Cake with lemon baked in
Posted: 08 May 2012 11:33 PM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13

I baked a lemon cake that is basically taken from the book Cake Love.  This cake is unusual because it has chunks of lemon baked into the cake.  I had to try it because I’d never seen this technique before.  In this cake it produced a delightful effect with lemony pockets where the lemon sections had been.  They actually turned into lemon lined hollows in the cake, with the moisture sucked out of the lemons.  However, the cake itself is a sugar bomb and was much too sweet to my taste, so I wanted to try the lemon pockets in a cake that wasn’t so sweet. 

I tried using the same method using the Buttermilk Country Cake, which is my favorite yellow cake.  And this technique didn’t work at all.  The lemon sections kind of disappeared. 

So I’m left wondering what sort of cakes can this method work with.  Why did it work with one and not the other.  Did the super high sugar content suck the moisture out of the lemons?  What is the least sweet cake I can make and use this technique? 

Anybody have any thoughts? 

Lemon Cake:

unbleached all purpose flour 8.5 oz
arrowroot 2 T (he calls for potato starch) 
salt 1/2 tsp
baking soda 1/4 tsp

liquid:
4 lemons
sour cream, 1/4 cup
heavy cream 1/4 cup
whole milk 1/4 cup
limoncello 1 T
vanilla 1/2 tsp
lemon oil 1/4 tsp

creaming
unsalted butter 4 oz
cream cheese 3 oz
extra fine sugar 16 oz
turbinado sugar 2 T
lemon zest 1 T
eggs 4
egg yolk 1


Heat oven to 350. 

Mix dry ingredients together. 

Cream butter, cream cheese, sugars and lemon zest on lowest speed 3-4
minutes.

Add eggs one at a time. 

Add dry ingredients alternately with liquid in 3-5 additions beginning
and ending with the dry.  This step should take 60 seconds.

Stop mixer and scrape.  Mix med speed 15-20 sec.

Section lemons, cut lemon sections in 2-3 pieces and stir into batter. 

Bake in 12 cup bundt pan 45-60 min.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 01:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  609
Joined  2012-01-12

how much sugar is in it ?  I do not see it on the list of ingredients.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13

The sugar is in the “creaming” section: 16 ounces plus 2 tablespoons, which is about double the amount of flour.  The CakeLove guy has a philosophy of minimizing the fat and maximizing the sugar—-the opposite of what Rose does.  So this cake has roughly 16 oz of sugar, 8.5 oz of flour and something like 5.5 oz of fat, if I count cream cheese as 50% of its weight.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1333
Joined  2008-09-27
Adrian - 09 May 2012 02:33 AM

However, the cake itself is a sugar bomb and was much too sweet to my taste, so I wanted to try the lemon pockets in a cake that wasn?t so sweet.

Why not just reduce the sugar content of the original cake?

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13

If I cut the sugar in half, say, it begins to resemble the Buttermilk Country Cake except for lacking the buttermilk, and the leavening being rather different.  It seemed to me to make more sense to just jump straight to a well designed, tasty cake as the base for the lemons.  Since that didn’t work…would cutting the sugar in half in the original recipe be expected to work much differently?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1333
Joined  2008-09-27
Adrian - 09 May 2012 01:29 PM

It seemed to me to make more sense to just jump straight to a well designed, tasty cake as the base for the lemons.  Since that didn’t work…would cutting the sugar in half in the original recipe be expected to work much differently?

When you’re doing an experiment, it pays to make one change at a time.  Yes, if you make several changes at once and it works, you’ve saved a lot of time, but when it doesn’t, as is usually the case, you’re kind of at a dead end.  I don’t know whether just reducing the sugar would work differently….that’s why you do the experiment.  grin  I probably wouldn’t start off by reducing the sugar by 50%; I’d start off with smaller reductions and see how the cake changes as you use less sugar.

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13
CharlesT - 09 May 2012 01:44 PM
Adrian - 09 May 2012 01:29 PM

It seemed to me to make more sense to just jump straight to a well designed, tasty cake as the base for the lemons.  Since that didn’t work…would cutting the sugar in half in the original recipe be expected to work much differently?

When you’re doing an experiment, it pays to make one change at a time.  Yes, if you make several changes at once and it works, you’ve saved a lot of time, but when it doesn’t, as is usually the case, you’re kind of at a dead end.  I don’t know whether just reducing the sugar would work differently….that’s why you do the experiment.  grin  I probably wouldn’t start off by reducing the sugar by 50%; I’d start off with smaller reductions and see how the cake changes as you use less sugar.

