Mother’s Day Baking I – Gluten-free Triple Lemon Pound Cake and a memorable phone call

I have been thinking of what cake to bake for Mother’s Day. My mother is actually in Italy at the moment, and because of COVID, I won’t be able to visit my mother-in-law either, even if she lives much closer. I am not complaining, since the distance will keep them both safe. Still, these two important women in my life are an inspiration for the recipes I will share. My mother and my mother-in-law both love simplicity, “niente fronzoli” my mom would say. “No patchky,” my mother-in-law would add. So I thought I would bake Bundt Cakes, or Ciambelle.

I will share two recipes with you for this occasion. The first is an adaptation of my famous Gluten-free Triple Lemon Pound Cake, which was one of the best sellers at my bakery. This cake has lemon zest and lemon juice in its batter, it’s soaked in lemon syrup once out of the oven, and finally it’s drizzled with lemon icing.

I would like to share a story behind this cake. One day, in the first year at my bakery the phone rang. A distinctive voice introduced herself as Joanne Weir. She told me that she had just come to visit her mother, and they had a slice of my Gluten-free Triple Lemon Pound Cake. She complimented my pastry and my baking, and told me that, as a chef, she knew that it’s rare to receive acknowledgments from customers. She wanted to take the time to do so. That call made my day. In the era of Gordon Ramseys, finding a thoughtful and kind chef who intentionally delivers a message of support and encouragement to a local and unknown baker is unheard of. Joanne Weir  is, in fact, a famous chef with a PBS cooking show and who has written several cook books. Since that phone call, I am happy to say that Joanne was a mentor to me when I was still baking, when I contemplated closing my business and then later writing a book. She is down to earth, approachable, available, and the care she puts in what she prepares when she cooks and bakes, is the care that she puts in the relationships she creates. I am honored to dedicate this first of two Mothers’s Day recipes to Joanne and her mom.

ENJOY!

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For the Cake 

  • Unsalted Butter, softened  1 cup (8 oz)
  • granulated sugar 2 cups (14 oz)
  • eggs 6 large
  • lemons 5 medium
  • Simona’s Flour Mix 3 cups (234 gr)
  • baking powder 1 teaspoon
  • baking Soda 1 teaspoon
  • salt 1 teaspoon
  • lemon Juice 1/4 cup (2 oz)
  • buttermilk 3/4 cup (6 oz)
  • vanilla 1 teaspoon
  • glycerin 2 Tablespoons

For the Syrup

  • Lemon Juice 1/2 cup (4 oz)
  • granulated sugar 1/2 cup (3.5 oz)

For the Glaze

  • Confectioners’ sugar 8 oz
  • lemon Juice 4 Tablespoons (2 oz)

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy and fluffy. In the meanwhile zest the lemons in the eggs, and then add the mixture to the butter and sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. It might curdle, but that’s ok.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small  bowl mix the lemon juice, buttermilk, vanilla and glycerin.

With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding dry ingredients and liquid ingredients until well incorporated, then mix at medium speed for a couple of minutes.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry. Cover with foil for the last 10/15 minutes if it darkens too much.

While the cake bakes, prepare the syrup. Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small pan and place on low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. When the cake is out of the oven, take out of the pan within 5 minutes and place on rack. Brush it generously with the still warm syrup.

Let it cool completely while preparing the glaze with lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Adjust the quantity of lemon juice according to the consistency you prefer. Drizzle on the bundt cake.

For a Triple Lemon Pound Cake loaf, halve the recipe, bake the pound cake in a loaf pan at the same temperature, for 40 to 50 minutes.

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