Flour-less Lemon Cake with Candied Lemon Slices

Cake….always a party pleaser.  I enjoy it on special occasions but confess it is not one of the things I am good at baking, never was even when I could use regular flours.  And don’t get me started on the birthday cake curse I am crouching underneath.  But sometimes you just need that fancy dessert that serves a crowd and makes everyone happy.  This cake is fairly easy to make, is gluten free and has great lemon flavor. The honey is more of an undertone. Each bite has a satisfying texture due to the almond flour, not heavy but not light with a lovely moisture built in from the honey and olive oil. The tiny bit of potato starch helps make that great texture. No butter either; extra virgin olive oil does the trick. Make sure your eggs and whites are all at room temperature for maximum loft when whipped.

The candied lemon slices take a bit of effort but look great on top. I know I was happy with the results when I bit into my slice of yummy cake!

This recipe comes from Food Network’s test kitchens and I made only minor changes, used slightly less water making the syrup as it seemed too thin even after simmering 20 minutes and no pomegranate seeds for on top; it is spring and pomegranates are a fall fruit. I looked; none to be found. I used a half pint of fresh raspberries and they were perfect – added great color and flavor.

If you can get Meyer lemons they are recommended because of their awesome flavor but I used the usual ones from the grocery store and they worked out fine. I thought the candied slices were tasty although a couple of guests who didn’t much like lemon skipped their candied lemon while still enjoying the cake itself.  It is a very impressive looking cake with a tender moist texture. Extra syrup on top is a tempting option!

I put all my pictures together in a chunk; they can be annoying sprinkled through out the recipe when you are trying to make it.  I often use my tablet to make my own recipes straight off my blog posts so I know what I am talking about here!

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Flourless Lemon Honey Cake with Candied Lemon

Ingredients

¼ cup EVOL plus more to grease pan

1 ¾ cup almond flour plus more to dust the pan

1/3 cup potato starch

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup honey

3 lemons; two zested and juiced and the third sliced very thinly

4 eggs separated

2 egg whites

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. almond extract

Chopped or slivered almonds; ¼-1/3 cup

½ pint fresh raspberries

Directions:

Brush the sides and bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan which you lined the bottom with a round of parchment paper; brush with EVOL and dust with almond flour.  Put rack in middle level in oven.  Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix flour, starch and salt in medium bowl.  Combine ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, lemon zest, 4 egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract in mixer bowl.  Mix on medium high until creamy; about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low, beat in the flour mixture just until blended.

In a separate clean bowl beat the 6 egg whites until foamy, about a minute.  Gradually beat in ½ cup sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, 3 minutes maybe 4.  Gently fold about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter, and then fold in the rest of the whites until just barely incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly; 50-55 minutes.  Place pan on a cake rack to cool completely.

While it is baking you should make the candied lemon slices.  Put the slices in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer over high heat; maybe 3 minutes.  Drain, return to pan and cover with fresh water, repeat the heating.  Do this three times total. It gets the bitterness out of the unpeeled slices. Put the slices back in the pan; add the remaining ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, the lemon juice of the two lemons and 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer over high heat, reduce heat to medium, cook, stir occasionally.  Cook until lemon slices are tender and the honey liquid is thickened; becomes like a syrup; about 20-25 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Unmold the cake: run a knife around the edge of the pan, remove pan.  Flip cake to take off parchment paper.  Place on a serving plate.  Use a fork to remove the lemon slices from the syrup and brush the cake all over with some of the lemon syrup.  Then decorate the cake with them. Sprinkle with the raspberries and pass the leftover lemon honey syrup along with the cake.

Serves 8-10.

Originally posted in the spring of 2015.

Meyer Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Pies are lovely but sometimes I like to make little tartlets. Folks just love having their own miniature pie.  I haven’t tried this shrink job before on a lemon meringue pie. But today I did it. This is my take on my mom’s bastardized version of an old Betty Crocker recipe and (of course) made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can double it if you are a sweet freak.  The Meyer lemons in these tartlets are sweeter than regular lemons so they really don’t need all that much sugar compared to regular garden variety lemons.

