April 8, 2018

Maida Heatter's East 62nd Street Lemon Cake


Call it strange but in all my years of baking I'm pretty sure this is the first recipe I've ever made from Maida Heatter.  Who is Maida Heatter?  She's sometimes referred to as the "Queen of Desserts" and is the author of countless baking and dessert cookbooks.  This specific recipe, one of her most famous, caught my attention recently when it was published in the New York Times.  

It was the cake's name that really intrigued me.  It was Maida's daughter who had originally found the recipe and sent it to her mother.  In homage, Maida named the cake after the Upper East Side street where her daughter lived.  Kind of cool, huh?


What I love about this recipe is that it calls for some really basic ingredients that everyone has in their kitchen at any given time.  No fuss, no muss.  The finished cake is really delicious with a tender and moist crumb.

If you're going to use an intricate bundt pan I highly recommend greasing it liberally to ensure the cake releases completely.  I tend to use a lot of butter-flavored Crisco followed by a list dusting of flour.   My cake came out of the pan like a dream with the beautiful pattern completely intact.


East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

Cake
3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup milk
finely grated rind of 2 lemons

Glaze
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. 

You need a 9" x 4 12" tube pan or Bundt pan. It should have a 12-cup capacity. Butter the pan and then dust it all lightly with flour.  Set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary with a rubber spatula. (The mixture might look curdled—it's okay.) On lowest speed, add the dry ingredients alternately in three additions, with the milk in two additions, beating only until incorporated after each addition.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the lemon rind. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Level the top of the batter by rotating the pan briskly.

Bake for 1 hour and 5 to 10 minutes, until a cake tester (a toothpick will work) comes out clean. Let the cake stand in the pan for 5 minutes and then cover with a rack and invert. Lift pan from cake, leaving the cake upside down. Place rack over a large piece of foil or wax paper and prepare the glaze.

To make the glaze, mix the lemon juice with the sugar and brush all over the hot cake. The cake will absorb it. Let cool completely and then transfer to a cake plate. It is best to wait a few hours before cutting the cake.

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