December 11, 2013

The Maine Ingredient: Nana’s cake a gift meant to be shared

Lemon Prune Cake with lemon butter sauce abounds with goodness as a brunch dish or a holiday dessert.

I’ve been thinking about and planning my holiday baking – dreaming and scheming really – but either way, sweet and delicious things are on my mind.

The cookie baking day is already scheduled and I’m wondering about my old favorites as well as a few new recipes I’d like to try. The citrus we ordered from our daughter’s school fundraiser will be here shortly and I’ll have all kinds of thing to make with oranges and grapefruit.

All of this imagining got me remembering other holiday baked goods and how much my Nana loved fruit cake, which is one of those things that I wanted to love because she loved it so much, but really, that was never going to happen. But her lemon cake – now that was a dessert to relish. She served it with what she called a lemon butter sauce and I could have eaten the sauce itself by the spoonful if she would have let me. Of course she never did. Sigh.

In any case, Nana loved to entertain and spent lots of time in her kitchen draped in a cotton, gingham-print apron with brick-a-brack on the edges. She had a few favorites and so did I. Occasionally she would let me stir and mix with her and occasionally I did it right. What can I say, I was really young when we had kitchen time together and mostly I just wanted to play in the flour and mostly she just wanted to finish the cake.

This cake could easily be a breakfast/brunch dish as well as a holiday dessert. It’s a moist one because of the prunes, so would also make a good gift. Either way you choose to serve it, this recipe from my Nana is my gift to you all this season. While you won’t have the memories of her that I cherish, you will make your own memories with her special food.

Lemon Prune Cake with Nana’s Lemon Butter Sauce

3 cups all-purpose flour

11/2 teaspoons salt

11/2 teaspoons baking powder

21/2 cups sugar

11/4 cups milk

3 large eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

Zest from one lemon

1/4 cup lemon juice (juice from about 1 lemon)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons lemon extract

1 cup diced prunes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Make a well in the center and add the remaining ingredients. Stir until just well mixed. Pour into prepared cake pan using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Bake until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the middle and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan before serving either warm or room temperature with Nana’s Lemon Butter Sauce.

Serves 12.

Lemon Butter Sauce

2 egg yolks

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter (51/3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon grated

lemon rind

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/3 cup heavy cream, whipped

In a medium double boiler heat egg yolks until they lighten in color, whisking fairly consistently.

Gradually add sugar, continuing to heat and whisk.

Remove from heat and add butter, lemon rind and juice. Fold in whipped cream.

Chill and serve on top of warm cake.

Makes enough to serve with cake plus extra – have a spoon ready.

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of “At Home, At Sea.” She can be reached at:chefannie@mainewindjammer.com
Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)




 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs