Posts tagged ‘Lemon’

October 1, 2013

Lemon Dream Cake

Some recipes come and go from your repertoire and others become staples, go-tos, still others grab you and become yours…they become part of your traditions. One such recipe for us is what we have come to call Lemon Dream Cake (or Morphine cake or in this case, Kelly’s birthday cake)! I honestly don’t care that much about cake…put a chocolate chip cookie in front of me and I will be hard pressed to say no, but cake often disappoints. This changed my entire view of what cake can be; it is super lemony and not too sweet, moist and just perfect…every time! A little story about this cake: my grandmother was kind enough to let me live with her for a time and I really wanted to do something nice for her. I decided on this cake and I had none of the right equipment. We had to borrow pans from her friend (in exchange for some cake, of course), I had to do it all by hand and Grandma kept looking at all the work I was putting in thinking it couldn’t possibly be worth it. “Just go and get one!” she would tell me multiple times. I just kept at it, knowing it would be worth it, and it was. Shortly after I made it (luckily with some still safely stored in the fridge) she had surgery and when she woke up the first thing she asked for was a cup of coffee and a slice of my cake. Hence, Morphine Cake. It is still one of my fondest memories of living with her.

The first time we made this cake, we kept looking at it thinking there couldn’t possibly be a recipe with more steps (turns out we were wrong, we just hadn’t gotten that brave yet). But after investing the time and energy once, you get the hang of things and try it again, and again, and again. In fact, we have made it for more of my birthdays than I can count. Though having made it by hand on two occasions, I can tell you this recipe taught me to love the Kitchenaid! It is one of those multi-step, multi-day labors of love that really is worth it in the end. Plan 2-3 days ahead to spread out the steps and make it feel a bit less like a production and really try to follow the directions (which we are notoriously bad at), especially for the curd and the cake. If you are looking for a show stopper, try it out!



Lemon Dream (Morphine) Cake

From Bon Appétit via Epicurious

Makes 10 to 12 servings

*You’ll need a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip to create the decorative rosettes. Though we have decorated it lots of ways…Be Creative!! You will notice, ours is not perfect, but it does look homemade!


Lemon curd

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes


6 large eggs, separated

14 tablespoons sugar

1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Filling and frosting

2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

3/4 cup sugar

3 8-ounce containers chilled mascarpone cheese*


For lemon curd:

Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until thickened and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 160°F, about 10 minutes. Remove bowl from over water. Add butter; whisk until melted. Transfer 1 cup curd to small bowl for spreading on cake layers. Reserve remaining curd for filling. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of both curds. Chill overnight. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Make extra to use on everything!!)


For cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Line bottom of two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides with parchment paper, do not grease pans or parchment. (Try this method). Using electric mixer, beat egg yolks and 7 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and slowly dissolving ribbons form when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes. Using clean dry beaters, beat whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Add remaining 7 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff and glossy. Fold half of whites into yolk mixture, then sift half of flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt over and gently fold in until incorporated. Fold in remaining whites, then sift remaining flour over and fold in just until combined, being careful not to deflate batter.

Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Cool in pans on racks.

Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Invert cakes onto 9-inch-diameter cardboard rounds, tapping on work surface if necessary to release cakes. Cut each cake horizontally in half (layers will be thin, you will think they are too thin, have faith). Peel off parchment.

For syrup:

Place sugar in small metal bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water; stir to dissolve sugar. Stir in lemon juice. (Can be made several days in advance and kept refrigerated).

For filling and frosting:

Beat whipping cream and sugar in large bowl until peaks form. Add mascarpone to lemon curd in medium bowl; whisk until blended. Fold whipped cream into lemon-mascarpone mixture.

Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Brush with 1/4 of syrup. Spread 1/4 cup lemon curd over, then 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Top with second cake layer; brush with 1/4 of syrup and spread with 1/4 cup lemon curd and 1 cup lemon-mascarpone filling. Repeat with third cake layer, syrup, lemon curd, and filling. Top with fourth cake layer. Brush with remaining syrup, then spread remaining lemon curd over. Spoon 2 cups lemon-mascarpone filling into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch star tip (to be used for rosettes). Spread remaining lemon-mascarpone filling as a frosting over sides of cake. Pipe small rosettes of frosting over top of cake, covering completely. Cover cake with cake dome; refrigerate at least 6 hours and up to 1 day.

Decorate for the occasion as Ali did here…

And remember to Enjoy!!!!!

