Sunday, June 10, 2012

Louisiana Lemon Cake and Pluot "Blood" Sauce

Instead of writing a first post about how hard first posts are, I'm just going to jump right in as though I've been updating this blog for a while.

Today is Sunday, which is the Day of Rest to many,  but is also known to my own group of friends as the Day of Quality Television.  We typically get together on Sunday evenings, before the start of a new work week, and gather around the idiot box for one or two of our favorite shows.  Tonight sees the finale of perhaps the best season of Mad Men the show has given us, while, sadly, last week marked the end of the second season of Game of Thrones.  Luckily, when one door closes, a creepy basement hatch flies open, and tonight we get to indulge in the premiere of one of our favorite guilty pleasures: True Blood.

I'm always baking with my free time on the weekends, and then asking my friends to help me destroy the evidence, so this weekend I wanted to make something thematic to go along with the True Blood premiere.  We're also quickly moving from spring into summer here in sunny California, which means I'm always craving something bright and citrus-y.

So, I picked up a bunch of lemons at my local farmer's market and then started looking around for inspiration.  One of my favorite stands just happened to have some: the pluot.  I didn't know what the heck it was, but it was delicious, and, more importantly, red.  Like blood.  Get it?  Turns out the pluot is actually a plum/apricot hybrid, worth finding if you can, but if not, I imagine this recipe will also work quite well with strawberries instead.
Ok, it looks deep purple, but it's red on the inside.  I promise.

Best friends.

I'm calling this a Louisiana Lemon cake, but it's really just a typical southern lemon pound cake.  Hey, Louisiana is in the south, right?  Just go with it.  The syrup and glaze are both optional - I love the sticky crust the syrup lends to the cake, and everything's better with a little glaze, but if you're in a hurry, the cake is yummy on it's own, particularly with the sauce.  I just thought taking things over the top was thematically appropriate for a True Blood cake.  And now, without further ado:

Louisiana Lemon Cake w/ Pluot Blood Sauce (inspired by True Blood)

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 pinch baking soda
1 pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sour cream

Lemon Syrup:
1/4 cup lemon juice (one large lemon)
1/4 cup sugar

Lemon Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon limoncello (optional)

Pluot Sauce:
4-5 coarsely chopped peeled ripe pluots (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons honey

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line an 8x4 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some paper over the sides (this will make it much easier to remove from the pan), then spray with Baker's Joy (or butter and flour the pan & paper).

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a hand-held electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and zest.  If your hand mixer is like mine, and has two settings, "really fast" and "DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP", then now's the time to bust out the wooden spoon and mix the rest by hand - you don't want to over mix.  Add the flour in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Spread evenly in the pan.

Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours.  Check on it after an hour.  If it's not done, but the top is getting a bit brown, cover with foil for the last fifteen minutes.


Heat the lemon juice and sugar in a small pot over low heat until the syrup dissolves.  Spoon over the cake use a pastry brush to make sure it gets on the sides as well.  Cool cake completely.


Whisk the sugar, lemon juice together, adding more juice or sugar depending on what consistency you like.  I added some limoncello to mine because I had it, so why the heck not?  Drizzle over cake.

Pluot sauce:

Heat skinned and chopped* pluots with sugar and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Bring to a boil and continue whisking for 2 minutes.  If you're going for the blood look, use a mesh strainer to remove any chunks of fruit left.  Refrigerate until cool (about 1 hour).

Serve a slice of cake with a spoonful of pluot sauce.  Enjoy!

*to skin pluots easily, score in an "X" shape along the bottom, and then toss them into a pot of very hot (nearly boiling) water for about 30 seconds.  Remove and dunk into an ice bath.  The skins should come off much faster.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious. Now After Dinner and a Movie comes A Series of Desserts