Friday, December 4, 2009

Lemon Semolina Cake

Lemon Semolina Cake
This is a recipe I first made at the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in St Helena. It's a classic lemon pound cake but uses semolina flour in addition to all-purpose flour. As you can see from the picture, this didn't come out of the pan very cleanly. There are a few potential reasons for that: either I didn't bake it long enough, I didn't grease the Bundt pan well enough or I took it out of the pan too soon while it was still too warm and more fragile. I suspect it's a combination of all three reasons.

I hate dry cakes so I err on the side of underbaking. However, when it comes to heavier cakes that are more dense like pound cake, you can't underbake too much or the cake will be too heavy and greasy from the butter. Bundt cakes are also tricky because, depending on the recipe, some cakes will stick stubbornly to them no matter how well you grease and flour the pan. And the way they're shaped means you can't really line them with parchment paper which is my usual trick for getting cakes out of pans cleanly. And you have to time turning the cake out of the pan just right - if you take it out while it's too warm, it'll be more fragile and fall apart more easily. All it takes is for one part of the cake to stick to the pan while the rest of it tumbles out. But if you wait until it's too cool, oftentimes it won't come out at all because the butter has solidified and won't release the cake.

Also, if you're using a nonstick pan, make sure the nonstick coating is still intact and that your pan isn't too old or warped to bake cakes properly and release them.

When done correctly, this is what a finished Bundt cake should look like:

Clearly, that's not how the above lemon semolina cake turned out but oh well. It still tasted good.

Lemon Semolina Cake - made 11.28.09, from the Culinary Institute of America Baking & Pastry Arts program

10 ounces butter
14 ounces sugar
6 ounces eggs
Zest from 2 lemons
1 pound sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 ounces cake flour
5 ½ ounces semolina flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Soaking syrup
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar

1. Sift dry ingredients. Whip butter, sugar, zest and vanilla.
2. Slowly add eggs. Alternate dry ingredients with sour cream in 3 additions.
3. Pour into buttered and floured molds, ¾ full.
4. Bake at 325˚F – 350˚F, depending on shape (lower temp for large cake and longer baking time, higher temp for smaller loaf, 30-35 minutes).
5. Melt together ingredients for the syrup. Pour over the cake while the cake is hot. Put cake on icing grate, poke holes into cake, dab on syrup 3 to 4 times and give time between each time for syrup to soak in.

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