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I used to have an aversion to lemon desserts.  Lemon meringue pie? No thank you.  Lemon bars?  Don’t tease me with that powdered sugar topping.  Lemon cake? Eh.  Truthfully, I have an initial reaction to any dessert lacking chocolate that involves a little bit of apprehension.  Even though I adore ice cream, plain vanilla will provokes the same reaction.  It better be REALLY good if there is no chocolate involved.  Warm fruit desserts and anything involving peanut butter generally passes the test, but it isn’t easy.

So when my in-laws raved about Del Frisco’s Lemon Cake a couple of years ago, I kind of smiled and nodded.  First of all, restaurant desserts in general are almost never as good as you think they will be.  And it is lemon cake!  Really, what would even be the point?  But through it all, I am a dessert lover and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give the cake a chance.  So when I found myself with them at Del Frisco’s and everyone insisted on ordering Lemon Cake, I suggested we also order the chocolate banana bread pudding (um, yum!), but was willing to give this infamous dessert a try.  That was the Lemon Cake that turned me around.

sliced 4

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like lemon meringue pie or lemon bars, but a rich moist cake with a very light lemon flavor is actually refreshing without being over the top.  So when the husband requested a lemon dessert last weekend, I willingly made my first ever Lemon Cake.

This is actually a simple Lemon Pound Cake that is very easy and comes out extremely moist and flavorful.  If I were to serve it at a dinner party, I’d make a glaze or top it with fresh whipped cream and berries.  Don’t worry, there would be some sort of chocolate alternative as well.

To begin, whisk your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt), and set aside

whisking dry ingred

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter on high speed for several minutes until mixture is light and creamy

creamed butter and cream cheese

Use a microplane to lightly grate  the skin of a lemon

lemon and microplane

Be careful not to scrape too deep, the white of the skin is more bitter

lemon zest

On high speed, beat the lemon zest and greek yogurt into butter and cream cheese mixture for about a minute

adding lemon zest and yogurt

Add sugar and beat on high speed until batter is smooth and creamy

adding sugar

Now add the eggs, one at a time, putting the mixer on high for about a minute or two between each

adding eggs

Add in the vanilla on high speed for a minute; scrape the sides of the bowl and turn mixer on high again until well combined

adding vanilla

Reduce speed to low and gradually add in your dry ingredients

mixing in dry ingred

Before it is fully combined, remove bowl from mixer and lightly fold batter to get all of the dry ingredients mixed in; this will prevent overbeating and a cake with the density of a rock

folding in remaining dry

Pour batter into a 9×5 loaf pan

batter in pan

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean

baked 2

Lighter Lemon Pound Cake

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 8-ounce block of low fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup fat free plain greek yogurt

1 TB fresh lemon zest (about 1 lemon’s worth)

1 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs brought to room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt), and set aside

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter on high speed for several minutes until mixture is light and creamy

Use a microplane to lightly grate  the skin of a lemon

On high speed, beat the lemon zest and greek yogurt into butter and cream cheese mixture for about a minute

Add sugar and beat on high speed until batter is smooth and creamy

Add the eggs, one at a time, putting the mixer on high for about a minute or two between each

Add in the vanilla on high speed for a minute; scrape the sides of the bowl and turn mixer on high again until well combined

Reduce speed to low and gradually add in dry ingredients

Before batter is fully combined, remove bowl from mixer and lightly fold batter to get all of the dry ingredients mixed in

Pour batter into a 9×5 loaf pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean

sliced 3

Sidenote:  We actually had our rehearsal dinner at Del Frisco’s!  No lemon cake for me that night, I was too excited to eat (and let me tell you, that never happens).

How do you feel about lemon desserts?

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