So, if I was a better person, I would have posted this before Memorial Day. It's pretty much fantabulous--moist and lemon-y with a sugar sprinkle on top that sort of hardens on the frosting to create a lemon-sugar shell. I made this cake for last month's book club. We discussed favorite fairy tales. Mine was Little Red Riding Hood. Turns out that in the original Grimm tale, Red takes Grandma cake. That worked for me.
In addition to being fantabulous, this cake is nice and simple. In their way, sheet cakes are almost dangerous. I mean, I know I'm not going to go make a three-layer cake every weekend, but this--this you could churn out on any old Thursday. I'm not sure we--who according to the internet are thoroughly obsessed with our bikini bodies--should delve into such dangerous waters. And yet. Something like this would be perfect for any picnic or potluck or Sunday dinner. It's not too heavy or embarrassingly intense while still being--you know--kind of divine.
Alright--I'm going to admit that I did some shadowing in these pictures to hide a scratch/blemish that was on the center of that plate and kept showing up. Sorry--don't they look heaven blessed in this light though.
Lemon Buttermilk Sheet Cake
adapted from Frankly Entertaining
Makes one 9x13 inch sheet cake
Cost: $2.90 (that's about $.12/piece if you cut 24 pieces)
flour: .30, buttermilk: .25, lemons: .75, sugar: .25, butter: .40, eggs: .40, confectioner's sugar: .45, other stuff: .10
2 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C buttermilk (or 2 tsp vinegar and a scant 3/4 C milk mixed together)
3 Tbsp grated lemon zest and 1/4 C juice (2 large lemons or 3 normal ones)
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 C sugar
12 Tbsp butter, softened
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
3 C confectioner's sugar
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp buttermilk
For the cake:
Preheat to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl.
Combine buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla in smaller bowl.
In large bowl, beat granulated sugar and lemon zest until moist, fragrant, and yellowish. Transfer 1/4 C of this mixture to a small bowl, cover, and reserve. Don't forget this step.
Add butter to remaining sugar/zest mixture and beat until light and fluffy. Then beat in eggs and yolk (one at a time preferably) until incorporated.
Now add 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half the buttermilk mixture, then flour mixture, then buttermilk mixture, then flour mixture. Mix until smooth.
Put batter in pan and even it out. bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean--25-35 minutes. (My husband did this step because I had to go somewhere and everything still turned out okay.) Cool cake for about ten minutes.
For the glaze:
While the cake cools, whisk confectioner's sugar, lemon juice, and buttermilk until smooth. Spread it over the warm cake.
Now let it cool a little more. When it's still a little warm, but not hot, sprinkle the reserved sugar/lemon mixture on top of this. In this way the sugar doesn't melt into the cake/glaze completely, but it does form this little sort of crunchy shell that is just fabulous. This is what it will look like:
Let cake cool completely.