The Magnificent Lemon
It’s time for this citrus to get some respect
I love citrus season. You can find just about every variety at farmers markets. Let all of the Cuties, blood oranges, and oroblanco grapefruit take center stage. I will happily reach to the back of the display for the lemons. Languishing at the bottom of the basket, the most underappreciated member of the citrus family (except, perhaps, for the kumquat), the lemon is still supreme to me.
So many dishes are enhanced with a squeeze of lemon. Add dried zest to salt and see what it does to your cooking — you will be astonished. You can candy lemons and use the rinds for garnishing everything from cupcakes to cocktails, but my favorite thing to do with lemons is to use them in baking.
This lemon blueberry cake will be a new springtime favorite. It’s a moister version of lemon cake than maybe you’ve had in the past. The addition of yogurt not only adds a little extra tartness, it makes it a healthier version than those lemon pound cakes calling for butter. I use a bit of cornmeal in my flour mix to add a little texture to the crumb and because it boosts up the yellow color, but you can use all AP flour if you like. Terryl Gavre, owner of Cafe 222 and co-owner of Bankers Hill Bar + Restaurant; breadandbutterismyjam.com
Lemon Cake with Blueberries
1 cup flour
½ cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1½ cups fresh blueberries
¾ cup plain full fat yogurt
1 cup sugar, + ¼ cup reserved
2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp lemon juice, + ¼ cup reserved
1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
¼ cup oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan and cover bottom with parchment paper.
3. Sift together dry ingredients (through salt).
4. Gently toss 1½ cups of fresh blueberries into dry mix.
5. In another bowl, gently whisk together the wet ingredients, adding oil last.
6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold wet and dry ingredients together.
7. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. If not using a convection oven, rotate half way through baking.
8. While cake is baking, heat ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ¼ cup of sugar until sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
9. Allow cake to cool for 5 minutes, then lightly brush top with the lemon syrup. It is not necessary to use it all, just enough to cover the top so it’s nice and shiny.