Over-baked Lemon Cake

Sometimes when things go awry they go right. There was very little that went the way I intended baking this lemon cake. Wanting to make the two-layer yellow cake from the Tick Tock box, MinCat’s recipe for lemon cake with lemon glaze looked delicious and like it could become what I wanted. Rather than using a bunt pan, I would divide the batter into two circular cake pans and use the glaze both over the top and between the two layers. It would look like the tiny picture. I do not have even have one circular cake pan. But no matter. Excited about my plan, I bought four lemons. They sat on the counter for almost a week, and my brother informed me that one of them was molding. The mold transformed the urgency of making cake from always present every morning but always put off, to this must happen today. It was only at this point that I actually read the recipe, and discovered that it called for yogurt, which I did not have. I didn’t care, I just wanted to make cake, to use the damned lemons, and to get material for this post. The layering would still happen somehow. I would bake a 9x13 cake, cut it in half, layer the halves on top of each other. I just had to make the batter. Recently I have noticed that I am almost incapable of actually reading a recipe. This time my skimming reduced making the cake batter to: sift the dry ingredients, mix together the wet ingredients (including sugar), and then mix the dry with the wet. I missed the fact that the lemon juice was not one of the wet ingredients, but a part of a syrup that is poured over the cake when it’s just out of the oven, and the rest goes into the glaze. While it was baking I toyed with making the syrup anyway for an ultra-lemony cake. I still had two more lemons, only one of which I needed for the glaze. But the syrup and and the glaze both got tossed out as ideas after I forgot about the cake and left it in the oven for at least twenty more minutes than I meant to. The edges came out a bit burnt. I rationalized that I didn’t want to waste glazes and syrups on such a bungled cake, but I think I was just already so half-assed about making this cake that this one thing gone slightly wrong gave me an excuse to give up on the endeavor entirely. But the thing is, this slightly over-baked lemon cake is good. Unadorned, unpretentious, and refreshingly but not overpoweringly lemony, it goes very well with tea. I’ll try the layer cake when I have the proper pans and all the ingredients.

1 1/2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 cup water 1 cup sugar 3 eggs zest and juice from 2 lemons 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk the water, sugar, eggs, zest, juice, vanilla, and oil until well combined. Whisk dry into wet mixture. When combined, bake for roughly 50 minutes, or until fork comes out clean from the center.

4 April 2011