Rustic Meyer Lemon Cake (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free)Tilth : Creating Fertile Ground for Good Health : tilthforhealth.com
When we came to Santa Monica from Atlanta for my husband’s interview, I didn’t expect the city to feel Mediterranean. I had been to Northern and Central California but never Southern. I knew Southern California had lots of palm trees. I knew that LA had bad traffic, lots of smog, and South Central. But I had no idea that visting–and then settling in–Santa Monica would transport me back to the month I spent in Greece. Flowers bloom riotously here. It rarely rains. (LA would be the desert if it weren’t for all the irrigation.) In winter, the temperature hovers around 70 degrees during the day but, with little humidity, quickly dips into the 50s at night; I hear summer won’t be too different. The farmers’ markets (three times a week!) in Santa Monica have every imaginable delight from both winter and spring produce. We get local dates. The dwarf blood orange tree my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day is blooming and sending its heady, potent scent through our open windows. It is actually really lovely here. Perhaps I would have been more open-minded about living in California during Dan’s job search if I had realized that LA’s cliches don’t speak too much to its realities. (I mean, yes, the traffic is horrendous, but we just live near my husband’s workplace and walk or cycle the gridded streets to get places. And Santa Monica gets ocean breezes, so the smog isn’t bad here.)
Two days ago it was unseasonably warm, about 82 degrees. I was walking the dog, wearing a tanktop with the sun warming my shoulders, and enjoying the life we’re creating in Santa Monica when I decided one of my next posts should be a Meyer lemon cake. A simple cake, a bit rustic, with a tender crumb but also the crunch of cornmeal around the edges. Something that would incorporate a celebration of Mediterranean influences: olive oil, almonds, yogurt, honey, and, of course, citrus. Mmmm Meyer lemons.
You may be familiar with Meyer lemons, since they’ve grown popular in the last few years. If you’re not yet aware, a Meyer lemon is a cross between a lemon and a Mandarin orange; a USDA employee named Frank Meyer brought them to the US from Asia in the early 1900s. With a Meyer, you get some of the acidity of a lemon with some of the sweetness of an orange. I love Meyer lemons. They have a pretty short season of harvest–basically the winter months. I like it that way, because it makes me treasure them while they’re around and look forward to them the rest of the year. Sadly, in the last couple of years, Whole Foods has begun carrying New Zealand Meyer lemons in the off-US months, but I won’t buy those. If you decide to make this recipe but can’t find Meyer lemons, either oranges or regular lemons should work well in it.
This cake is not terrifically sweet, which means you’re left to focus on the other sensations it offers. It’s also not terrifically fancy. But it’s tasty and satisfying, and it’s easy to make. It’s homey in just the right away.
Rustic Meyer Lemon Cake
1/2 Cup coconut kefir (or milk alternative stirred with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar)
Juice and zest of one Meyer lemon (about 1/4 cup juice)
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup blanched almond meal
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
2 teaspoons flax seed meal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a round cake pan (preferably a springform pan), and flour it with cornmeal. (If you don’t want crunchy bits of cornmeal on the edges, flour it with another gluten-free flour.)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the kefir, lemon juice, zest, honey, agave, and olive oil. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the cornmeal, almond meal, sorghum flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, flax seed meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With a dry whisk, whisk to mix.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and stir gently with a wooden spoon or a spatula. When the batter is well-mixed and close to smooth, pour it into the prepared pan, and bake it for 25-30 minutes, until cake is lightly browned and a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, heat up the honey, lemon juice, and salt in a small saucepan on medium. When the mixture simmers, whisk it. Allow it to simmer two minutes; then turn off the heat and let the glaze cool while the cake finishes baking. After you take the cake out of the oven, brush the glaze over the cake while the cake is still hot. If you want the glaze to soak into the cake, poke holes in the cake with a toothpick before you pour the glaze over it.
It’s preferable to allow the cake to mostly or entirely cool before you release the springform sides and serve it.
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Cornmeal Cake With Lemon Glaze
Orange Cornmeal Cake
Poppyseed Crazy Cake
Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake
Lemon Beehive Cake