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Italian Lemon Cake

This Italian lemon pound cake is a recipe that I'd had my eye on for a long time. I finally made it back in April! I skipped adding frosting but if you visit the original recipe it'll tell you how to make it. The glaze needed a lot more lemon juice than the recipe called for. I used 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and it was still very thick. The cake itself isn’t very lemony so you really do need either the glaze or the frosting to bring the lemon flavour to this recipe. I'm not complaining though, it was still really delicious! Italian Lemon Cake Adapted from My Recipe Confessions Makes 1 Cake Ingredients For the Cake 3 cups all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter, softened 2 cups sugar 3 large eggs 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup sour cream 4 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons lemon zest 1 teaspoon vanilla For the Glaze 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar 5+ tablespoons lemon juice Directions Preheat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour a bundt or cake p

Tsoureki - Greek Easter Bread

The third bread recipe I made in preparation for Easter was Tsoureki. If you're going to freeze it, bake it without the egg.

The red egg (in case you were wondering) represents the blood of Christ. Okay, so mine turned out pink because red liquid food colouring is crappy, but you can purchase good quality red dyes if you want to make your eggs really red.

Like my hot cross buns, the Tsoureki recipe called for nuts (this time on top) but I didn't have any. Once you add the glaze, add the sliced almonds on top before continuing to bake. Our friend Pavlina sprinkles her Easter bread with sesame seeds and bakes it in a loaf pan. I sampled hers over the weekend and I do like the flavour the seeds add.

One other thing I did was to use blood orange instead of a regular orange. Use what you've got.

The glaze from the original recipe wasn't enough to coat both of my loaves so I had to double it. I may have let it thicken more than I was supposed to.

No zester? No problem! Peel the rind off with a vegetable peeler and chop it with a knife. You get bigger chunks this way and more flavour (in my opinion).

Here's the finished bread.
  
You can see the beautiful flecks of orange.

Tsoureki - Greek Easter Bread
Makes 1 large loaf or 2 medium ones

Ingredients
For the Bread
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 blood orange (save the juice)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 2 eggs, wash them
For the Glaze
  • 6 tablespoons blood orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2/3 cup sliced almonds (which I forgot)
Directions
  1. In a small pot, bring milk, vanilla and butter to a boil just to melt butter. Set aside and cool to room lukewarm.
  2. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of the flour with orange zest and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir in the yeast then add the lukewarm milk. Set aside for 20 minutes until frothy.
  3. Add the other 4 cups of flour, the remaining sugar, 3 tablespoons orange juice and eggs. Mix to form a ball then turn out onto a floured counter and kneed for 5 minutes.
  4. Place in a bowl and top with oiled plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  5. Punch the dough down and divide in half. Divide each half into 3 pieces and braid them tucking the ends under. Or make up your own design. I did one braid and one twisty type loaf that looked like it was hugging the egg. Press the egg (dyed red but uncooked - it will cook during baking) into the bread then cover again with oiled plastic wrap and set aside to rise for about 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 375F. Remove plastic from bread and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the glaze.
  7. Place 6 tablespoons orange juice and 4 tablespoons sugar in a pot over medium heat. It'll bubble and thicken a bit. Remove the bread from the oven after 20 minutes then brush the glaze on. Sprinkle with almonds if using then return the bread to the oven for another 20 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped.
  8. Cool on wire racks. Serve as is or with butter and jam.
Tips:
  • If your orange doesn't provide enough juice (and it probably won't), squeeze another half an orange. That should do it.

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