Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

The inspiration for this recipe came from Jamie Oliver’s show on PBS. I liked it because it’s 1) quick and 2) gluten free. He made his with blood oranges, which I may try sometime in the future, but I had lemons handy and coworkers who love them. So I mixed it up a bit and changed out the syrup that goes along with it. Enjoy!

Lemon Polenta Cake with Almonds

Cake:

  • 14 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar, brown or sugar in the raw if you have it
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup polenta
  • 2 lemons, zested
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325° and line a 8″ springform pan with parchment paper, spraying it with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add in the vanilla and lemon extract.

In a small bowl combine the polenta, lemon zest, almonds, and baking powder. Fold this into the butter/egg mixture. Pour into the springform pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the surface is light brown and a toothpick comes our clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

In a small pan, heat together the honey, water, lemon zest & juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Let it simmer until it’s reduced by half, about 15 minutes.

Take a skewer and poke a bunch of holes in the cake. Pour the syrup over the top, it will soak in. Allow the cake to completely cook before removing from the pan. Flip it over carefully, as it’s a bit fragile, and remove the paper from the bottom. Slice and enjoy!

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Lemon Cream Pie

A coworker of mine LOVES lemon. She’ll eat fresh lemon every day, pretty much. So she was having a bad week and I decided to make something lemon for her to cheer her up. I had a bunch of mascarpone cheese and some leftover lemon curd. So I decided to make her a lemon cream pie. This is one of those recipes that I completely made up, which I don’t do a whole lot. But it turned out perfect. Added bonus? No baking! Enjoy!

Lemon Cream Pie

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 5 oz package of graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temp
  • 1 cup lemon curd (see my recipe here)
  • 2 tbsp hot water
  • 1 pkg Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Put your stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment into the freezer. This will help with the whipped cream.

Melt the butter in a microwave dish, about 20 seconds at a time. I usually cover mine with a wet paper towel, just in case it “pops” and splatters the microwave. In a food processor crush the graham crackers until they are fine. Combine with the melted butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Press into a pie or square cake pan, whichever you prefer.

In a medium bowl, beat together the mascarpone cheese and lemon curd.

In a small bowl, combine the gelatin and hot water. Stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Add into the cheese/curd mixture, beat until smooth. Pour into the pan.

Pull out your bowl and whisk from the freezer. Beat the heavy cream, starting out slow and increasing the speed as the cream thickens. When it has soft peaks slowly beat in the powdered sugar. Beat until firm peaks form. Spead on top of the lemon pie mixture. Chill for at least 1 hour and then enjoy it.

Lemon Bars

So one of my coworkers was quite upset when she found out I made the lemon pound cake and didn’t bring any into work. Now it partly my fault, I have spoiled my coworker by bringing in a lot of what I make and post on this blog. And to be fair, she LOVES lemons; to the point that she eats lemon slices all the time. To make it up to her, and because she recently had a bad one, I decided to make lemon bars. This recipes is a slightly modified version of the America’s Test Kitchen’s version. To be honest, while it turned out, I’ll probably double the recipe the next time I make it. I thought the bars were really thin. Enjoy!

Lemon Bars

Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 lemons, zested & juiced

Filling:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, 3 whole and 3 yolks only
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted cutter, cut into pieces (about 8)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350° and make sure the rack is in the middle position. Make a foil sling for an 8″ square baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil so each is as wide as the pan. Lay the sheets into the pan, so they form a cross. Press into the pan, up the sides, and fold the extra over. This will help you take it out when it’s done.

In a bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and whisk together. Add the melted butter and the zest of 2 lemons. Press into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown, rotate after 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking; whisk together 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp flour, cream of tartar, and salt. I do this in a medium sized pot. Add in the eggs and whisk until there are no streaks. Add in the remaining lemon zest and juice; you should have 2/3 cup of juice. It really depends on the size of your lemons.

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and registers at 160°. If you don’t have a candy thermometer I highly recommend getting one. Take the mixture off the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time until completely incorporated.

By this time your crust should be done. Pour the lemon through a fine strainer into the pan with the crust. This will make sure there are no lumps. Bake until set, about 10 minutes, or until the center doesn’t jiggle when the pan is shaken. Let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Use the foil sling to get it out of the pan. I found it was pretty delicate so be careful. To get it off the foil I placed a piece of parchment paper on top and then a square platter on top of that. Flipped it over, removed the foil, and then flipped it over again onto a cutting board. Remove the paper and cut into squares, cleaning the knife between cuts to prevent sticking. Dust with the powdered sugar and serve.

Lemon Pound Cake

So I was having dinner with a couple of friends and since they were doing the cooking I figured I’d make dessert. Plus it’s really my specialty. I asked them what do you want? The answer, lemon pound cake. I was like, ok. I just made the key lime pound cake so making this kind of cake was pretty fresh in my memory. I consulted my good friend, Google, found a couple of recipes and decided on this on. With some modification, of course. And for the frosting, I really like a cream cheese frosting. Since this was lemon, I decided to bump it up several notches. I added in a little lemon curd, which I had leftover from making my Limoncello cake recipe. Enjoy!

