One of my favorite things to do when it’s warm out is to make my house even warmer by turning the oven on and baking things. I know it doesn’t make that much sense, but I get some satisfaction from sweating in the kitchen on a hot, lazy summer day.
Today’s baking project came from a cook book my dad found to use on his summer book display at the Oak Harbor Library, called Home Made Summer, by Yvette Van Boven. I fell in love with it immediately because of the beautiful photography and Provence inspired summer dishes.
Since I didn’t have the ingredients nor the stamina to try one of the more difficult recipes such as the pink marscapone macarons or the lavender éclairs, I decided on the Summery Cake with Lemongrass Syrup. I have a thing for lemon flavored cakes. (I also once wrote a Lemon Cake Sonnet, but it’s too embarrassingly terrible for me to post. Definitely not a poet.)
Since my local grocery store does not carry fresh lemongrass–which is the key ingredient in the lemongrass syrup poured over the cake–I decided instead to make a lemon zest and ginger syrup, the idea of which was inspired from David Lebovitz’s Ginger Syrup recipe.
The syrup turned out quite good, and I was pretty proud of myself for the quick thinking I had done at the store to buy ginger and lemon instead of lemongrass. (Of course, only those who witnessed me standing in the middle of the produce section with a blank look on my face as I frantically Googled “lemongrass substitute” on my phone will know that it was not quick thinking at all.)
The process of soaking the cake in the syrup was definitely my favorite part. The recipe said to pour a third of the syrup on the cake as soon as you took it out of the bunt pan, then to periodically pour another spoonful until the cake soaked it all in. The directions in the recipe were to “take your time pouring the rest of the syrup over the cake, say a splash every time you walk by,” but of course I was anxious to eat it so I found myself walking by quite often.
The ginger flavor in the syrup added a touch of spiciness to the lemon cake, which I enjoyed eating with a glass of iced tea outside in the garden amidst the daisies. (And under the jealous gaze of two kitties.)