Meyer Lemon Cake: Substitute for Meyer lemons?
Posted: 21 January 2009 11:35 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I apologize if this is covered in the Cake Bible.  I’m going to be getting a copy of that today to read through but does anyone have experience with Meyer lemons?  From what I gathered, they are in season now, but what if I wanted to use them in September?  I’m guessing I could juice them, and take some of the zest and freeze that in an ice cube tray, then seal those in a plastic bag?  I’ve made this recipe before by mixing the juice of a lemon and mandarin orange together, but I want to try it with the meyer lemon to see the difference or if anyone knows of a better substitute.

Thanks!

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Posted: 21 January 2009 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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My suggestion is that you freeze some zest and juice now. Then, in a week or two, do a test batch and see whether freezing has affected the taste. At the same time, do a batch with fresh juice and zest, and see if there is a difference between the two versions.

For the record, I think Meyer lemons should not be classified as lemons, and should be treated as a separate kind of citrus fruit, just as limes are. I am not a big fan of Meyer lemons for most things. I prefer the super lemony kick of Lisbon or Eureka lemons. But, that is just my humble opinion. Meyer lemons have a lot of fans out there, so maybe one of those fans will chime in and give you better advice than I have.

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Posted: 23 January 2009 12:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Nifty! I never new ‘lemon’ lemons had variety names. Meyer lemons do give a sustantially different flavor from standard lemons. I found substituting them in pound cake disappointing, but Meyer lemon curd, made with a straight substitution of Meyer for Eureka/Lisbon lemon in TCB’s lemon curd recipe was delicious, and had a good texture. (I was concerned that they wouldn’t be sufficiently acidic to set the curd, but it was no problem.) I’d have some concern about loss of flavor when freezing the zest, because i’ve noticed the zest loses flavor fairly quickly.

Cathy

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Posted: 23 January 2009 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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When I first came across this recipe, the Meyer lemons were out of season.  I just used the zest of a mandarin orange and the zest of a ‘lemon’ lemon.  It wasn’t perfect after now tasting the Meyer lemon zest, but if the frozen zest does degrade in flavor, I’ll try that again with the real Meyer lemon juice. (which froze wonderfully in the ice cube tray.  I cannot wait to try this cake (and more importantly the mousseline frosting smile )

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Posted: 24 January 2009 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ll throw in my 2 cents- meyer lemons have a frangrance and flavor somewhere between grapefruit and lemon, with maybe a tinge of rosemary.  I think they work better in savory dishes than cakes or pies.  I just miss that perfect lemon zestiness of regular lemons.  I have used Meyers to mix with regular lemons in Rose’s lemon curd, it gives a more complex flavor.  But I just don’t think the herbaceous flavor is well-suited to everything.

Most citrus juice and zest freezes well, you can mix them together before freezing, or you can freeze the zest separately, mixed with a little oil.  I like to freeze them in glass jars, I feel it proteccts the flavor better than plastic.

What cake are you using the lemons for?

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Posted: 24 January 2009 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Julie - 24 January 2009 01:55 PM

What cake are you using the lemons for?

Meyer Lemon-Cream Cheese Pound Cake.  It was a recipe a friend came across in a bridal magazine and gave to my fiance.  Most of the little squares came out really well (the “fresh” batch).  The rest are okay, just a little overcooked since I missed the timer. Doh.

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Posted: 25 January 2009 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I agree that mixing a little oil with the zest will help to protect the flavor when freezing. You could also mix with vodka and end up with lemon zest in lemon extract. (This can be stored in the fridge, although for long-term storage I’d freeze it.)

I love the flavor of Meyer lemons! Yes, Meyer lemons are less acid than “regular” lemons and have a more complex flavor. I like to use them in recipes that let their flavor really stand out, rather than be in the background. (They’re also expensive, at least here in Wisconsin, so I like to make the most of them!) Meyer lemon curd is wonderful—and I also like my Shaker Lemon Tart made with Meyer Lemons:
http://bungalowbarbara.blogspot.com/2008/10/ywp-shaker-lemon-tart-or-pie-is-its-own.html

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Posted: 26 January 2009 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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So…I tried the frozen zest & frozen juice combination today.  The batter tasted more like a yellow cake than a lemon cake.  I forgot exactly what the batter tasted like the last time so I baked part of it and it definitely was not as flavorful as the fresh batch.  With the remaining 1/3 of the batter, I decided to add melted-frozen juice and some zest until the batter matched the flavor I was expecting.  (only issue here is that we zested a new lemon and added it to the stash so some of the zest I was adding could have been new zest).  I tried to be as scientific with it as I could, and from my estimation in the original recipe, I’d have to increase both the zest and juice by 300% (original: 2 Tbsp of each in a 9 c. batter recipe)  I hadn’t frozen the zest originally with the oil but have started adding a little drizzle with couple of Tbsp of zest.  I’m worried that this is after a week and if we use this recipe it’d be 8 months.  The zest still had some flavor since I was eventually able to recreate what I wanted, but is this something I’m doing wrong with storage. (I just switched to glass instead of plastic on the recommendation you gave)

As a follow up thought:  The fresh batch of zest was grated (using my flat cheese grater) while the frozen batch was minced after removing the pith from the shells.  Could be a surface area affect I suppose.  I just read a thread about this in the General Q&A section so I think I’m going to use a little bit of oil and maybe get a vacuum sealer.  Only a couple weeks left before the Meyers are gone.

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