I used Meyer lemons for this recipe since I had some my brother sent me.  These  tartlets have a really delicate lemon flavor – so try it if you can get a couple.  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be slightly difficult to find Meyer lemons and a bit pricey too.  I saw them at Giant this week, might be worth it…

My mom always added a touch of corn syrup to replace some of the reduced out sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  In this tartlet form you can leave out the corn syrup…the resulting lemon custard kinda needs to be firmer  in this tiny format.

Tip: Don’t make this on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity.

Store any leftovers in the fridge. It probably won’t keep more than two days but frankly these tartlets will be eaten if you have anyone else in the house!

 

Lemon Meringue  Tartlets

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe) [King Arthur plain mix]

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Then roll it out and line 7-8 tartlet pan with it.  Make sure you get the crust nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 350 for 9-10 minutes until light brown.  Let cool.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

1-2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup (optional but it does make it extra creamy)

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped tartlets.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and zest and then stir in the butter.  Let it melt as you stir.  Glug in some corn syrup. Let it stand in the hot pan while you make the meringue.  Then use a big spoon to pour the hot lemon filling into the mini pie crusts.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. I put it on very carefully in 2-3 spoonfuls and spread it gently to keep it from overflowing the filling. There should be enough filling for eight flat bottomed tartlets or seven deep dish ones.  Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature and then chill for 1-2 hours before serving. This short chill time is one benefit of tartlets; they cool much faster than a big pie does. Enjoy! lemon tartlet side view

Meringue topping

three egg whites, room temperature

¼ tsp. cream of tarter

sprinkle of salt

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Beat the whites, sea salt and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white. I do think for the tartlets that an extra egg white would make the topping thicker. Up to you bakers!

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Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Lemon Custard Bars

Lemon season is right now; they are very fresh and I have a whole box of them my wonderful brother in Texas sent me.  The incredible lemon scent when I opened the box about knocked me over! Besides the venerable lemon meringue pie, lemon marmalade, lemoncello liqueur, lemon velvet pie, lemon chiffon pie and lemonade; what else can be made with them? I use them when I oven bake chicken with small potatoes. I make preserved lemons for use in Moroccan cooking and in sauces. I put the zest in shortbread cookie dough and I love lemon bars.  Recently, I found a new lemon bar recipe that is more of a lemon custard bar you cut into squares. This recipe is so simple. I followed it exactly down to the parchment paper lined baking pan; makes for easy removal of the squares after cooling.  This is a 8×8 square pan; makes 9 big squares or 12 smaller rectanges.

The custard is eggs, gf flour blend, baking powder and a whole lot of lemon juice.  Beat them up and pour on top of a lemon scented shortbread (it has lemon zest in it!) and bake a while.  Then comes the waiting; they have to chill two hours before you can cut into the pan of delicate lemony goodness.  The squares get sprinkled with sifted powdered sugar for a pretty picture of a lemon treat.  They are from Nicole Hunn’s gluten free website.  Since she doesn’t allow bloggers to share her recipes; here’s the link to her amazing lemon bars: http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/gf-lemon-bars-for-dad-plain-lemons-for-me/

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They are thicker and more custardy than typical lemon bars and a delicate delight when made using Meyer lemons.  But the recipe is for regular lemons and they make a great dessert using whatever lemons you like.  If you are a lemon lover they can’t be passed by!

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Some times you want those fancy, full of stuff kinda cookies and that is fine but occasionally a simple but delicious cookie is the way to go, like shortbread.  Dainty crisp shortbread cookies are great with a cup of tea or coffee.  I hadn’t tried them gluten free until this holiday season.  I now wonder why it took so long.

I baked my lemon cookies using Meyer lemon peel but you can use whatever lemons you buy at the grocery store.  Mine were sprinkled with a touch of green colored sugar.  Top yours as you wish or leave them plain.

No forming needed.  You glop the soft dough onto a long piece of plastic wrap, close it and roll on the table to shape.  Chill well and cut the dough into slices, onto the baking sheet and into the oven.  Simple to make and they are perfect for many festive occasions. I can’t wait to try some other variations on these shortbread cookies.

