This time of year is an especially good time to have a go to repertoire of homemade hostess gifts and edible thank you note recipes on hand.
Not only is this Lemony Lemon Tea Bread one of the best I’ve tried, truly bursting with fresh lemon flavor, it can be made and frozen up to six weeks ahead of time. It’s a lovely sunny gift to give smack in the middle of dark December.
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
8 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Lemon Syrup (recipe follows)
Lemon Glaze (recipe follows)
Gift Wrapping (idea follows)
Directions to make the Lemon Cakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Grease sides and bottom of 2 (9 x 5 inch) loaf pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper and grease the paper as well.
3. Sift both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl.
4. Blend the sugar, eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix until combined. Slowly add the melted butter, while mixing. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix until just combined. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour mixture, one third at a time, until all the flour is combined. Do not overmix.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325*F and bake another 30-35 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.
Recipe yields two 9 x 5 inch loaves
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and invert the baked and almost cooled loaves onto the pan. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.
3. Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Allow the cakes to cool completely. (The soaked, but unglazed loaves can be wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen, for up to 6 weeks.)
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If the mixture is too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons lemon juice, a little at a time, and whisk again.
2. Pour the glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.
3. The glazed loaves will keep for up to 3 days, wrapped well in plastic wrap.
Paper Baking Pans, such as these. (This recipe yielded three of these loaves and one 9 x 5 loaf baked in a regular pan.)
Card, with your message written on it
1. Punch a hole in the card. Slip through the bakery string.
2. Fold the parchment and wrap around each loaf. Secure with bakery string.
Recipe and wrapping idea from Glorious Treats
Brooklyn’s Crystal Stilts have a new album out and it is some of the best new stuff I have heard recently.
‘Sticks And Stones’ got me from the first listen. Shoegazey, soft and dreamy, it is right up my musical alley.
Check out Crystal Stilts on the band’s Website, where you can learn of upcoming European tour dates and buy their music.