Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lemon Thyme Cake

I made these cakes for a ladies group I spoke at about using herbs in cooking. Most of the women in the group were fairly familiar with cooking with herbs like thyme, but very few had ever used any herb, other than mint, in baking. Thyme is from the mint family and has a slightly minty, lightly lemony flavor which makes it perfect to use in baking. Thyme pairs perfectly with this lemony cake. I added thyme to the cake batter. After the cakes were baked I poked holes into them with a skewer and topped them with a lemon thyme syrup. The syrup adds even more lemon thyme flavor. Poking holes into the cake allows the syrup to get all the way into the cake and keeps it extremely moist. In fact, these cakes seem to taste better the longer they sits. If you've never tried baking with herbs, this cake is a great place to start!

Lemon Thyme Cake
Source: Martha Stewart (adapted)
Yields: 2 loaf cakes or one bundt cake
Printable Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
Zest of 2 lemons, finely grated
1 tablespoon fresh thyme,chopped, (if the center stem of the thyme is tough, pick the leaves off and discard the stem).
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs

Lemon Thyme Syrup 
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon, finely grated
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter and flour or spray with cooking spray, two 4 1/2-by-8-inch (6-cup) loaf pans.
Make the syrup:
In a small pot, stir together the lemon juice, zest, sugar, and thyme. Heat the mixture on medium for about 10 minutes, until the sugar is dissolves and the liquid is clear. Take off the heat, cover and set aside while you prepare the cake.
For the cake:
In a a 2 cup liquid measuring cup,combine buttermilk with lemon juice and fresh thyme. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a separate bowl mix lemon zest and sugar together. Rub the sugar together with the zest until the sugar is slightly damp. 
With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar/zest until light and fluffy about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three parts alternately with the buttermilk mixture in two, beginning and ending with flour; beat just until smooth (do not overmix).
Divide batter evenly between pans; smooth tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if browning too quickly). Cool 15 minutes in pan. Turn out cakes onto a rack; cool for about 20 minutes before glazing with the syrup.
Set rack with cakes over a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Poke holes in the cakes over the top with a skewer or a thin knife. Pour the syrup over cakes, letting it run down the sides; let dry, about 30 minutes.

I also want to congratulate Kerry S. on winning our Woodland Fairy giveaway!! Our fairy party was also featured on two wonderful blogs last week. Woohoo! 
Check out our feature on Happy Hour Project and Kate from A Creative Cookie picked our party to be featured on Sugar Bee Crafts! Thanks ladies, I am honored!


Stephanie said...

This cake is speaking to me! Not only am I going to make it, I'm even going to use the lemon and lime thyme I've got growing in my back yard. (Thyme is really great in biscuits too).

grace said...

i like thyme so much in savory applications, so i don't see why i wouldn't enjoy it (in moderation) in something sweet as well. lovely looking cake!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder of the recipe in 2012 recap. I intend to try it today, with Basil instead of Thyme. I suppose it would taste nice in this version too. Will report later...