(Adapted from Mamma Agata’s cookbook)
This unusual lemon cake needs good quality fresh lemons, like those that grow on the Amalfi Coast. Make sure you use organic lemons for the zest.
- 8 oz. butter (225 grams)
- 1 1/3 cups sugar (300 grams)
- 4 eggs
- Grated zest of 2 large organic lemons
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 2 1/3 cups cake flour (300 grams “00” flour)
- 1 TB + 1 tsp baking powder (16 grams)
- ½ cup milk (125 ml)
- ¼ cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or almonds (50 grams)
- 1 TB butter for greasing pan
- Lemonade Mixture:
- 1 1/3 cups water (300 gr)
- Juice of 3 large lemons
- ½ cup sugar (100 grams)
Pre-heat the oven to 320° F (160° C). Grease & flour a bundt pan or tube pan and set aside. Sift the flour with the baking powder and set aside. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the salt and lemon zest.
Alternate adding and blending in the mixing bowl 3 times, the flour & baking powder mixture and milk. Mix the batter on medium speed until it has a light, airy consistency, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Don’t overbeat. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and make it as level as possible with a rubber spatula.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes (at 320° F, or 160° C). Do NOT open the door or the cake may fall! When the cake is done, let it cool in its pan for 2 hours.
While the cake is baking, prepare the lemonade mixture: Squeeze the lemons into a small pitcher. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add water (you should have a little over 2 cups of “lemonade.”) Invert the cake onto a cake plate, then immediately return it to the baking pan. (If the cake will not come out of the pan, warm it in the oven for a few minutes, then invert and return to pan). This step is necessary to make sure the cake doesn’t stick during the crucial last step!
Adding the lemonade: It is important that the lemonade mixture be added gradually so that the cake absorbs the liquid in a uniform manner. Over the next half hour, pour or spoon ¼ of the lemonade mixture onto the cake (that is still in its pan), 3 times, waiting 10 minutes in between each dousing. You should now have ¼ of the mixture left. After waiting another 10 minutes to make sure that the lemonade has been absorbed, reverse the cake onto the serving plate. Pour or spoon the rest of the lemonade mixture over the cake. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top of the cake. Learn to cook this and other dishes on the Amalfi Coast.