Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lemon Tea Cake Makes Me Happy

The weekend is over. It was a mess of dinners, drinks, and late nights that morphed into sunny days, trips to the market, and spring cleaning. Now I am back to the drudgery of fussing over every sentence, every thought, every comma in my book manuscript. It isn't always fun work. Most of the time my eyes feel blurry, my heart feels fluttery, and my body feels like all its energy has been sucked away.

I am so glad I have these lemony muffins in my arsenal to remind me that the world is full of delicious things best enjoyed far from a computer screen. 

They look a little plain, don't they? And maybe for some they are. You see they aren't packed with something juicy or topped with swirls of cream or lemon spiked frosting. They are a demure tea cake made with half-wheat flour which gave them a crumbly, almost polenta like texture. The glaze consists of a vanilla bean mingling with some sugar and lemon juice in a pot on the stove while I checked my email frantically. Is anyone else out there a multi-tasker?

My tasks were finished just in time to pull the small cakes out of the oven and sit with one in the dining room for a few quiet minutes that included nothing but the stripe of sunshine across the table.

Lemon Yogurt Tea Cakes (based on a Ina recipe, via Smitten Kitchen, with a few modifications of my own)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour and loved the crumb it created)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, split
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and paper a 12 cup muffin tin. 
Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 (+) minutes -- Smitten Kitchen's recipe was for a loaf, but I wanted tea cakes and used a muffin tin. Thus, while baking I had to watch carefully. My baked in about 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice, vanilla bean, and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Remove vanilla bean. Set aside.
When the tea cakes are done, allow them to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have been looking for a muffin recipe. Thanks for this! Hope the editing is going well. :)