Certainly it makes sense to vary one parameter at a time when experimenting in order to determine, for example, the functions and behaviors of different ingredients.  But cake baking is not an unknown area, where the only way to understand this is to perform exhaustive experiments.  A great deal is already known about cake baking, and I would prefer to build on that knowledge rather than reinvent it.  Note that it’s also possible that changing a single parameter at a time will never lead to success because of the interdependence of the parameters, so approaching this through an exhaustive trial-and-error method could require me to bake dozens of cakes.  Or I could get stuck with recipes that have certain characteristics and never realize that the answer was to make some radical departure from the starting point.  If my goal is impossible—-e.g. because the high sugar content is necessary to dry out the lemon pockets—-I can never figure that out through a purely trial-and-error experimental approach.  I can only note that cake number 73 failed like the last 72.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3131
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, Adrian!

Maybe you can also add lemon zest which will help to counter the sweetness.  Rose uses 6 oz butter + 2/3 c. sour cream in her yellow cake for 8.5 oz flour—which is about equal fat to that cake with its butter + cc + sour cream + heavy cream (I don’t have BCC in front of me, but her ratios are usually pretty similar across butter cakes), so it seems to me that he’s just adding a whole bunch of sugar and not lessening the fat much at all.  80% of the non-Rose cakes I see use equal volume sugar & flour, which is 2x weight of suagar:flour, so his sugar content is pretty “mainstream normal.”

BCC is also my fave of Rose’s yellows, too.  That and the Golden Lux Butter Cake!

That said, I don’t get the difference between the lemony hollows and the lemon disappearing.  I think I get the lemony hollows concept, if I’m imagining it right, but not the disappearing in the BCC.  Can you describe that more? 

I also noticed that this recipe uses 1/4 t. baking soda and, if I remember correctly, BCC uses baking powder.  The soda may have neutralized something in the lemons to make it work better.

Finally, I see he uses AP flour (with just a bit of corn starch) and Rose uses cake flour.  That could have something to do with it, too—maybe total cake flour can’t support the lemon pieces?

While Charles T. is correct in that it makes sense to change one thing at a time, I’m thinking the flour and the leavening differences (although I forget what the leavning in BCC is exactly) might be the culpret preventing this BCC version from working.  I know, in Rose’s, if you want to use AP flour, you can usually avoid a dip by reducing BP by 1/4 t. per 9x2 inch layer, so you can try that, although the texture is still a bit different—a fluffy, but slightly larger and denser/moister (you can interpret that either way) crumb.

Sounds like a really interesting cake!!!!!  I’d love for it to work out, less sweetly!!

—ak

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13
Anne in NC - 09 May 2012 02:04 PM

Hi, Adrian!

Maybe you can also add lemon zest which will help to counter the sweetness.  Rose uses 6 oz butter + 2/3 c. sour cream in her yellow cake for 8.5 oz flour—which is about equal fat to that cake with its butter + cc + sour cream + heavy cream (I don’t have BCC in front of me, but her ratios are usually pretty similar across butter cakes), so it seems to me that he’s just adding a whole bunch of sugar and not lessening the fat much at all.  80% of the non-Rose cakes I see use equal volume sugar & flour, which is 2x weight of suagar:flour, so his sugar content is pretty “mainstream normal.”

BCC is also my fave of Rose’s yellows, too.  That and the Golden Lux Butter Cake!

I tried to estimate some comparisons.  In the CakeLove cake I estimated the total fat at 5.2 oz, or 61% bakers percentage.  The liquid in the CakeLove cake looked really small, so I tried estimating that, but if I assume liquid is supplied by cream cheese, sour cream, milk and so on I end up concluding that there is about 7 oz of liquid, or 86% relative to the flour.  In BCC the liquid is about 71% and the fat is 43%. 

That said, I don’t get the difference between the lemony hollows and the lemon disappearing.  I think I get the lemony hollows concept, if I’m imagining it right, but not the disappearing in the BCC.  Can you describe that more?

Unfortunately it was a couple months ago and so my memory is a bit vague.  My daughter asked for this cake for her birthday this weekend, which rekindled my interest in trying to improve it. 

As I recall the CakeLove version was rather dry with a fine crumb and it had hollow pockets where the lemon chunks were, with concentrated lemon baked on their edges.  The BCC version did not have pockets at all.  The lemons were hard to notice were blended smoothly into the cake.  I don’t think they sank to the bottom, so it wasn’t a support issue.  But they didn’t get the moisture sucked out of them like happened with the CakeLove cake.  The BCC cake was very moist, maybe even moister than normal, which was a big contrast to the CakeLove cake.  Some lemon juice may have escaped from the lemon sections and gotten mixed into the BCC batter which might have made it more acidic than normal. 

Note that I’ve never noticed adding lemon zest to really have any effect on a cake.  Maybe I need to zest 15 lemons or something, but it just seems to disappear.  So it wouldn’t serve to balance the sweetness.  The original recipe does call for lemon lemon oil.  I suppose I could try soaking the cake with lemon juice after baking.  smile

I also noticed that this recipe uses 1/4 t. baking soda and, if I remember correctly, BCC uses baking powder.  The soda may have neutralized something in the lemons to make it work better.

