September 26, 2010
Lemon Creme Fraiche Cake
If you want to taste the most luscious, decadent, moist cake that is just SCREAMING with tangy and sweet lemon flavor, make this cake NOW. Seriously, rush to your store and get the ingredients (although you probably have most of them already), drop everything, and get to baking. This cake is **THAT** good. It's better than good; it's AMAZING and will blow your taste buds out of this world.
It's easy to make for the most part, with probably the most difficult part being the creaming and mixing. A note about the ingredients. Make sure you use cake flour for this recipe, not the regular kind. Cake flour is specifically meant for making cakes lighter, softer, and fluffier. If you refuse to buy it, or just can't for whatever reason, you can substitute a combination of 1 3/4 cups regular flour and 1/4 cornstarch (you'll have some leftover since the recipe only calls for 1 1/4 cups).
For the creme fraiche, just get some! I'm not sure what an adequate substitute would be for it. This was my first time trying it, and its taste and texture is sort of a cross between sour cream and heavy cream. Simply put, the stuff is heavenly. I'd use this as a topping for fruit, waffles or pancakes, anything chocolate...but I digress.
Make sure you don't overbake this cake. The recipe suggests 40-45 minutes, and mine was perfect at exactly 40. Of course I panicked slightly upon opening the oven door, as I saw a dry-looking brown cake top staring back at me. I was worried I'd screwed up, but an inserted toothpick showed perfect doneness, and the aroma was absolutely delicious.
After all this hype I've given, it's going to be VERY hard for you to let the cake cool completely before eating it. Good luck with that...but just remember, you still have to glaze it! And the sweet, lemony glaze just increases the amazingness. You won't exactly drizzle the glaze as the recipe suggests; I'd say just pour the whole amount on top, and thinly and evenly spread it out to the sides. Once it hardens (yes, you have to wait even longer to eat), it becomes a thin, translucent, lightly crunchy coating that is absolutely perfect.
So now you're finally ready for a slice. Try not to eat the whole thing! The cake has a ridiculously amazing texture: pillow-soft, light as air, and literally melting in your mouth. Amen to cake flour. And even though it's so light, it's incredibly rich and moist. Amen to butter. The lemon flavor is so pronounced and mouthwatering...but perhaps the most important element of this cake is the creme fraiche. The rich flavor of fresh cream really comes through, and it's such an amazing combination with the lemon. I would imagine cream in any baked good lends a superb finished product, but this one really takes the cake.
Make again? Helllll yeah! I've already had multiple requests!
Vegan variation: Use a vegan butter, egg replacer, and either soy sour cream or creamer (or a combination of the two) as a creme fraiche substitute. You may need to do a bit of experimenting. Good luck!
Lemon Creme Fraiche Cake
O, The Oprah Magazine, November 2003