Sep 24, 2012

Daisy Cake

Since yesterday I officially welcomed Autumn with an apple cheesecake, I think it´s only fair that I also welcome Spring, you know, given the fact that I did welcome spring this past Friday in real life. But the ghost season I share with my virtual friends is opening multiple flavor avenues I never would´ve tried on my own anytime soon. Like baking with pumpkin for the first time, a post that I will share with you this week. So right now, I feel I have the best of both seasons.
Why I choose this lemon cake to celebrate today is right there in the title. Daisy and yellow. What could be more emblematic of spring? Though I don´t think my cake pan is the real daisy pan, it is flower-shaped. 

The weather last Friday was what anyone could hope the first day of spring to be. Warm, sunny, low humidity and a holiday for some. Here it´s Student´s Day, so, since they don´t have school they invade the streets and parks, all giddy with excitement and freedom, roaming the streets like famished ants. They´re a happy sight, at least for a few hours. As the day closes in, you see the mess, empty bottles, trash and cigarrettes everywhere, drunken yells and tired-with-freedom teenagers making their way home. Like spring break that lasts only one day. Thank god for that.

Anyway, this cake will cure any bad mood, or hangover for that matter, with it´s intense lemon flavor. Really intense, almost pucker-y. My idea of a lemon dessert rarely accepts a faint lemon flavor. If that happens it will not have lemon in the title probably. 

It uses the whole lemon, sans pits of course, which is processed with some corn syrup and powdered sugar. Then there´s some cornmeal, semolina flour (don´t roll your eyes, you can use all purpose flour instead) and almonds too. The texture is coarse and extremely moist. It´s the type of low-rise cake to make in large quantities and serve with cream and strawberries for a crowd. Or I guess a dash of limoncello will be good, just like this other lemon almond cake.
Let the sunny days begin.

I just realized both yesterday and today I posted an adapted recipe from Nancy Silverton. How much do you think I like that woman´s books, ha? 

barely adapted from Pastries from the La Brea Bakery, by Nancy Silverton

2/3 cup (85g) unblanched whole almonds
2/3 cup + 2 Tbs (160g) granulated sugar
1 ½ lemons, cut into quarters, seeds removed
2 Tbs corn syrup
2/3 cup + 2 Tbs powdered sugar
½ cup semolina flour
½ cup polenta or fine cornmeal
1 1/3 sticks (150g) unsalted butter, at room tº
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
Zest of 2 lemons
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter a daisy or round cake pan.
In the bowl of a food processor combine almonds with ¼ cup of the granulated sugar. Pulse until almonds are the consistency of fine meal. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
Using the same bowl of the food processor, combine the whole lemon chunks, corn syrup and powdered sugar. Process until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
In a large bowl beat butter, baking powder and zest. Add remaining granulated sugar and beat for a few minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the nut mixture and mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to mix well after each addition.
Add the lemon mixture and mix until well incorporated. With a spatula mix in the semolina and cornmeal until the batter is smooth. Do not overmix.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, smooth top and bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden and a tester inserted comes out clean. Transfer pan to rack and cool. 
Unmold onto serving plate, dust with additional confectioners´ sugar and serve.
Serves 6.


  1. Oh! I want that cake pan, please! And happy spring to you. Nice way to celebrate it with that cake.

  2. I think the name of the cake alone is pretty fantastic, but the pan you used is just beautiful! Sounds delicious, Hugs, Terra

  3. I love the texture of the cake, it looks so moist! I wish I could have a bite (or two)! I once made an orange cake that looked about the same, so I imagine it something like that.

  4. What a sweet cake - love the pan shape. And I agree with Zeeona, that texture looks perfect!

  5. I'm making this tonight! I have leftover semolina flour!

  6. I love your cake and the fantastic shape ... Happy Spring :-)

  7. The shape is so pretty my friend what a beautiful cake :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  8. That shape of the cake is really fun!

  9. Happy first week of spring for you:)You know fall in South Florida maybe feels a little like your spring so I know how you feel;P Love simple lemon cakes like this. I liked to read about Student's Day. You gave a good visual and brought me for a moment back to Buenos Aires:)

  10. What a pretty cake. I love baked goods with lemon, so I'm sure it's delicious, too!

  11. I love your flower shaped pan!!! And what a lovely way to usher in spring...wish I was doing that here :)

  12. i definitely have to try this one - i've never seen a recipe usig the whole citrus like this. i too love my lemon desserts to be lip-puckeringly tart - and here in australia we are definitely celebrating the arrival of spring!
    i have a question though - we don't have corn syrup here. what would be a substitute? is it a fat or a sweetener?

    1. Since it´s such a small amount, I´d substitute honey.

  13. Paula, very lovely baking pan and it does look a lot like springtime, so well done!

  14. Paula, This is a lovely looking cake…and such a wonderful way to welcome in spring! Beautifully done!

  15. You just helped me figure out what I will be making for dessert on Friday evening! This sounds amazing - and has all my favorite flavors, too - almond and lemon. Although we are about to hit winter in the Southest U.S., it is more like spring as we begin our outdoor season! Thanks for this great recipe, Paula! ~David


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