Sunday, December 4, 2011

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

East 62nd Street Lemon Cake
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1999 ed.), pg. 127-28. Also in Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews McMeel Publishing. 1997 ed.), pg. 22. (2011 ed., pg. 20).
This is a popular recipe created by Maida Heatter's daughter. It was printed in the New York Times to much acclaim. I made it this weekend for Michael's cousin who was visiting this weekend from Mississippi. Both she and Michael love lemon and they both approved this recipe. If you like lemon, you'll love this!


3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup milk
Finely grated rind of 2 large lemons

Preheat oven to 350.  Use either a 9 x 4 1/2 inch tube pan or a Bundt pan. (I used the Bundt). Butter the pan and dust it with fine bread crumbs and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Beat the butter in an electric mixer until soft.  Add the sugar and beat until mixed.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula.

Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk (beginning and ending with the flour mixture). Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and stir in the lemon zest.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Rotate the bowl back and forth a few times to level the top.

Bake for 1 hour and 5 to 10 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake stand in the pan for 5-10 minutes before inverting the pan to remove the cake. Place over foil or wax paper and prepare the glaze.


1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar

Whisk together the lemon juice and sugar and brush it over the cake while the cake is still warm.

Let the cake cool completely before transferring to a cake plate. It is best to wait a few hours before cutting the cake.

(Maida notes that key lime juice works in the glaze as well but if doing so, still use the lemon rind for the cake.)

My Notes: The cake was done in 50 minutes (as I've mentioned earlier, my oven always get things done faster than the recipe calls for).  You might think the glaze is excessive (I did) but the cake absorbs it quickly. It turned out excellent. The recipe says that it serves 10 portions but they would have to be extremely large portions. I would say that you can get 15-20 slices easily. 


rebecca said...

Oh, Phillip, that looks and sounds so so so good!

kate said...

This is SUCH a good cake. I've been making it for thirty odd years, since it appeared in the Times. It's also good in loaf form.

Marie said...

Phillip I love Maida's recipes too. I have her cakes cookbook. I used to work as a Chef for an American family over here, but retired last year. I used to make a special chocolate sauce from one of the Maida books in my boss's collection. It may have been the chocolate desserts book. You wouldn't have the recipe for that would you? It's fabulous and I am missing it. Everything you bake looks decadently delicious! Well done!

Phillip Oliver said...

Marie - thanks for the encouragement! I will check my books and see if I can find the chocolate sauce recipe. I think it may be in her chocolate book.

Rochelle said...

Your blog is so nice! Although I have several of Maida's books, not all of her recipes are a success for me. This recipe is a no fail however!

If one looks at the structure of the recipe, it is clearly a 1-2-3-4 cake - i cup fat, 2 cups sugar, 3 cups flour, 4 eggs PLUS liquid [anything from 1/4 to 1 cup, flavorings, and leavening [baking soda or powder]. The glaze is an optional component for this formula. You can experiment and make a lot of excellent cakes with this formula. You can sub cake flour for the all purpose too. You can add cocoa and subtract the same amount of flour too.

Rochelle said...

Forgot to add: this 1-2-3-4 cake is also the basis of the Jewish Apple Cake. In that recipe, usually the fat is oil, the liquid is orange juice and about 1/4 to 1/2 cup, and several cups of sliced peeled apples are macerated first in a cinnamon sugar mixture, then stirred into or layered with the batter. Chopped walnuts &/or raisins are optional.

Phillip Oliver said...

Thanks Rochelle! I had not thought of it that way and that is great advice. The main problem I've encountered with Maida's recipes are the baking times. They are always way too long for my oven. I've learned to cut it back at least 15 minutes and watch it carefully. She must have had a really slow oven.

Katy said...

This cake is the best! Love all Maida's recipes!

Sue I. said...

I've made this one a couple of times and it's always a hit (and feeds a crowd). I love your blog. I am thinking of making the Budapest Coffee Cake next, but there are so many choices.