BCC is 4 egg yolks, 2/3 cup buttermilk 7 oz flour 7 oz sugar 1 T baking powder, 4 oz butter. 

Finally, I see he uses AP flour (with just a bit of corn starch) and Rose uses cake flour.  That could have something to do with it, too—maybe total cake flour can’t support the lemon pieces?

While Charles T. is correct in that it makes sense to change one thing at a time, I’m thinking the flour and the leavening differences (although I forget what the leavning in BCC is exactly) might be the culpret preventing this BCC version from working.  I know, in Rose’s, if you want to use AP flour, you can usually avoid a dip by reducing BP by 1/4 t. per 9x2 inch layer, so you can try that, although the texture is still a bit different—a fluffy, but slightly larger and denser/moister (you can interpret that either way) crumb.

I actually usually bake the BCC with bleached AP flour.  I like the resulting coarser crumb.  I had the idea of trying with the Perfect Poundcake recipe, as the CakeLove cake came outo with a pound cake sort of texture.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 12:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1333
Joined  2008-09-27
Adrian - 09 May 2012 02:00 PM

But cake baking is not an unknown area, where the only way to understand this is to perform exhaustive experiments.

Well, I have to disagree, because experts create recipes in exactly the way I describe.  If there were an entry in the dictionary for “exhaustive experiments”, you’d see the words “Rose Levy Beranbaum”.  grin  No one here or anywhere can offer you more than speculation about the cause of your problem; the only way you’ll every know is to conduct the experiments I suggested.

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 May 2012 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3131
Joined  2010-04-25

Since BCC has no baking soda and the original recipe does, that might have something to do with it.  It’s possible the soda, with its neutralizing effect, had some kind of effect with how the lemon behaved.

The original recipe uses UNBLEACHED AP flour, so that, as compared to cake flour (or even bleached AP flour, which behaves more like cake flour than AP flour) would make a difference—the proteins act a bit differently in bleached vs. unbleached—so that could have contributed to the difference, as well.  Might want to try the BCC with UNBLEACHED AP.

I have cut sugar a great deal in cakes—even in Rose’s cakes—with perfect success.  I made the white velvet and cut sugar by 1/3 and added 1/2 the weight of the sugar back to the cake as liquid (takes a little longer to bake).  I’ve also simply cut sugar.  If I were to try anything first, I’d try the original recipe and simply cut the sugar by 1/3.  Frankly, I’d go to 1/2 the sugar, which is cutting by 1 cup, or 200g. You can water to compensate for the moisture loss—it would theoretically require an extra 1/2 cup water (100g)—but I’d only go maybe 1/4 c. or skip it altogether.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 May 2012 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13

I did two test cakes.  I made a Perfect Pound Cake, following the instructions for a denser cake, and substituting bleached AP flour.  I mixed in 50 g of lemon sections that I cut in 2-3 pieces.  I also took the original recipe and cut the sugar in half, and made that with 70 g of lemon sections. 

Both cakes worked:  the lemon cooked into pockets as desired.  The modified CakeLove cake came out extremely dense with an extremely fine crumb.  It rose very little.  It also has sections that appear darker, almost as if they weren’t cooked, but they seem to have a cooked texture.  And I recall, now, that the same thing happened when i baked the original recipe.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 May 2012 06:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3131
Joined  2010-04-25

Thanks for reporting back! Could you tell any difference in the CakeLove cake between the original and the one with 1/2 sugar?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 May 2012 09:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13

It’s been long enough since I baked the original cake that I don’t recall how the cakes differed.  But certainly the one I made with half the sugar was similar to the original. 

I made a final cake where I substituted 1 tsp baking powder for the 1/4 tsp baking soda and increased the lemon to 200 g.  I also used the two stage mixing method and used 2 egg yolks.  (The truth is, I was making half the recipe and didn’t feel like dealing with fractional egg yolks.)  Anyway, none of these changes seemed to have a significant effect.  I was wondering about the baking soda, since the 1/4 cup of sour cream doesn’t seem to be enough acid to neutralize all the baking soda.  I baked my half recipe in a mini bundt pan and got a similar texture as before, with “uncooked” looking sections.  Also the cake shrank a lot after coming out of the oven.  I vaguely recall that the same thing happened with the original recipe.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 May 2012 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3131
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, Adrian!

Thanks for the info!

I think that the lemon would neutralize the rest of the baking soda.

Also, re egg yolks, consider an egg yolk to equal 20g—that makes it easeir to do fractionals!!!

—ak

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 May 2012 10:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  23
Joined  2008-02-13

The lemon is not mixed into the batter.  It is encapsulated in the the chunks of lemon section.  So I’m not sure that it counts for neutralizing the baking soda.  I made a point, actually, of draining the acumulated lemon juice before adding the sections so that I wasn’t mixing a bunch of lemon juice into the batter. 

I could have done the half an egg yolk if I’d felt like it.  And I would have done it just the way you suggest, based on weight.  I routinely do half-eggs that way.

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top