Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ina's Lemon Cake, (Now Slightly Lightened Up Lemon Cupcakes)--Barefoot Bloggers Bonus Recipe + Giveaway #3 Winner!

Our Barefoot Blogger's BRC recipe this month is Ina's Lemon Cake and was selected by McKenzie at Kenzie's Kitchen who referred the most people to the Barefoot Bloggers site last month. I love lemon and this recipe looked delicious, but since I have been on the "sore throat ice cream diet" most of the week I decided to go ahead and try to lighten it up just a bit to make it at least a little healthier. First step of course is portion control, so I made half and made the cake into cupcakes. I also cut a bit more than 1/2 the butter out, replacing it with some non-fat yogurt, swapped out part of the regular flour for some white whole wheat flour, and lightened up the sugar in the cake itself. (There is plenty sugar already in the syrup and glaze!) My changes are in red below.

The recipe can be found both at the Food Network website (here) or in Barefoot Contessa Parties! on pages 104-105. 

Lemon Cake
Barefoot Contessa Parties!, Ina Garten
(Makes 2 loaves)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature (I used 1/3 stick butter and 1/2 cup non-fat yogurt for 1 cake or 12 cupcakes)
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided (I used 3/4 cup for 1 cake)
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest lightly packed (6 to 8 large lemons - Use only fresh lemon juice and zest)
3 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose flour & 1/2 cup white whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature (I used non-fat milk and lemon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, the key to great cakes is beating the butter and sugar until the mixture's until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed add the eggs, (break the eggs into a dish before adding to the batter to avoid a bad egg or shells in the batter), one at a time, and the lemon zest. Sift together the flour, to make sure there are no lumps, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Separately, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cook 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, cool for 10 minutes, invert them onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over the cakes. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

To freeze these cakes, prepare them except the glaze. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. When you're ready to use, defrost and glaze.

Notes/Results:  Great! Lots of lemony flavor and a good moist texture. This is definitely one for the lemon lovers--it is tart but very good. You could leave off the syrup or glaze to cut more sugar, but for a small portion, you can indulge a bit. I did cut the amount of the glaze down by half which turned out to be a good thing--I should have done the same with the syrup too as it made more than I needed for the cupcakes. Slightly lightened, these were still really yummy, I would make them again, maybe play around with the ingredients and cut even a bit more of the fat. 

Thanks for a fun and delicious pick Kenzie! You can see which other Barefoot Bloggers did this optional recipe challenge and what they thought of the lemon cakes by going to the BB site here.


It is time to announce the winner of my final 300th Post / Blogoversary Giveaway. This week's prize is a fun little Hawaii "foodie stuff" box. I really had a great time reading your comments and hearing what fun, local treats from your neck of the woods that you would give to someone. 

As usual Max decided that helping with the random drawing was beneath his dignity (and energy level) and I was on my own, writing down all the names, folding up the slips of paper, putting them into my Thai bowl, shaking them up and drawing the name of the winner.

Although he tried to be very "helpful" in writing this post after he woke up from his nap.

But I digress.  Let's get on to our winner! (Drum roll please...) And the winner is:

It's Rebecca from Chow and Chatter!  Rebecca is from the U.K. but is currently living in the US. For her local gift box (from the UK), she would give; "British tea-Yorkshire tea, digestive biscuits, custard, Heinz baked beans, Boston Sausages from my Grandparents town, and Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate". 

Congratulations Rebecca! Email me with your mailing address and I will get your box of goodies out to you. Thanks to everyone who entered. It was fun to give some foodie stuff away the past three weeks. I hope to do it again!

Have a great week!


  1. Congratulations Rebecca!

    Ok Max, listen up. I am going to put a staple in my name for the entry. All you have to do is wear your magnetic ring and you will be able to find mine next time. Ok?

    Oh, ahem,
    Lemon cupcakes! I do love lemon, a favourite flavour of mine. Great substitutions, all the deliciousness and half the guilt!

  2. These little cakes sound soooo are so good about lightening things up...I would just screw up the recipe, so I leave it alone ;) ah, the sacrifices we make! ha. Congrats to Rebecca...i'm jealous.

  3. Congratulations to Rebecca! Looks like a tasty prize to me!

    I love lemon cake, so today's recipe is right up my alley.

  4. I love the way you lightened this up. My favorite method for portion control is to make cupcakes as well (its so much more satisfying to eat a whole cupcake rather than a small piece of cake even if the cupcake is actually smaller) and lemon is one of my favorite dessert flavors!

  5. There are some great tips for lightening recipes here. I'm glad you're feeling better.

  6. Congratulations to Rebecca!
    Those cupcakes look absolutely divine! I love lemon :o)

  7. OOOO...i want the cup cakes and the cat!! both look wonderful. Thanks, s

  8. Thank you this has made my day, umm, I need to do a give away in the not so distance future, what fun, will get my thinking cap on!

    will email you


  9. Your cupcakes look delicious! I really liked this one!!

  10. Max is adorable and looks like he'd be a great helper when he feels like it! I love your lightened mini lemon cakes - I will try this one with your changes!

  11. I really like the changes you made, because you were able to preserve the sanctity of lemon-hood. And that's always important!

    And I love how Max takes over the computer - too funny!

  12. Congrats to Rebecca, what a nice package of goodies!! The lemon cupcakes are so yummy, and a favorite of mine. The tart and sweet flavors are divine!

  13. you did a great job at lightening up this recipe! Its been a while since I had anyythind lemon... I think I'm due

  14. Congrats Reb!! Enjoy your goodies:)

  15. way to go "chow and chatter"! great giveaway!


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