Friday, August 13, 2010

Glazed Lemon Cake with Grant K Gibson

The second of two posts featuring my first-ever Guest Star, San Francisco Designer and Blogger ( Mr. Grant K Gibson!

Part Two: Dessert

All you have to say to me is Glazed Lemon Cake, and suddenly it’s not the cake but my eyes that are glazed, and I find need of a tissue to mop unsightly drool. Since Grant and I have a history of sharing many slices of cake together, it seemed only natural to bake one from a classic cook book that we both grew up with: The Silver Palate Cookbook (1979). And as we got down to the business of the actual baking (between giggle fits), we noticed that both our copies of the book were seriously well-loved: splattered with food stains AND fell naturally open to the page with this cake recipe on it!

Grant says he isn’t fond of baking, because he prefers not to measure and he likes to work “loosely” from recipes, while I, on the other hand, love the science and the precision of baking. So our team consisted of him winging it while I drank a cocktail and yelled at him to measure more carefully. Fortunately for us we weren’t making a soufflĂ©, because I fear all the commotion and hilarity in the kitchen would have precluded the effective rising required for that project. This cake is way easier to bake than any soufflĂ©, and probably about a million times yummier. If you love lemon, or even just SUGAR, this cake will delight you. I ate no less than THREE slices that very evening!

Glazed Lemon Cake

½ pound (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 cups unbleached, all purpose flour, sifted
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tightly packed Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Lemon Icing (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Bean in eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add lemon zest and juice.
4. Pour batter into prepared tube pan. Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
5. Cool cake in the pan, set on a rack, for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and spread on icing at once, while cake is still hot.

Lemon Icing

1 pound confectioners’ sugar
8 Tbsp (1 stick) sweet butter, softened
3 tightly packed Tbsp grated lemon zest
½ cup fresh lemon juice

Cream sugar and butter thoroughly. Mix in lemon zest and juice; spread on warm cake.

Tarte Saint-Germain - with Grant K Gibson

For my first ever Carried-Away Guest Spot, I turned to a dear friend of mine, (and fellow blogger:, designer Grant K Gibson - because he is always in his kitchen cooking up a storm, AND I knew we both grew up with The Silver Palate Cookbook (1979). Oh, and I knew he’d fix me a cocktail and do most of the cooking himself, so how could I loose?

Part One: Dinner.

I actually suggested we skip dinner entirely and simply have cake and cocktails, but after we tasted, and each ate not one but TWO huge slices of this concoction, I was glad Grant insisted we start with the Tarte Saint-Germain. “The lowly leek is the star in this glamorous tart,” advise the authors, and I am with them in spirit, because the treatment really is a win for leeks, but don’t be fooled: there are FOUR Tablespoons of butter working here, too!

Grant had already made the shell, so really, all I had to do was help stir a bit, leaving the other hand free to photograph our efforts in Grant’s chic black-and-white kitchen. And once the leek mixture was cooked, it just got dumped into the shell and baked – couldn’t be easier. No wonder quiche became such a “thing” in the 80s, though “Real Men” everywhere (like my father) swore they wouldn’t eat it. Neither of us was concerned about that, so Grant and I gobbled it up. We did, however, save room for dessert…

Tarte Saint-Germain

4 Tbsp sweet butter
6 leeks, trimmed, well washed and thinly sliced
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup light cream
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 9-inch shell of Pate Brisee, partially baked
½ cup grated Gruyere cheese

1. Melt the butter in a skillet. Add sliced leeks and cook, covered, over low heat for about 30 minutes, or until leeks are tender and lightly colored. Stir frequently or leeks may scorch. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
2. Whisk eggs, yolks, and light and heavy cream together in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add a grating of nutmeg, if you like.
3. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
4. Spoon cooled leek mixture into partially baked tart shell. Add cream and egg mixture to fill the tart to within ½ inch of the top. Sprinkle the Gruyere evenly over the tart.
5. Set the tart on the middle level of the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until top is well browned and filling is completely set.
6. Cool for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm.