So, a while back I posted that I needed to figure out what to do with all my Meyer lemons. I’ve tried making lemonade (thanks for that suggestion, Erika!), but I find it tastes kind of funky with Meyers. Funky not in a nasty way, but in a way I don’t want my lemonade to taste.
So I’ve been looking for recipes that use the maximum amount of Meyer lemons, and I found a good one at Martha Stewart’s site: Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake. I’m a huge fan of Martha so I decided to make it.
The hardest part of the recipe was prepping all the lemons. You need the zest from 4 – 5 lemons, and then you have to slice 5 of them into WAH-fer thin slices. I tried to use my mandoline, but it just mangled the lemons, so I did them all by hand. I was pretty proud of the results.
The zest was lovely, too.
The reason you need so many lemons here (9 – 10, actually) is that the lemon slices actually go in the cake. They form a kind of middle layer. I thought the prep for them was kind of funky: you cook them in water for 1 minute, drain them, and then cook them in simmering water for another minute. Huh? I’m assuming this step is supposed to take some of the bitterness away? Then you have to lay them out in a single layer on parchment paper, and TRUST ME, that took WAAAAAY too long to do.
The cake itself is a nice sour cream cake, with all the lemon zest mixed in. I made it with white whole wheat flour because it was all I had on hand, and I think that was a mistake because the cake was definitely too dry– the texture just wasn’t smooth enough. So, if you make this cake, stick with regular flour.
You really get a triple whammy of lemon in this cake, since you have the slices in the middle, the zest in the cake, and a glaze made with confectioner’s sugar and Meyer lemon juice.
Having said that, it wasn’t really that… good. I ended up throwing a bunch away. (The horror!) My analysis is that a few things went wrong here. As I mentioned above, the whole wheat flour was a bad idea. But more than that, I think, were the lemon slices in the middle. I chose this recipe because it did call for so many lemons, but those slices were NOT good in the middle. FIrst, they were too sour. Second, the texture was too weird– they didn’t break apart, so with every bite you’d have a stringy, thin lemon slice dangling off the fork. Also, there wasn’t enough streusel for my taste.
I think I might make it again, though, if I get inundated with lemons. What I would do to tweak it is simmer the lemons in simple syrup– a combo of water and sugar– so that they get kind of candied. Then, I wonder if you could pulse them in the food processor and make a kind of paste that could form the middle layer? That might be nasty, but worth a try? I don’t know. But those slices needed more sweetness and less stringiness. Maybe if you cut them into quarters as well…
I’d also double the recipe for the streusel because everyone knows that’s the best part of the cake!
Any other suggestions for how to tweak this recipe to make it better?
P.S. — You can thank me later if you clicked on the “wah-fer” link. I was going to link it to the Mr. Creosote sketch, but then decided that some innocent bystander might click over and pass out when they saw all that vomit. So I left it with the Wikipedia entry. But you can see the sketch on YouTube, if you are interested, even if it has been suggested, according to Wikipedia, that the sketch is “one of the most repulsive in twentieth-century cinema.”