Glazed Meyer Lemon Nut Cake

It's citrus season! At the grocery store tonight, I went a little crazy throwing blood oranges and Meyer Lemons into my basket, giddy with the possibilities. The scent of the fruit tickled my nose the entire subway ride home.

If you're not familiar with the Meyer Lemon, you need to stop reading and head to your nearest grocery store right now. Larger, rounder, and with a slightly more orange hue than the conventional lemon, the Meyer Lemon originated in China, where it's believed to have derived from the Mandarin orange. The skin of the Meyer is thinner, making for a softer and juicier fruit, but what stands out above all is its enticing fragrance. It's a sweet, citrus smell with earthy undertones; I've always thought it resembled a blend of oranges and Christmas trees.

Much sweeter than the regular lemon, Meyers are ideal for use in desserts. I'm planning to whip up a Meyer Lemon ice cream at some point in the next couple days, but I couldn't resist playing around with it tonight. While at the store I also picked up a bag of ground almond meal and happened to come across some organic coconut flour. While I've read quite a bit about coconut flour, I'd never actually seen it at the store before. In fact, the only reason I found it today is because I dropped something and so happened to look into that last shelf. There were piles of coconut flour bags and only two dollars each (much more economical than the 14 dollar almond meal). I grabbed a couple, with the intent to experiment with it this weekend.

On the train home I started thinking about the torte I made last night. I decided to use the same basic recipe, replacing the cocoa powder with coconut flour and exchanging a half cup of Meyer lemon juice for the water. A little lemon rind for color and additional flavor, and presto! Torta di Limone!

The cake that came out of the oven was lovely and moist, but not quite as fluffy as the chocolate torte. I was pleased with the golden color of the crust, but still felt it needed a little extra something. I decided on a glaze, borrowing Peabody's recipe from her gorgeous post about Meyer Lemon Madeleines.

I made a tiny version for tasting purposes and am still on the fence about it. I think the problem is with the hazelnuts. While fantastic with cocoa, they feel a bit too overpowering in this recipe. I want the lemons to be the main event here, but right now they're getting lost beneath the strong hazelnut flavor. I was tempted to try again using almond meal, but it was already so late that I resisted. (I don't sleep much as is, and baking three cakes in one night is definitely pushing it.)

Take two will have to wait for tomorrow. I'm not going to post the recipe yet as I still need to tweak it. I think I'll bring the cake into work tomorrow to see what people think and then go from there...

UPDATE: From the LA Times, 100 Things to do with Meyer Lemons

Also coming up in the next couple days:
  • Blood Oranges in Italy!
  • My answer to a reader question about buying and preparing fish...
  • And a special recipe from a secret Guest blogger!
Stay tuned!
**And for those of you on Facebook:
Join the Always Order Dessert Facebook group! (Note that you must be logged into your account to see the page)

13 comments:

  1. Rob@ I Love SubstanceJanuary 17, 2008 at 4:03 AM

    So what is the update with your book now that you are back blogging?

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  2. I'm moving into your apartment!

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  3. Rob: The answer to that is that I don't really sleep much. ;)

    Actually, I've been hard at work at both, and find that one fuels the other. Now if I could only figure out a way to stop time, that would be brilliant...

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  4. Oh and Pri, I'll set up a cot for you in my library... ;)

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  5. A sweeter, oranger lemon, you say? This may change my stance on the normally crappy fruit.

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  6. You Must! The Meyer Lemon is incredible...try bits of the rind shaved over parmesan risotto or plain pasta with a little bit of olive oil. Or make Meyer Lemonade! Or Meyer lemon chicken. The options are endless...

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  7. Hi Alejandra.
    Loved your blog. I run a related blog called Wine for Newbies (www.winefornewbies.com) and I added your blog to my list of links.

    Keep up the wonderful work!

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  8. i cannot wait to hear what you have to say about buying and preparing fish. i have access to all sorts of great fish from the market near my house, and i made a resolution to actually learn how to start cooking it. (rather than staring longingly as i walk past, usually in the direction of the only place i can find a decent bagel around here).

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  9. Meyer lemons are still one of the things that I haven't yet tasted or worked with. Never found them in Hawaii and certainly not where I live now. :sighs in resignation: Blood oranges though are another matter entirely. Little old sicilian guys with crates of oranges park their trucks and little Piaggios in the parking lot, but they will be hard pressed to sell you anything less than a whole crate!

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  10. Love that you posted about meyer lemons!! I have four in my fridge, and I was just about to pry myself from the computer and make dinner, perhaps something with a lemon caper sauce?

    Thanks for the link!

    btw, congrats on you flurry of blogger productivity. It's so exciting.

    Best,
    Paula

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  11. OMG this looks absolutely fabulous. I want to eat my computer screen (does that sound gross? oh well)...

    I'm intrigued by the meyer lemons. Any suggestions for finding one in the midst of Manhattan? Or are they easier to find than one might think?

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  12. They're very easy to find! Check out the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle; they have them on a table along with a bunch of other random fruits and vegetables (Yuca, pomegranates, kiwi: I saw no connecting thread amongs the selections actually...). They're clearly labeled as such, but you could also just ask the produce guy to help you find them.

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  13. WOW! Um...can i just have a key to your place?
    I'm a good eater.

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