When a good friend gifts you a few late-harvest Meyer lemons from her backyard tree that have ballooned into the size of oranges, you know you need to do something special with them.
Not just halved and squirted over fish on the grill. Not just sliced to garnish glasses of iced tea. And not merely juiced to make mundane lemonade.
Nope, these babies were made for “Meyer Lemon Tea Cakes with Pomegranate Glaze.”
This easy-breezy recipe for individual cakes is from “Sweet” (Artisan, 2013) by Pastry Chef Valerie Gordon.
She owns one of my favorite bakeries in Los Angeles, Valerie’s Confections, which I always make a point of visiting whenever I’m in town just so I can snag a slice of her impeccable rendition of the iconic Blum’s coffee crunch cake.
For this recipe, Meyer lemon juice and zest are incorporated into this cake batter, along with creme fraiche (I actually used plain yogurt instead) for tang and moistness. The batter gets distributed amongst large muffin cups that are buttered but not lined.
Once they are baked and cooled, turn the cakes upside down to dunk the flat sides into a glaze flavored with Meyer lemon juice and pomegranate juice. You are left with precious little cakes simply too cute to resist.
Blum’s coffee crunch cake — it’s not nearly as hard to make as you might think.
If you grew up way back when in San Francisco like me, no doubt you grew up obsessed with Blum’s coffee crunch cake.
This neighborhood bakery was famed for this airy two-layer cake slathered inside and out with swirls of coffee whipped cream. The piece de resistance? The shellacking of crunchy toffee pieces all over it.
It was the cake families bought for birthdays, and all manner of other celebrations. Mine certainly did. That cake was always front and center for my birthday, as well as my two brothers’.
The secret was that you had to eat as much of it as you could that very first day. Because once refrigerated overnight, the toffee pieces turned soft and soggy, and not nearly as appealing. So I cop to always cutting myself a rather gargantuan piece as a child. It’s a wonder my parents let me get away with that, let alone eating a coffee-laced product at that age, when they’d never let a brewed cup itself pass my lips.
Thank goodness they did, too, because that cake remains an iconic part of my childhood. Just the thought of it is enough to make me smile big-time.