It's a free choice week for the bake-along, where we can pick from any of the cakes Marie made before the bake-along started. Or any cake that you skipped--but I haven't skipped any yet. (Been late, yes, but I've gotten them all baked so far.) I enlisted nephew and younger niece in the selection process when niece called to ask what the cake of the week was and when I'd be baking. First week after school let out, and she's looking for activities...
We decided on non-chocolate, as last week's Bernachon Palet d'Or was definitely chocolate. Nixed the whipped cream cheesecake because of the recent Baby Lemon (or Passion Fruit) Cheesecakes, and because niece is not fond of cheesy things. That took out the tiramisu as well. I've been wanting to do the crumb coffee cake, but niece wanted CAKE, not breakfast. (It's all in your perceptions...). We thought hard about the She Loves Me cake with lemon curd and blueberries, but ended up with the signature Golden Lemon Almond Cake, which Rose says is her favorite in the book. It also has the virtue of being on the Easy list.
Easy it was. I was going to make it even easier by using the Trader Joe's almond meal I'd substituted before, but this time I decided to toast it lightly as it had been in the freezer. However, after a few minutes in the oven the meal was warm...but had absolutely no almond smell. Not good. I grabbed for sliced almonds and went with the recipe instructions all the way, toasting the sliced nuts, cooling them, then grinding them with part of the sugar to a fine meal.
The rest is easy: mix the wet ingredients (eggs, some of the sour cream, vanilla, lemon oil and zest) in one bowl. Niece grated a tall pile of lemon zest off three lemons. The volume measurement for zest is always dubious to me because the Microplane grater gives so much fluffier zest and my scale isn't very accurate for very small quantities. We went with a combination of a probably inaccurate measurement, and a judgement call based on the table in the back of the book for average yield from lemons for zest and juice.
Wet stuff mixed, all the dry ingredients go in the mixer bowl and are blended. In goes butter and the remaining sour cream, then the egg mixture in 2 addtions, and the batter is done.
I'd bought the 'Bavaria' Bundt pan that is used in the book illustration for this cake, and this was its inaugural use. Having remembered Marie's problems, I made sure niece brushed the Baker's Joy into the crevices of the pan and the cake came out without any problems. Niece also brushed the lemon syrup all over the cake, including a few extra sugar grains I added in to get the sparkle effect.
Tasting results: This is a lovely cake. Nice lemony flavor, though even with the good tasted almonds, there's not much almond flavor present. The lemon syrup both gives that strong flavor punch and added moisture. The Bavaria patterned pan makes a beautiful presentation, too.
My brother and the nieces all liked this one as well--it will be on the list to bake again.
Forgot to add in that Fred (Princess Winnifred, but she goes by Fred /obligatory Once Upon A Mattress reference here/) decided to get in on the kitchen activity. Niece's shoulders proved to be suitable for a short repose, plus her hair required some serious sniffing and a little grooming assistance. I'm not sure niece found the hair-washing to be a big help....