Lemon Shortbread Cookies

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

½ tsp. lemon extract

1 tsp. lemon zest

¾ cup brown rice flour mix; recipe below

1/4 cup sweet rice flour

¼ tsp.  xanthan gum

1/8 tsp. salt

Beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, add the vanilla, lemon extract, and zest and mix.

Mix flour, xanthan gum in small bowl; add to butter/sugar mix.  Mix until a soft dough is formed.

Place lumps of dough in a line along a big sheet of plastic wrap; from it into a 1 ¼ inch log of dough.  Twist ends shut, smooth into a round long by rolling it on the table top.  Chill it at least an hour; until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees, racks to center of oven.  Lightly spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray.

Slice into ½ inch rounds. Place 1 ½ inch apart on sheet, sprinkle with colored or plain sugar.  Chill in fridge 15 minutes. Bake 12-14 minutes until lightly golden. Mine all took 14-15 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet 2-3 minutes so they solidify; transfer to a cookie cooling rack.  Store in airtight cookie jar once cooled.

My recipe says the dough can be kept in the fridge for a week or in freezer for up to two months.  It made about 32 cookies. They go fast!

They are thin and delicate; if left out in the air unsealed they will get soggy and loose their crisp, delicate texture.

To make them plain leave out the lemon extract and zest and add another ½ tsp. vanilla.

Flour Mix (same as King Arthur GF blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This recipe is out of Annalise G. Robert’s great cookbook: Gluten Free Baking Classics, second edition.

This is a reposting of a recipe I shared December 2014.

Easy Quick Lemon Cupcakes

Cupcakes, who doesn’t love a sweet little cake with some homemade icing?  I tried a mix for lemon cake made by Authentic Foods. Mail order and about four bucks for a packet that makes 12 cupcakes or one layer.  I bought it when I got that imitation rye flavoring for breads; no extra handling charge for one small additional item and lemon cake mix is not that common especially gluten free. Bonus was that the mix said no GMOs and no soy.  lemon cake mix

So I made them as a lunch dessert for company visiting this weekend.  The directions give option for butter or vegetable oil. I used butter. I used 1 percent milk; directions said to use milk or cream.

The recipe mixed up very thick, like loose whipped cream. I have to wonder if I should have thinned the batter a bit.  The directions do not say what consistency the batter should have.  I filled the cupcake liners and baked the recommended time.

They looked great when they were on the cooling rack.  I made some homemade cream cheese icing.  Iced six and froze six.

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Very nice but a bit denser than I like in my cakes. I think next time I will use the vegetable oil instead of butter. The icing was my basic vanilla cream cheese icing. Delicate and complemented the lemon cupcakes nicely. indian food 004 My friends enjoyed the dessert and each gladly took a spare one home with them.  Notable because neither of them normally eats gluten free.  I will count this mix as a win especially if you love lemon flavored cake.  Buy it on line at authenticfoods.com; I don’t know any stores that carry their cake mixes. They have other flavors for sure!

Lemon Meringue Pie for Mom

This pie is old school delicious.  Yes, more pie…per my promise of a recipe a week for the whole year. This is my mom’s bastardized version of a Betty Crocker recipe and made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can more than double it if you are a sweet freak.  I have never met a man who didn’t love it, well…maybe one. My friend Russel doesn’t care for anything with lemons. But his wife Claire adores lemon so this pie is for her and my mom…(It’s Mother’s Day after all!) and my brother Christopher who often requests this pie when he is in town.

If I have them, I always use Meyer lemons for this recipe.  Your pie will have a really delicate flavor – so light I sometimes call it lemon cloud pie!  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be difficult to find Meyer lemons and pricey too.

I have never gotten my mom to admit it but I am positive she added extra egg whites to her meringue.  Her pie was towering with the white fluffy stuff unlike my nearly level pie made with just three whites.  It is up to you how impressive you want your dessert to look. But if you have company you might want to go for the big bang of a four- five egg white meringue topping for maximum wow power

My mom added the touch of corn syrup to replace some of the reduced out sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  Don’t make this pie on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity. My slice picture shows some of that beading; it started to get humid that day and my pie still tasted fantastic even with the slight beading issue.

