Roughly 80% of my days here in California have been rainy ones. Maybe 73%. 70-80 percent, probably. Definitely. I mean, those are made up percentages, but whatever, it’s been rainy. What’s going on, California? Meanwhile, my old love, New York City, has been taunting us with sun-filled, 70 degree days. It’s officially spring now, so let’s get our act together, California, okay? Okay.
Spring it may be, but only just. At the markets, the steadfast winter jewels are hanging on tight — kale, Brussels sprouts, apples, citrus. They haven’t yet made way for asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries and peas. I don’t really mind, because of the Meyer lemons.
Meyer lemons are thin-skinned, bright and gorgeous, especially here, where they’re grown in my neighbors’ backyards. They’re sweeter and more floral than regular lemons, since they’re actually a cross between a Eureka or Lisbon lemon and a mandarin orange. (It’s true, I Googled it).
I’m planning to wait out the rain, and to wait for the strawberries. Until then, we have Meyer lemons, and that’s okay with me.
Meyer Lemon Almond Loaf Cake
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon fresh meyer lemon juice (from about 1/2 a lemon)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated meyer lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 – 2 tablespoons sliced, blanched almonds, for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour one loaf pan, and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Butter and flour the parchment, too.
Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, whisking to fully incorporate. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, zest, and almond extract until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk gently until the batter comes together (do not over mix – a few small lumps are okay). Fold the vegetable oil into the batter with a rubber spatula, until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle a few sliced almonds on top (I like to leave the center of the cake almond-free, to make room for that deliciously rustic loaf cake crack). Bake the cake until well-risen and golden brown — a cake tester should come out completely clean — about 50 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Wrap well if not enjoying immediately.
Makes 1 loaf cake.