Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

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Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake (Cathy Pollak / December 14, 2012)

By Cathy Pollak for Oneforthetable.com

There is nothing quite like the intoxicating smell of a bowlful of Meyer lemons. A cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange, Meyer lemons have a slightly orange skin, a very thin rind and heavily perfumed flesh. I picked up over a dozen at the market this past week to make this Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake.

I never really see these lemons around until the holidays, even though they are in season late fall through spring. When they do come around, I grab as many as I can. They are one of my favorite fruits to work with.

If you have never had the pleasure of cooking with these types of lemons, I highly suggest picking them up on your next trip the market.

To have success with this recipe and for the rind to soften and sweeten sufficiently during baking, the lemons must be sliced to a nearly transparent thinness. If you have a sharp knife, you will be fine. I tried it with a mandoline but couldn't get the thinness I desired.

What a treat this cake is to eat. With two layers of Meyer lemons and a lovely batter surrounding them...not to mention the very thick streusel on top, it's breakfast heaven. The lemon flavor intensifies over time, so I highly suggest making it one day and serving the next morning.

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 10-12

For the streusel:

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt

6 ounces (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter

For the cake:

5 Meyer lemons, cut into paper thin/transparent slices, ends discarded

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for pan

1 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest (from 5-6 lemons)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

For the glaze:

2 cups confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice

Make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 3 days).

Make the cake: Cook lemon slices in a medium saucepan of simmering water for 1 minute. Drain, and repeat. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9-inch angel food cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream.

Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly into cake pan. Arrange 1/2 of the lemon slices in a single layer over the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Cover with the remaining lemon slices in a single layer. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter.

Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet, and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan, and remove outer ring. Let cool on rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the center tube. Slide 2 wide spatulas between the bottom of the cake and the pan, and lift cake to remove from the center tube. Let cool completely on rack.

(Cathy Pollak runs a vineyard and winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. She shares her love of food and wine at noblepig.com. One for the Table is Amy Ephron's online magazine that specializes in food, politics, and love. http://www.oneforthetable.com/.)

(c) 2014, ONE FOR THE TABLE. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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