Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grandpa Bill's Favorite Lemon Cake

My maternal grandpa had a heart attack not long ago, but after a short stay in the hospital, he went home. He continued to have chest pains, but I didn't realize how serious it was. He was recently given about a week to live, so he went home to die with his family in California. My mom was able to get a flight out right away. The rest of us were trying to figure out our schedules that day, but had a family dinner in Utah with those of us here. In honor of my grandpa, I made his favorite cake. Unfortunately, during the dinner, my mom called with the news that he passed away before the rest of us could even make it there to see him. I remember my grandpa as a man with a great sense of humor. I wish I had his gift. You never knew if he was serious. Well, except that time when he and my grandma were watching my sisters and me when I was in kindergarten or first grade and he told me not to touch their dining room chandelier. I was convinced that part of it was twisted so I climbed on a chair and tried to untwist it. He sternly warned me to get down and not to touch it again or he'd swat me. I knew he wasn't joking then. :) I remember how he had to have his sandwiches cut diagonally because they "taste better that way". And I remember him wearing denim overalls a lot. I remember that he and my grandma were always frugal and content with less than most people think they need--and my grandma still is. I miss my grandpa, but I know I'll see him again someday. Until then, I will remember him and enjoy his favorite cake.My grandma (a WONDERFUL baker and cook!) mailed me a few recipes when I requested some of their favorites for a family history project. This is one of them. This is the recipe as she wrote it:
Grandpa's Favorite Lemon Cake

1 baked lemon cake
2 c. powdered sugar
Lemon juice
Mix powdered sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thin glaze. Poke holes 1-inch apart in hot cake; pour lemon glaze over cake to cover. Cool before cutting.

I don't know if she used a cake mix or had a favorite lemon cake recipe, but I felt bad asking. Writing letters is hard for her due to arthritis, so I haven't asked her. (Maybe I will next time I visit her.) So I searched online for a lemon cake and found this one. I found one on Recipezaar. The only thing I changed was to add the lemon zest of one lemon in the batter. I doubled it and put it in a Bundt pan for a little less than an hour. Then I poured the glaze that I made from my grandma's recipe on it. It is a tender cake and the glaze makes a sweet addition. Alex liked it so much that he snuck 5 pieces of it at the family dinner. (And he rarely sneaks food!) I also made it according to the recipe online in a loaf pan and loved that too. The glaze seemed to soak into the loaf better than the Bundt cake. So, if you could follow all that, give it a try and maybe you can come up with your own reason to remember this new favorite.

Easy Lemon Pound Cake

1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 T. lemon juice
1/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 325°. Grease a loaf pan. Mix together 1 cup sugar and butter. Add eggs and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice; mix well. Add salt, flour, and baking powder to mixture. Add milk.
Bake for 1 hour, or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool.

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