Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lemon Scented Cake & Farm Fresh Strawberry Sorbet

About two weekends ago, my husband and I went to a local farm for their annual Strawberry Festival. I am ashamed to say this, but we had no idea that this farm existed; not to mention that they are located basically around the corner from where we live. I was so giddy when I found out that they have an old-fashioned country farm market.

Yes! Local tomatoes, peas, corn… Not to mention that you can buy plants and flowers directly from their greenhouse. Geez! Where have I been for 8 years of living in this area?

I couldn't wait to start picking strawberries. As we were picking, my mind started racing… Oh gosh; “pavlova, sorbet, ice cream, jam, strawberry charlotte” I said to my husband as each strawberry collected into our basket. What to do, what to do. What will I do with these beauties?

I was in awe of the bounty and beauty of these strawberries. With so many things I wanted to make, I just couldn’t decide. Honestly, I just wanted to eat them all before I got home. So, I took to the twitter world for ideas. I had lovely advice from a twitter buddy from Cape Town, South Africa; “I think because they are so fresh, to keep it simple,” she said and that is just what I did.     

I made a simple lemon cake to be served with fresh strawberries, but because we had a horrific heat wave; I decided to make sorbet. 

The lemony goodness of the cake with the sweetness of the strawberry sorbet danced together perfectly. I also serve this cake with macerated strawberries.  

Lemon Scented Cake

Lemon Sugar
3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
Zest of 1 Lemon

In a small bowl, add sugar and lemon zest. With your finger tips, rub the two ingredients together until moist (the zest will release its essential oils into the sugar) and fragrant. Set sugar mixture aside.

6 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Lemon Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 large Egg
1/2 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, fresh

Pre-heat oven  to 350°F. Grease a 8" cake pan with butter. 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.  

In the bowl of your electric mixer, add butter and lemon sugar. Mix on medium-high with a paddle attachment until pale and fluffy (about 3 - 4 minutes). Reduce speed; add egg, milk and lemon juice; mix until combined.

Gradually mix in the flour mixture until combined. Transfer batter to prepared cake pan. Bake until cake is pale golden and firm to the touch (about 15 - 20 minutes, depending on your oven). Let the cake cool completely.

Farm Picked Strawberry Sorbet      

Simple Syrup 
2 cups Sugar 
2 cups Water

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer until sugar dissolves, about 3 - 4 minutes. Allow the syrup to cool and keep refrigerated until ready to use. 

Strawberry Puree
1 quart Fresh Strawberries, cleaned, stems removed and quartered
1 teaspoon Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

Combine the strawberries and lemon juice in a food processor or a blender. Pulse for about 3 - 4 minutes, then process until the strawberries are completely pureed, about 1 - 2 minutes. If you desire, press the strawberries through a strainer to remove the seed. I actually like the seeds, so I do not stain the puree.

1 1/2 cups Strawberry Puree
1/4 cup Simple Syrup*
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice, fresh
splash of Vodka
pinch of Salt

In a medium bowl, stir in simple syrup, strawberry puree, zest, lemon juice and vodka together. Chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's instructions. 

*You can add more simple syrup to your liking. These strawberries were sweet on their own. 
I used a 2" cookie cutter to cut the cake. You can also use mini round cake pans. Perfect for individual desserts. 
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