Los Angeles Times Upside-Down Meyer Lemon Cake

Friday, January 8, 2010

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake

The Los Angeles Times Food Section is opening its vault and has the Top 10 recipes of the past 25 years on the website. See the listing here. Earlier, I made the Cafe Beaujolais' Buttermilk-Cinnamon Coffeecake from 1985.

And the LA Times Food Section will be moving to Thursday (from Wednesday). This will be tough! The Wednesday Food Section is such a "hump day" treat...oh well, it used to be on Thursday and it's going back. I know the Los Angeles Times staff has taken a beating in this economic climate...I can't imagine life without the LA Times, especially the Food Section. I've been reading the paper forever...and will run out to the driveway on Thursdays now to grab the Food Section. Thanks LA Times Food Section and @latimesfood for all the great recipes and articles!

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
My dad has a lovely Meyer Lemon tree. It's old, short and stout. Hum, that kinda sounds like my dad too. :) Anyway, when I saw the Upside-Down Lemon Cake on the LA Times website, I knew I had to use my dad's Meyer lemons.

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
I just bought a new cast iron pan for the TWD Tarte Tatin, and was happy to use it again! A layer of brown sugar and butter is topped with the lemon slices. Then a cake batter is cooked on top.
Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Although difficult to cut because of the rind (make sure you use a sharp knife), this was a fan favorite at the library. Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Meyer Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Check out the other LA Times favorites over the years here: Opening the vault: 25 years of our best recipes. This recipe was part of: Top 10 recipes of 2007

Lemon Upside-Down Cake
From Los Angeles Times test kitchen director Donna Deane. Published March 14, 2007.

From the article (Hello, I'm a librarian and had to get the citation :)
Blingtime for lemons; Let this season's precious fewer fruits sparkle and shine in desserts that make the most of every sweet-tart bit of golden citrus. Susan LaTempa, Donna Deane. Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, Calif.: Mar 14, 2007. pg. F.3

Lemon Upside-Down Cake
Printable recipe here or on Los Angeles Times

4 small lemons (about 4 ounces each) - I used Meyer lemons
One-half cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, divided
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split - I used 1 tablespoon of vanilla paste instead
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

2. Cut 3 of the lemons into one-eighth inch thick slices. (I ended up using 4 smaller Meyer lemons) Remove seeds and set aside. You will have about 30 lemon slices. Grate 1 teaspoon lemon peel from the remaining lemon. Set aside the grated peel; save the lemon for another use.

3. Heat 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) of the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet or an ovenproof 10-inch saute pan until melted. Brush the sides of skillet with a little of the melted butter. Add the brown sugar, stir until it is moistened with the butter and spread it into an even layer. Arrange the lemon slices, slightly overlapping, to cover the bottom of the skillet. Set aside.

4. Cut the remaining 6 tablespoons butter into a mixing bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with the point of a knife onto the butter. (I used 1 Tablespoon of vanilla paste). Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until creamy. Add the sugar and grated lemon peel and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

5. Add half the flour mixture and beat until blended. Add milk and beat until combined, then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until blended.

6. Spread the batter over the lemons in the skillet to cover evenly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and the center tests done. Let the cake stand 5 minutes, then invert the skillet onto a platter. To serve, slice into wedges with a sharp knife. (It is difficult to cut so make sure your knife is sharp to get through the rind).
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Audrie said... [Reply to comment]

Oh goodness. My heart just skipped a beat! I love anything with lemon and this looks divine!

Sook said... [Reply to comment]

Wow the cake looks so moist and wonderful! Great pictures, too!

slush said... [Reply to comment]

That looks awesome! I love, love, love lemon anything. However, I have never had a meyer lemon. They never have them in my local grocery. I guess I should trek up to Trader Joes, but with the 'inclement weather' and all, it will have to wait.

DailyChef said... [Reply to comment]

Your pictures always make me drool!

I love the LA Times food section too. I've been reading it, mostly online, for years :)

Eliana said... [Reply to comment]

My oh my - this looks incredible!!!!!

Kelsey said... [Reply to comment]

Beautiful cake! Looks delicious!

Chocolate Shavings said... [Reply to comment]

Looks delicious and moist, and I love the lemon slices on top!

kimberleyblue said... [Reply to comment]

Oh yum! I've seen this cake before, and it's just so gorgeous! It sounds absolutely amazing too.

Patricia @ ButterYum said... [Reply to comment]

I have a bowl full of Meyer lemons and I was just wondering what in the world I would do with them. Thanks so much for posting this recipe.

Barbara Bakes said... [Reply to comment]

I need to get some Meyer lemons. It looks fabulous!

Esi said... [Reply to comment]

I love that you cook your way through these things. I just look at them and think "oh, that would be nice to make some day". Looks amazing as always.