June 14, 2013

CSA Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

When you get rhubarb in your CSA box, what is the most logical thing to make? Pie, of course! This pie is not too sweet, a bit sticky and oh so good. I happened to have an extra pie crust sitting in the freezer from our last pie (I always make a double batch even when I only need one…might as well make the mess once!). That meant a list minute dinner party with the family could be finished with this beautiful summery pie. Strawberry rhubarb pie is always a bit runnier than I want it to be, but I think if I had let it rest long enough, this would have been perfect. The flavor was just tart enough to be perfect for an ice cream topping. This is a bit of a baking by feel recipe. I got some reinforcement from a family friend who knows her way around a pie! She said, “I can’t give you exact amounts of fruit, just enough to fill the crust!” Try this one for a great summer treat!


Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

1 pie crust


4 Stalks Rhubarb, Chopped

8-10 Strawberries, Halved or Quartered

½ cup sugar (adjust to the sweetness of your fruit)

Juice and Zest of 1 Lemon

2 T flour



1 T vanilla

Pinch of Salt


3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

Preheat oven to 400° and prebake the pie shell for 10 minutes. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, lemon zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. Cook until the fruit releases juice and becomes bubbly. Combine flour and lemon juice to make a slurry. Slowly add the slurry to the sauce and stir into the fruit until thickened to desired consistency. Pour into pastry shell.

For topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and butter combine with your fingers until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit.

Place pie on a baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° bake for 35 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.

Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

April 1, 2013

Easter Brunch Super Star

I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter holiday! We had perfect weather and a lovely brunch even though we have all been under the weather on and off. Easter usually means bunch in our house. There are so many things that make brunch great, but sometimes it is hard to find a way to change up the old standards. This recipe is a great riff on the traditional cinnamon roll. They are bright and pretty and just the right amount of sweet. These Lemon Raspberry Breakfast Rolls came to me from Joy the Baker. Given a stand mixer and a little time, these are relatively easy to make. I actually did it in stages allowing the dough to rise in the refrigerator overnight and then again letting the cut rolls rise in the pan. This will allow for fresh rolls hot out of the oven in the morning with no hassle. Enjoy the lemony goodness!


Lemon Raspberry Breakfast Rolls

For the Dough:

1 cup milk (I used 2 percent)

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted buttered, softened to room temperature

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for kneading, plus more for sprinkling the counter


For the Filling:

1 heaping cup fresh raspberries (if using frozen, do not thaw)

1/3 cup sugar plus 1/2 cup sugar for dusting

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, browned and slightly cooled


For the Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice


To make the dough:

In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the milk to about 95 degrees. Pour the warm milk into the bow of an electric stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Stir the sugar and yeast into the warm milk and let sit for 5 to 7 minutes. The yeast will foam and bubble. That’s how you know it’s alive. After frothy, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest, and sea salt to the yeast mixture. Add 4 1/4 cups flour. Beat on low speed with the paddle attachment for 2 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and replace the paddle with a dough hook. Beat dough with the dough hook on medium speed for about 10 minutes. (Be sure to keep an eye on the mixer to make sure it doesn’t move too much while it is kneading the dough for you!)

Dust a clean counter with flour. Scrape the dough out onto the work surface. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of flour and knead for about 2 minutes. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky. That’s right! Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Spray the top of the dough with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and place in a slightly warm place to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or refrigerate overnight.)


To make the filling:

In a medium bowl toss together raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, and cornstarch. Crush the raspberries just slightly as you stir. Set aside. If using frozen berries, do not thaw.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter until it is browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool slightly.

To assemble the rolls:

Grease a 9×13-inch pan with butter. Set aside.

When the dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a floured work surface and gently knead for 1 minute. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a roughly 10×20-inch rectangle.

Spread the butter over the dough. Spread the filling over the dough. Raspberries will be here and there across the dough. Sprinkle the dough and fruit with 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Working quickly, tightly roll up the dough into a 20-inch long log. Cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 pieces. Carefully and quickly lift the rolls into the prepared pan. The rolls will release juice into the bottom if the pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 1 hour (or overnight in the refrigerator), until puffed.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If you refrigerated the dough, allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to baking. Bake rolls for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.


To make the glaze:

In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon juice, and water. Drizzle glaze over cooled rolls and serve. Rolls are best served the day they are made but will last up to 3 days well wrapped at room temperature.

December 26, 2012

Christmas Lobster

I hope all of you had a fantastic Christmas with lots of family time. We were blessed with a white Christmas this year. Just enough snow to make it feel like Christmas!

In our family, ’tis the season for more parties! As I mentioned, we had our traditional Mexican Christmas Eve meal with great friends. For Christmas, Mary usually likes to try something new. This year we happened to find a deal on Lobster tails at Costco. With inspiration from Jacques Pépin, we were set on making artichoke bottoms stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, topped with Lobster tails…umm yum. As it turned out, the artichoke bottoms ended up too small, so we did the mushrooms in the artichoke bottoms and kept the lobster tails separate. Since BF is a native Mainer, he took charge of the lobster tails, giving me a great lesson in the keys to great preparation. One word: grilling. They came out sweet and perfectly cooked. Add to that some spicy lemon butter and you have a great complement to the lobster. Kick things off with some roasted tomato bruschetta and you have a great Christmas meal! What did you make?

