Friday, April 24, 2009

Lemon Cake - A Repeat

Obviously I'm losing it. My mind, that is. And this recipe too. I must have accidentally deleted this post from a few months back. Fortunately, I found a copy of it in the "edit" file.
So enjoy it now - some things are better the second time around. But if my original brain shows up, I'd like to get that back please.

Kulak - what is it?

a. a Hungarian pastry made with cinnamon and almonds
b. a lightweight garment worn by the Inuit people
c. a prosperous peasant farmer in Czarist and early Soviet Russia
d. a traditional Indonesian side dish served at weddings

What's this got to do with lemon cake you ask?
Well nothing really, except I made this lemon cake to serve Saturday evening, when we gathered with our friends, the Johnsons and the Janis, to play a game of Dictionary. To play it you need a dictionary, some paper and pencils and a good sense of humor. The object for one team is convince the other team of a phony definition for a word. One of the players on a team finds a word in the dictionary that no one has heard of. Each of the players on that team creates a phony definition and all of them are read aloud, including the real one. The players on the other team vote for whichever definition they believe is the real one. The made-up definitions can sound pretty convincing and sometimes hilarious. We were all in stitches by the end of the night.

OK, so back to the lemon cake. This is a recipe given to me more than 25 years ago by my friend Carol, whom I met when our boys were in nursery school together. Carol has been living in Boulder, Colorado for decades and we've actually reconnected through this blog - another reason I'm glad I started this. Carol called this cake the "E. 62nd Street Lemon Cake," and only today, after googling it, did I learn that it's a classic recipe that originated with Maida Heatter, the doyenne of desserts. If anyone knows why it's called "E. 62nd St. Lemon Cake," please let me know. Maybe that's where she lived when she created the recipe.

The recipe calls for the rinds of two lemons, but I would use another one the next time to punch up the lemon flavor. I would also double the glaze recipe below that soaks into the cake. The original recipe also does not call for the white frosting, but I added that because it just tastes great and looks nice too.

E. 62nd Street Lemon Cake

3 cups sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 lb. butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
finely grated rind of two lemons

Glaze: 1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
Stir lemon juice and sugar together.

Butter and flour a tube or bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift first three ingredients. In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add sugar and beat for two to three minutes. Add eggs and mix a few more minutes. Alternately, add dry ingredients and milk. Stir in lemon rind. Pour into a tube or bundt pan and bake for one hour and 10 to 15 minutes.
Let cake stand about three minutes then cover with rack and invert. Remove pan, then flip back over and while still hot, brush with glaze. Let it cool.

If desired, make a separate glaze/frosting using about two cups of sifted confectioner's sugar and about three or four tablespoons lemon juice. It should not be as thick as traditional frostings, but not as thin as a glaze either -- somewhere in between. Continue adding either lemon juice or confectioner's sugar until you get the right consistency. When cake is cool, drizzle on top and let some run down sides.

And for all those of you who stayed with me this far and are wondering about kulak:
The answer is c. a prosperous peasant farmer in Czarist and early Soviet Russia.


  1. Whoever put that glaze on was clearly a pro! :)

  2. A delicious cake! I love anything with lemon!



  3. Thanks for visiting my blog. I know you and Sue would have a blast together and so funny about the biscotti. Now you have to make a trip down south but when you come bring some Italian Pastry with you and some good rolls for Sue. My guess on your lemon cake was named that for her addy or maybe a bakery on that Street at the time? I posted a lt version of a lemon cake called Nathans lemon cake that you may like served cold on a hot summer day. I use to live in E. Windsor in the early 80s and it was lovely then with lots of farms. Great Pizza in Freehold at a place called Fetterichis (sp?) and if you took the Pizza home it was sent home in a giant paper bag. It was close to Jersey Freeze on the circle. Ah my life revolves around food:) Off to play with flour:)

  4. Forgot to mention that my family is from Calabria so maybe we are related:)