner clean up. You just throw away all the aluminum foil!

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