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year to you all!


Grilled Lobster Tails with Spicy Lemon Butter

Adapted from Bobby Flay

Spicy Lemon Butter:

1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon clover honey

1 ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Crushed red pepper to taste (about 1 tablespoon)

Kosher salt and freshly grounded black pepper


Grilled Lobster Tails:

Kosher salt

6 Maine lobster tails

Canola oil, for brushing

Freshly ground black pepper


For the lemon-red Fresno butter: Put the lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in the honey. Add the butter, lemon zest, red pepper, salt & pepper.

For the grilled lobster tails: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lobster tails and boil for 4 minutes.

Remove and drain well.

Split each lobster tail lengthwise down the underside with a heavy knife, taking care not to cut through the back shell, so that the lobster is still in one piece but the inside is exposed.

Next, carefully remove the legs and under shell to expose the meat to easily season.

Heat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush the lobster flesh with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the tails flesh-side down on the grill and grill until slightly charred, about 3 minutes.

Flip over, brush with a generous amount of lemon butter, and continue grilling until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes, brushing with butter throughout. Remove from the grill to a platter, flesh-side up. Top with a little more butter.

Serve with mushroom stuffed artichokes and salad.


“There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?” ~Love Actually

November 11, 2012

In Search of the Perfect Cocktail

Have you ever had one of those experiences where you stumble upon something great? Something that fits perfectly in a moment in time and continues to impress long after? This was one of those finds for my BF and I. I think I mentioned before that we came across this drink at The Kitchen in Denver and loved it so much that we went back for more at the one here in Boulder. There we discovered some of its secrets. The drink, aptly named the Cane and Abel, combines two liqueurs made by brothers who have developed a bit of a rivalry. In addition, homemade limoncello and lemon juice add the perfect balance of sweetness and that great tartness that gets you just in the back of your cheeks. A twist of lemon, and you have a perfect combination! It turned into a labor of love, two months in the making, but was SO worth it.

To make the limoncello: very carefully zest 12 lemons leaving as little pith as possible. (This is very important! Think lots of yellow and no white). We used two zesting methods, which I think was a key to our success. One was a fine grater and the other was a peeler. I think the combination gave extra lemony goodness and leftover candied lemon peels for garnish…yum! Add to a jar and pour in 1 750 ml bottle of vodka (use something you would actually drink). Some people suggest grain alcohol, but vodka is great and I think the final product comes out a bit less harsh.

Place on a shelf and allow to sit for three weeks, yep three weeks! Shake the jar up a few times during that first week. We put it away after that so we didn’t have to stare at it! After three weeks, add simple syrup. We found a bottle of meyer lemon simple syrup at a specialty store and just used the whole bottle. You probably want 2 cups of regular simple syrup. Stir well. Now you get to wait some more…3 weeks more. Once again, we put it away so as not to be tempted!

After three weeks, it is time to filter! We used a gold tea filter for the first pass and then ran it through coffee filters twice more. The third pass, we added a bit, maybe two ounces, more vodka (probably sacrilege, I know, but it came out great! We will probably start with a bit more vodka next time). After you have finished filtering, pour into a pretty bottle and chill!

The final step is mixing the cocktail! We woke up to a lucky double rainbow on the perfect day to try it out. My fabulous boyfriend went out and found the perfect martini glasses and shaker to complete our quest. We wanted to get it right after all this work! We had previously found both of the liqueurs on sale, with the St. Germain coming in a boxed set with a beautiful carafe. BF mixed up all of the ingredients and shook over ice for us to enjoy. It was just as good as we remembered! This will be a staple for us from now on…try it out!

Cane and Abel: 1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 oz homemade limoncello, 1 oz Domaine de Canton, ½ oz St. Germain, shake over ice, serve with a twist!


June 16, 2012

The Freshy-Fresh

Today, we have our very first guest blog from our friend Mary in Boston! She shared a fantastic looking cocktail that I will have to try this evening and a photo of her very enviable view. Wouldn’t you love to be there holding a Freshy-Fresh? I know I would! Especially in that glass J Happy Saturday!!


Cucumber Vodka (Pearl brand) – keep it chilled in freezer, or at least frig.

Splash of lemonade + splash of soda water. Lots of ice. Slice of cucumber as garnish.

I call it the Freshy-Fresh because it’s sooooooooooooooooooo refreshing!!!


Thanks for sharing Mary!!

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