Tuesday, June 29, 2010

{TWD} Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake


When I was in high school I had a steady babysitting job - nearly every Saturday evening found me taking care of three adorable children and I even took some vacations with them. I have many fond memories of that family, including some very strong food associations. The mother baked fresh braided loaves of Challah bread every Friday, and there were always cold Tab sodas and Chips Ahoy cookies in the fridge, and a Sara Lee pound cake in the freezer. Invariably we'd slice and eat the cake frozen. I loved its tight crumb and the fact that it never ever tasted dry. Dry pound cake is just a shame, isn't it?

The recipe this week for Tuesdays With Dorie is called Rum Drenched Vanilla Cakes (I baked the lemon variation). Dorie Greenspan compares this cake to the texture of a Sara Lee poundcake.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- Wendy of Pink Stripes chose these cakes for us this week. You can go visit her blog for the recipe. Her site is always worth a good browse; Wendy is one of my favorite baking buddies and she always features yummy sweets (including fabulous ice cream!) and wonderful veggie dishes. It makes sense that if Wendy didn't choose an ice cream recipe, she'd pick one with alcohol. Next time, Wendy, I'm going to try this cake with the rum in it.

- Although I love rum in my baked goods, given the very hot weather we've had in these parts this June, lemon sounded perfectly refreshing, so I chose the lemon variation. This meant reducing the rum and vanilla and including lemon zest in the cake and lemon juice in the syrup that soaks the cake after it's baked.

- I baked 1/3 recipe, which I split between a smallish loaf pan and a baby loaf pan. I drenched the baby one with syrup for tasting and kept the larger one plain so that I could pop it into the freezer.

the verdict:

My cake wasn't as dense or as moist as a Sara Lee pound cake. Nor was it as lemony as I would have liked. I'd definitely increase the lemon presence if I were to make it again, maybe adding lemon extract to the batter and the syrup. Or I'd skip the lemon and go for the rum version. Thanks, Wendy, for a fun and easy pick this week!

28 comments:

mike said...

Ah.... TAB and Sara Lee. What great memories - and a great-looking loaf! I'm sorry this cake didn't live up to it's "hype". But it's certainly easy to make (no mixer!) - so upping the lemon (or any other flavor) should be easy. I've also drenched in pure lemon juice (think it was a Martha S. recipe) - that definitely gave it a lemon kick. Or better yet, Rum, as you mention!

Romaine said...

Enjoyed hearing about your babysitting memories. My kids love those Sara Lee cakes too. My orange cake also needed a little more orange flavor.

chocolatechic said...

TAB....that was my mother's drink of choice when I was growing up.

This cake is just over the top good.

Sweet and Savory said...

I did lemon too and I did add a bit of lemon extract. I forgot all about that until, I read your comment.

Lemon is good and your lemon looks delicious.

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your cake looks wonderful!

Valerie said...

Your cakes look so moist and inviting! Thanks for the tip about using more lemon in these, I can't wait to try this version.

Leslie said...

I love the sound of your lemon drenched lemon cake! Too bad all the lemon didn't give it a more assertive lemon flavor. Food memories are so powerful. I, too, remember Sara Lee pound cake and IMHO this one didn't replicate that for me, but it was still good. I hope you're having a great time on your vacation!

Kayte said...

Thanks for the lemon advice as I am making this again this weekend for holiday picnics with lemon and no rum so the under 18 crowd can have a shot at it, so to speak. I will definitely double the lemon...triple you think? Your cake looks wonderful. Fun to hear about your memories...TAB, are you serious? OMW that stuff was awful. But then, I am not a soda drinker, so it was probably just me.

Lauryn said...

I used to babysit a lot too, and I would like some jobs better than other based on the food they kept in their houses! LOL! Sara Lee pound cake and homemade challah sounds like a major score!!

bellini valli said...

Store bought Sara Leee cakes are a childhood memory I could not pass up.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i babysat all thru high school and college...i used to snack on cheese singles (which my mum would never buy for us). while this cake didn't really remind me of sara lee, i thought the rum version was outstanding.

Eliana said...

I'll have to take your advice into consideration and make this in the lemon version. Thanks so much for sharing.

Madam Chow said...

Have to tell you, the rum version is a winner.

I remember the good old TAB days. And Fresca, remember that?

Cathy said...

I went the lemon-drenched lemon route as well. It's so hot around here these days that rum in any form might have done me in for good. Sounds like this wasn't an all time favorite for you, but at least it was super easy! And your cake looks delicious. Hope you are having a great trip!

Tia said...

looks great!!! mmm sara lee will always have a place in my heart :)

Nickki said...

Lemon sounds amazing in this cake. I will have to try it next time (maybe this weekend!) I skipped the rum and concentrated on the vanilla flavour. I loved this recipe :-)

TeaLady said...

Tab and Fresca. My two go to drinks as a teen/college student.

Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee.....

Looks so moist. Wanna try with lemon.

Clivia said...

Frozen Sara Lee - that brings back memories. This cake would have also worked as a frozen trifle.
Glad you enjoyed!

The Mortensens said...

I would like to try the lemon version. Thanks for the heads up about adding more lemon. It's always sad when the flavor doesn't stand out.

Di said...

I loved the rum version, but now I want to try the lemon one, too. =) I hope you're enjoying your European vacation!

Peggy said...

It is so funny to hear you talk about loving babysitting. I did it once and hated it. Hated it. I can't wait to make this cake. I'm running a bit behind this week. I will not be using the rum as I don't like that flavor so I'm glad to see the lemon works. I hope you are having a good summer so far Nancy!

pinkstripes said...

LOL. I like your comments. I want to try a lemon version one day. I hope you're having fun in Europe! Thanks for baking along with me.

Barbara said...

Oh yeah! Frozen Sara Lee pound cakes! You made me smile. A company called Sanders also used to make pecan tarts and my mother always had those in the freezer too. I still prefer a frozen slice of pecan pie to room temp!

This looks like a good recipe but I am such a vanilla freak, I'd probably go with that version.

Jules Someone said...

I remember both TAB and sara lee frozen pound cakes. Good times. The lemon version sounds great!

Susan said...

I thought about making the lemon version, but went with the hazelnut and Nutella version instead! Great looking cakes. :)

theunappreciatedbaker said...

Your cake looks so delicious. I actually prefer lighter cakes. I will have to try it with lemon extract.

margot said...

I am looking forward to trying a lemon variation at some point; I'll take your tips and up the lemon flavor.

Jaime said...

i love lemon poundcake! thanks for the tips, they'll come in handy when i try it w/lemons :)