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter (1 cup), at room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temp
  • 1 tsp real vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

Directions:

Shift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Zest in the lemon.  In a mixer, I like to use my Kitchenaid stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Lower the speed and slowly add in the sugar. Mix until combined and again, fluffy. With the speed still lowered, add the eggs one at a time. Mix until well combined. Add in the extracts and lemon juice, which should be about 1/4 cup of juice. Add in the flour mixture and mix until it’s just combined, don’t over mix it our the cake will come out too dense and tough.

Pour into a parchment lined loaf pan that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake in a 350° oven for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the center clean.

Frosting

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (you can find the recipe here)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

In a bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Add in the lemon curd and beat again until smooth. Lower the speed and slowly add in the sugar, beat until smooth. Frost the loaf of cake and refrigerate. This frosting is somewhat loose but very tasty.

 

Limoncello Sugar Cookies

One of my coworkers (actually several of them it turns out) likes lemon. It was her birthday recently and another coworker suggested I make lemon cookies for her. Well that’s fine and all but I thought I’d kick it up a notch. So I created this recipe for Limoncello Sugar cookies. Turned out pretty well according to the office (they were gone pretty fast). The trick to a good sugar cookie is to not over-cook them or they turn out dry and crispy. If they’re a little underdone, you pop them back in the oven for another couple of minutes to finish cooking and they’re fine. Enjoy

Limoncello Sugar Cookies

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temp
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tsp real vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp Limoncello liqueur
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 Tsp fine kosher salt
  • Sanding sugar or sprinkles

Directions

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 4 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla, Limoncello, lemon zest; mix until combined.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on medium-low, slowly add the flour and mix until just combines.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop a tablespoon full, or so, onto the sheet; keeping about 2″ between each cookie. They will spread and flatten out as they cook.

Bake in a 350° oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are barely turning brown. You don’t want to over cook them. Sprinkle with the sanding sugar or sprinkles as soon as you take them out of the oven. Allow to cool and then eat!

Limoncello Tiramisu

So the inspiration for this came from an episode of Lidia Bastianich’s cooking show. She was making this tiramisu, which looked delicious! But there were a couple of things she did with hers that I was like, “why would you do that???” Needless to say I’ve modified it extensively. It is really good, especially in the summer, when you want something light and refreshing. You could, I suppose, make it without the Limoncello but why bother? It’s also a little more complicated than most of the recipes I like to make as it requires several different components. So heads up, each one has it’s own list of ingredients; so you’ll want to compile them all together before you go grocery shopping. Enjoy!

Limoncello Tiramisu

Lemon Sponge

  • 5 large eggs yokes
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup Limoncello

Directions

Using a double boiler (aka in my house a glass bowl on top of a medium pot of simmering water) whisk the egg yokes, sugar, and Limoncello until well blended. Bring the water to a simmer and whisk constantly, frequently scraping the whisk around the sides and bottom of the bowl. Do this for about 5 minutes until it thickens, it will kind of start to look like mayonnaise.

Let the mixture cool.

Lemon Simple Syrup

  • 2 to 3 lemons
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup Limoncello

Directions

Take 2 to 3 lemons and using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off (try to get as little of the white as possible). Juice the lemons after zesting until you have about 1/2 cup of juice (more doesn’t hurt but you definitely don’t want less).

In a small pan bring the lemon peel, the lemon juice, water and sugar to a boil. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Turn it down to a simmer and let it gently steep for about 30 minutes. Add the limoncello and allow it to cool slightly. It works better if it’s still warm when you soak the ladyfingers in it but it can be completely cool as well.

Lemon Curd:

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • Zest of 2 lemons (or 3 if it takes that many to get ¾ a cup of juice)
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (melted)

Directions

Whisk together the sugar & eggs in a sauce pan. Add juice, lemon zest & melted butter. Cook on Med Hi heat. Stir until thick, mixture should coat the back of a metal spoon. What does this mean? When you can dip a spoon in, run your finger down the back, turn it sideways, and it doesn’t run back down the spoon erasing your swipe. Cool on counter, whisking occasionally, for about an hour. Finish cooling in fridge.

Custard

  • 1 lbs (2 cups) Mascarpone at room temp
  • Lemon Sponge
  • Lemon Curd
  • ¼ cup Limoncello

Directions

In a large bowl, again I like my KitchenAid Stand Mixer, beat the mascarpone until soft and smooth. Add lemon sponge and lemon curd and beat until smooth. Add a ¼ cup of limoncello and beat again until smooth.

Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup Limoncello

Directions

Chill a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  Really this does make a difference. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until peaks form. Add ¼ cup of limoncello and beat until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the tiramisu

  • 40 Ladyfinger cookies
  • Custard
  • Lemon simple syrup
  • Whipped Cream

Directions

Using a 9 x 13 inch pan, dip the ladyfingers into the lemon simple syrup. Don’t let them become soggy or they’ll fall apart but you want them to be somewhat moistened. Arrange them in the pan, should take about 20.

Cover the ladyfingers with ½ of the finished custard. Dip the remaining ladyfingers in the simple syrup and arrange them in a layer on top of the custard. Cover with the remaining custard. Smooth the whipped cream on the top and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.