Lemon Cake and Taxes
246 years ago today George III (he was our king at the time) approved the infamous Stamp Act, the first direct tax levied against the colonists.
It caused quite a ruckus.
Instead of dutifully paying, everyone rebelled and shouted “taxation without representation” (as opposed to representation, which we have now in this country because WE VOTE for our representatives) and eventually this led to the Boston Tea Party (because of another tax and devious machinations about the importation of tea).
People say that all these disturbances made us into a coffee drinking country, rather than a tea drinking one. Still, there’s something soothing about tea and something warm and comforting, not to mention delicious, about a real “Afternoon Tea” with freshly brewed tea and scones, cakes, tea sandwiches and cookies.
Every two weeks our local Hadassah holds an Afternoon Tea for cancer patients and caregivers at Stamford Hospital. China tea sets and cups. Lots of goodies to eat.
This is a gift for everyone. Those who are ill and need a bright spot in their day. Caregivers who take pleasure in the pleasure of their loved ones. The bakers who willingly mix up a cake or batch of cookies to make someone else feel good, at least temporarily.
We were told that while the patients are grateful for anything we bake, that because of their illness or as the result of chemo and other medications, they prefer creamy and also lemony desserts, because these have the most flavor.
Here’s my latest offering. I’ve been experimenting with Lemon Buttermilk Cake for a while now and finally got it right.
Lemon Buttermilk Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 pound butter
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup grated fresh lemon peel
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
Grease a 10-cup bundt pan, then sprinkle the insides with flour or plain dry bread crumbs. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium, cream the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat after each addition and scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the lemon peel and lemon juice and stir into the batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about one hour or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven. Mix the glaze ingredients and brush some onto the surface of the cake (it will become the bottom) while it is cooling in the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a cake rack. Brush the remaining glaze over all the remaining surface area of the cake. Let cool and serve.
Makes 12-16 servings