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

That looks incredible! Too bad about the Thursday food section - my local CT paper also does it on Thursdays, but even after 8 years of living here, I still expect to find the food section on Wednesday mornings. The LAT food section is so great, though - you're lucky to have it!

Nancy/n.o.e said... [Reply to comment]

I love your homage to the LA Times Food Section. And this amazing lemon cake, which is going straight to my bookmarks. Earlier in the Fall I baked a wonderful apple ginger upside down cake in a cast iron pan - from the New York Times. I'll be blogging it soon, but highly recommend it for you and your pan.

Katrina said... [Reply to comment]

Yum! I just got a cast iron pan, too, and have only used it for the tart tatin so far!

Mary Ann said... [Reply to comment]

This looks really interesting and delicious. I am definitely in the mood for something lemon-y! Going to give it a try!

Deana Sidney said... [Reply to comment]

The lemons are gorgeous on top of the cake... really spectacular photo and the recipe is a keeper! Thanks!

Unknown said... [Reply to comment]

This is really lovely Mary! I've got a few Meyer lemons in my fridge just begging to be used so maybe I can try a mini version of this one. Thanks for sharing!

Carolyn Jung said... [Reply to comment]

Oh, the Cafe Beaujoulais coffeecake is a winner, indeed. Have not tried this upside-down lemon cake. But now that I have my own dwarf Meyerlemon tree, I just might have to give it a whirl. It's one beaut of a cake.

test it comm said... [Reply to comment]

I really like the look of all of those sliced lemons!

Ingrid_3Bs said... [Reply to comment]

Mmmmm, that looks lovely. Does it have the delicate tartness of meyer lemons or is it more caramely sweet from the brown sugar and butter?

Sara said... [Reply to comment]

Mmmm, this looks delish! Our meyer lemon tree is just starting to make lemons again, so I will have to try this!! :)

The Food Librarian said... [Reply to comment]

Ingrid, um, Yes. :) It was more sweet than sour, but you definitely got a lemon taste when you ate the rind. The cake part has the infusion of the brown sugar on top. I only ate a little piece though. Also, I used Meyers and the recipe is written for regular lemons. I hope you make it sometime! Thanks for stopping by Ingrid! best, mary

Leslie said... [Reply to comment]

This looks fabulous! I making it as soon as the next batch of Meyer lemons comes in. Newspaper food sections (and newspapers themselves) are really having a rough time.

Amanda said... [Reply to comment]

Wow Mary, that's truly stunning! I love the way it looks and i bet the flavor is incredible!

Michelle said... [Reply to comment]

Oh this looks wonderful! Did baking the lemon rind give the cake any faint bitter taste as it sometimes does?

April said... [Reply to comment]

What a beautiful cake!

Chef Aimee said... [Reply to comment]

I would pass up any chocolate dessert for a lemon one any day of the week!

vibi said... [Reply to comment]

Thank you Mary for visiting me while I was away! I appreciate it very much!

A very happy new year to you, health, joy and happiness... and many more great and amazing recipes to share with us! ...just like this one! LOL

betty geek said... [Reply to comment]

That looks too awesome for words.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Did someone say...lemons?? DO NOT COME OVER.

Jessica said... [Reply to comment]

The LA Times food section is awesome. I love it but I don't read it as often as I'd like to. Your cake is gorgeous.

The Food Librarian said... [Reply to comment]

Michelle (from Jan 11th), Sorry for the delay in writing back. I used Meyer lemons and they are much less tart than regular lemons. I found that because there is a lot of sugar in the topping, the rind wasn't bitter. However, I don't know what happens with regular lemons. - mary the food librarian

Anne said... [Reply to comment]

Wow Mary this looks amazing and like a great, different use for lemons (we have a million on the tree so I love the new idea!)

I was thinking of you when I made my mini bundts yesterday! :)

Lori said... [Reply to comment]

I've made this recipe twice, once when it first appeared in the LA Times .... the only problem I have had is that they say to cut the lemons 1/8 inch thick, and it's almost impossible to eat the lemons and the rinds ... even when I try to cut them thinner. Am thinking next time I should cook the lemons first, or do something to them. what was your experieince? (the cake is delicious though!)

The Food Librarian said... [Reply to comment]

Lori, I used Meyer Lemons which are less tart and, I believe, the rind isn't as bitter as a traditional lemon. I think that helps. You may want to try Meyer Lemons, or let the lemons macerate in a sugar mixture for a few hours before using. That should soften up the rind. I tried to cut mine about 1/16" or as thin as possible. I'm no expert tho and only made the cake once...good luck! - mary the food librarian

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

Thanks for the post! I had been looking for recipes to use the meyer lemons I bought and made the cake tonight. Turned out great and the cake batter was fantastic - soft and moist. It might be my go-to batter recipe from now on. Definitely have to go thinner than 1/8" on the lemon slices. I had a couple that were that thickness and they were harder to eat.

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