Saturday, February 22, 2020

Anna Sultana's Lemon Loaf

This has been a dreary winter for all of us here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Here’s how our weather usually works: 
Our normal winters are packed with short days filled with lots of sun.
But along with the sunshine we get temperatures that can go as low as -40º C.
Don't do any math... at -40º it doesn't matter if it's -40ºC or -40ºF. 
It's the same freaking cold. Really.

When we have overcast skies the temperatures are milder, but it can be depressing and disorienting.
Quite the choice.
I mean, if we'd wanted cloudy, damp weather we'd have moved to Vancouver.

It was cloudy on Groundhog Day, so we’ll have Spring in another month or so.
If we don't get another blizzard in April, as we had in 1997.
Yep, we had a record-setting blizzard, followed by the flood of the century.
Life's never dull on the prairies.

Everyone will be having a new moon tomorrow, so the sky will be really dark at night.
I don’t know about you, but I could use a bit of sunshine right now.
I really need to make something with lemon.

I've heard that the Lemon Loaf is really popular at Starbucks.
This recipe isn’t exactly like theirs.
It doesn’t have Mono And Diglycerides, Modified Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Guar Gum, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate or Glucose.
It just has ingredients you probably have in your kitchen.

This recipe makes a nice moist loaf that keeps well for several days in a cake keeper.
It won't last long, so making two is a good idea.


If you don’t have lemon zest you can use 2 Tablespoons lemon extract.

Want something a bit different? 
Add 1/4 Cup poppy seeds or dried cranberries. Blueberries are also nice.

You can put a strip of parchment paper in the bottom of the pans, leaving a bit hanging out, to take the loaves out more easily.

If you want a more lemony and lighter glaze for one loaf, try:
1 Cup confectioners' sugar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice, more or less, for spreading consistency
1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

If you don’t like glazes you can halve the recipe or not use it.

If you love glaze make a bit extra and spread it on a slice’s cut surface to make a moist and lemony open-face sandwich. 

The loaves will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Unglazed and well-wrapped, the loaves keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Don’t store these loaves in the fridge. That will dry them out.

                        Lemon Loaf (2 Loaves)
The loaves

Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch glass loaf pans

Place in a bowl
6 large eggs
Allow to warm to room temperature.

Place in a large bowl 
3 Cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Combine and set aside.

Place in a large mixer bowl
the warmed large eggs
2 Cups sugar
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix on low until combined. 

While the mixer is running, slowly add
2/3 Cup lemon juice
4 teaspoons lemon extract

Preheat oven to 325º F

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. 
1 Cup canola oil
zest of two lemons 
Stir until completely mixed.

Pour the batter into the two prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 55 minutes.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the loaves should come out with just a few moist crumbs but no batter attached.
Remove the pans from the oven and place on wire cooling racks. 
Cool for at least 30 minutes. A few hours is better.

The Glaze
Place in a medium bowl 
1 Cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk 
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Mix together until smooth.

When the loaves have cooled completely, remove from pans and place one on a platter.
Drizzle glaze over the loaf.
When the glaze has set, slice and serve. 

Friday, February 7, 2020

Anna Sultana's Cherry Pound Cake for Valentine’s Day / Full Snow Moon

We’ll be having a full moon this weekend - the Full Snow Moon, to be exact.
It will signal the end of the Chinese New Year festivities, which folks have been celebrating over the past two weeks. But, all good things come to an end, and now people are eating leftovers and getting ready for the Lantern Festival. 
After that it’s back to normal - whatever that is.

The Full Snow Moon will be the fourth-largest and fourth-brightest full moon this year. 
It’s called the Snow Moon because of the heavy snowfall we usually get in February. 

Yes, I know that doesn’t apply to folks everywhere, but that is it’s traditional name.
It will be considered a supermoon by some, since the Moon will be closer than normal. 
Some would disagree, as April’s full Moon is the true supermoon of 2020.
I know… it’s always something.

If you’re feeling sad because the Chinese New Year festivities are drawing to a close, Valentine's Day is this Friday.
This post has links for Romantic Dinners for Two, as well as the recipe for Anna Sultana's Lava Cakes.

Those recipes - or a reservation at a nice restaurant - will take care of the big day.
But we still have to eat during the next week, and it might be nice to eat something with a bit of holiday flare to it.


Want to make this for St. Patrick’s Day? Use green candied cherries.

This is a traditional recipe for Christmas in Newfoundland.
If you’re planning on serving it for Christmas, it would be festive to have a mixture of green and red cherries.

To make a Chocolate Chip Pound Cake just replace the almond extract with vanilla and use regular or miniature chocolate chips instead of the cherries.

Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.

To store, tightly wrap the cake in one layer of foil or two layers of plastic wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. It can be frozen up to one month. 
When ready to serve, remove it from the freezer and let thaw, wrapped, at room temperature overnight. Once thawed, remove the wrap and serve.

                        Cherry Pound Cake
Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt or tube pan 

Well drain and quarter
1 to 2 cups red maraschino cherries
Place them in a medium bowl and toss with 
1/4 Cup flour
Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine
2 3/4 Cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Set aside.

Place in a large mixer bowl
1 1/4 Cups butter, softened
2 3/4 Cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
Beat at low speed until the mixture is blended, then at high speed for 5 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

Preheat oven to 350º F

Add dry ingredients to mixture alternately with
1 Cup evaporated milk
(3 dry, 2 liquid additions)
Mix lightly after each addition.
Fold in the quartered cherries.
Turn batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 55 minutes.
Cover loosely with foil and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.
Turn cake out onto cooling rack and let cool completely.
Just before serving dust with
confectioners’ sugar (optional)