Store any leftover pie in the fridge. It doesn’t keep more than two days but frankly none of it ever lasts more than two days.

 

Mom’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe) [King Arthur plain mix]

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Then roll it out and line a 9 inch pie pan with it.  Make sure you get the middle nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 375 for 10-12 minutes until light brown.  Let cool.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to ¾ cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

1-2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped pie.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and zest and then stir in the butter.  Let it melt as you stir.  Glug in some corn syrup. Pour the hot lemon filling into the pie crust.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature and then chill for 2-6 hours.  Slice and serve.

Meringue topping

The three egg whites (or 4-5)

¼ tsp. cream of tarter

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Beat the whites and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white.

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Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted March 2015, slightly revised for this posting.

Luscious Lemon Tart…A True Classic

 

Who doesn’t love a luscious fruit tart? But it’s the middle of winter.  What can you make that is fresh…seasonal?  2016 is my big pie year after all.  Gotta come up with something good.

How about a classic lemon tart? Lemons are in season, in fact, I have some fresh homegrown Meyer lemons my brother sent me from Texas.  And a couple off my man’s little lemon bush he grows in a pot, it is in his kitchen keeping warm for the winter.  Sweet!

Can’t think why it took me this long to make this wonderful yet very traditional lemon tart.  The recipe is fairly simple although you can’t step away from the stove while you cook the filling.  You must hang there and keep stirring or you are gonna have scrambled lemon eggs!  The crust is easy as they come; mix in mixer bowl and press into the pan, bake.  Done. Bam!

I am sure it would be just as tasty with the lemons from the grocery store but I loved being able to make a treat out of homegrown lemons.  This can’t be made with canned or bottled lemon juice; got to be fresh real lemons. I used the lesser amount of sugar and found it plenty sweet. And it is a great choice for anyone; use the crust you prefer, gluten free or not. Sure you could buy one similar to it at a bakery but this would surely wow your family when you say, “I made it myself!”

Some photos of the tart making process. I forgot to take one of the finished whole filled tart and there isn’t much left of it…so that ship has sailed… lemon tart 001

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Classic Lemon Tart

1 pre-baked cookie crust tart shell (recipe at bottom of post) baked in removable bottom round pan.

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2/3-3/4 cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 tsp. grated lemon rind

½ tsp. lemon extract

½ cup butter cut into 4 chunks.

Directions; combine lemon juice, sugar, eggs, yolks in a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat until thickened.  Stir constantly, don’t step away for even a moment.  When it thickly coats a spoon it should be done, do not let it boil.  The stirring process takes about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and add the butter chunks, stir them a few moments and add the lemon rind and extract.  Stir the filling until butter melts.  Pour into a small mixing bowl and cover the surface of the filling with plastic wrap pressed right onto it.  Refrigerate until room temperature; 10-15 minutes.

Pour filling into cooled tart shell.  Refrigerate several hours until well chilled. Remove from tart pan and slice.  Recipe is from my new favorite source: Annalise Roberts latest cookbook, GF Baking Classics, The Heirloom Collection. If you love home baking and are gluten free it is a must purchase.

I like to serve it with a healthy dollop of Stonybrook Farm’s low fat organic yogurt.  The tangy fresh flavor of this topnotch yogurt makes a perfect contrast with the sweet lemon filling.  I served it like that to my mom and she thought it was some kind of special whipped cream.  It is that rich tasting even though it is low fat.  I can’t say enough about this yogurt.  I love it on other dessert treats: guilt free and surprisingly yummy. Great to cook with and to enjoy for a snack.

Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mix

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, in 5 chunks

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

½-1 tsp. water

Mix the dry ingredients in a stand mixer, cut in the butter by mixing it at a med low speed until crumbly.  Add vanilla and mix well.  If it is really dry looking add the tsp. of water.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of your tart shell as evenly as you can make it. I suggest you spray the pan first with cooking spray and sprinkle it with rice flour. Do not press the dough in too hard or you will have a tough time digging out slices….

For this recipe I use a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.   I think any low pie pan or tart pan will work.  Bake it at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

Brown Rice Flour Mix  Identical to King Arthur’s gf blend.
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour