Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In the winter, a spot of citrus sunshine

Although we've had some nice weather here and there, it still feels like winter. I don't mind the cold too much but I dislike the gray skies. Day after day of that can wear a girl down.

While a real tonic for my winter blues would be a quick trip to Hawaii, we can't swing that this year, what with our upcoming international travel. So a much simpler (and cheaper) remedy was in order: a bright citrus cake, drizzled with a sugary glaze.

I used this recipe posted at Smitten Kitchen, although the original belongs to Ina Garten. It's very simple, although it does take awhile and have a number of steps: the cake, the syrup, the glaze. Instead of using just lemons I used lemons and tangerines and the combination was delicious.

The syrup-drenching process is a little funny, at least the way I did it. You set the cake on a rack over a baking sheet and drizzle the syrup over it. But so much ended up on the baking sheet that I kept having to remove the rack and cake, pour the syrup gathered on the sheet back into my little saucepan, and drizzle all over again. I did that at least three or four times so as to use as much of the syrup as possible, but I am glad I did: I ended up with a supermoist cake similar to a pound cake.

I am also pleased to report that my glazing experience was much improved since the last time I attempted it with the vanilla bean bundt cake. Maybe I let the cake cool longer, maybe the glaze was thicker. Either way, it looked quite a bit better. See for yourself. And don't you think the cake looks a bit other-worldly in this photo?

Of course I baked it in my bundt pan. I don't care for the look of cakes baked into loaves, which is what the original recipe calls for. This would also be mighty fine divvied up into cupcakes; who doesn't want their own individual cake?

So if you're in need of a little mid-winter pick-me-up, look no further. This citrusy cake is just the ticket.


  1. Daaahling, I don't need a pick me up to want this cake, I want it anyways, but yes, a cake like this could totally part the clouds for a little while. It sounds scrumptious.
    *kisses* HH

  2. If made into cupcakes, how would you recommend doing the syrup drizzling? I have to bring a baked good to a brunch next weekend and this seems like a good idea. I don't have a bundt pan, but I have cupcake tins. Thanks!

  3. Lovely! Definitely brings some sunshine to the last days of winter. Next time you should just dunk the whole cake in the syrup!

  4. I actually like this in loaf form, but the bundt pan makes a much prettier presentation! I just stuck a fork all over it and the syrup seeped in. I did it right in the pan, cooled and then removed from the pan and added the glaze.
    It's a delicious cake!

  5. HH: you are right, this cake is good for any day and any mood!

    Ash: well you could poke little holes in the cakes as Barbara suggested and drizzle the syrup over--then it will get into the cake a little bit. You'll have to be careful that it doesn't run over the sides and get all over the liner and get messy. You can then just drizzle or spread the glaze on top. Or, you could just skip the liners altogether and grease/flour your muffin tin.

    Jessica: good point!

    Barbara: the fork might have been a good idea, in retrospect...

  6. What a coincidence! It was Nick's birthday last weekend, and he requested lemon cake. I made him butter cake spiked with lemon zest, filled with lemon curd, and a cream cheese frosting that ended up being more of a glaze. (Stupid French cream cheese.) Love your addition of tangerines. Sounds like a slice of sunshine!

  7. yes, it looks otherworldly, and i'll bet it tastes otherworldly as well. this is perfect for the so-close-i-can-smell-it spring. :)

  8. Ooh, I can just smell the spritz of spring! Your glaze did turn out really nice! (You know, I made an Ina Garten lemon cake that had to do the same syrup drenching, and I got confused and thought I was making the glaze and kept wondering why it was invisible! Ha!)

  9. camille: your cake sounds lovely and much fancier than this one. Nick is a lucky man!

    grace: now if spring would just arrive...

    Ben: Must have been the same recipe, don't you think? I love your story--sounds like something I would do.

  10. Oh how gorgeous! Well done on the glazing :) I'm with you on the gray days. I actually don't mind winter if the skies are blue, but when it's dull and dreary I get the sads :(

  11. What a lovely looking cake. I have a weakness for citrus dessert and this one sounds out of this world. I'm relatively new to you blag and don't often comment. I just wanted you to know how much I like the food and recipes you feature here. You've created a great spot to visit and I intend to be here often. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  12. shaz: Blue skies make all the difference.

    Mary: thank you! I hope you give it a try.

  13. oh do I love lemony buttery cakes with glaze! that is just gorgeous...

  14. CJ: Right?

    foodhoe: Give it a go, you won't be disappointed.