So here’s the story…when Stanley Tucci’s CNN Series SEARCHING FOR ITALY premiered weeks ago the first episode was on Napoli (Naples) and its surrounding region. A Spaghetti dish with fried Zucchini known as Spaghetti alla Nerano was featured and one of the key ingredients, infact what makes it the unique dish it is was a locally crafted cheese called PROVOLONE DEL MONACO. I needed to have it. A friend of mine, grazie to Angela Santarelli let me know of an online US Company that imports some hard to get Italian items so I took a look. The company is DOLCITERRA ( https://www.dolceterra.com/) and when I jumped into the website it was like a new door of possibilities opened up. Yes, they had the cheese I wanted but ohhhhhh they had so much more. One of the items was a case of LIMONE DI SORRENTO, lemons from the groves around Sorrento, the area is profumed with the most amazing lemons. They are larger, have a somewhate less sour and sweeter juice, and a thicker and tastier rind/skin than regular lemons. Oh I still love regular lemons, but these are exponentially more aromatic and tastier. I ordered. 4 weeks later my booty arrived. I’ve used them in salad dressings, cakes, savory dishes, drinks. These are prized for making Limoncello too. This is where it was invented, in Campania because of the amazing lemons. Who doesn’t like Lemon Loaf Cake? Ok, those who don’t can exit from the door on your left right now. The rest of you can stay. LOL. I’m a big fan of it so I thought i’d make an American classic, the Sour Cream Ice Lemon Loaf but use these amazing Sorrento Lemons. The result was a huge success. Now don’t look sad, I see you saying..”ughh. where am I going to get Sorrento lemons”. This recipe is for any lemons. The best to use would be fresh Organic Lemons that are firm and fragrant. And if you have Sorrento Lemons that’s just a bonus, but any lemons will work. Let’s get baking!!!
SOUR CREAM LEMON LOAF CAKE
TAKES 2 HOURS
FOR THE LOAF CAKE
3 LARGE FRESH EGGS, WELL BEATEN
1 CUP PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS GRANULATED SUGAR
1 CUP SOUR CREAM (I LIKE FAGE BRAND)
3 TABLESPOONS ORGANIC LEMON ZEST
JUICE OF ONE WHOLE LEMON (OR 2 TBS PURE LEMON EXTRACT)
*NOTE ON THE LEMON JUICE/EXTRACT. THE JUICE PROVIDES A BACKGROUND OF LIGHT LEMON ESSENCE. THE EXTRACT GIVES AN UP FRONT PUNCH OF LEMON, UP TO YOU
2 TEASPOON PURE VANILLA EXTRACT
1/2 CUP VEGETABLE OIL
1 1/2 CUPS SIFTED UNBLEACHED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
2 TEASPOONS FRESH BAKING POWDER (CHECK YOUR EXPIRATION DATES BEFORE USING)
3/4 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT
ICING ( LEMON GLAZE)
1 CUP PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS OF CONFECTIONER’S SUGAR
3-4 TABLESPOONS OF FRESH SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE (LET ME STOP YOU RIGHT HERE, FRESH LEMONS ALWAYS, BOTTLED LEMON JUICE IS A VERY DIFFERENT TASTING PRODUCT, NOT GOOD IN THIS AT ALL)
2 TSPS. LEMON ZEST
1 TEASPOON PURE VANILLA EXTRACT.
Preheat the oven to 350 Degress F. Grease a 9X5 loaf pan with butter or spray shortening. Lightly dust with flour. Shake out excess.
Add the beat eggs to a large bowl and add the sour cream and sugar, whisk briskly. Add the lemon juice, the lemon zest, the vanilla and when fully combined slowly add the oil whisking steadily.
In another bowl mix the flour, baking powder and the salt. Gently blend with a fork till combined. Then add to the wet mixture until no lumps and fully incorporated. Don’t mix for too long.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and place onto a heavy baking sheet (why? ever had a cake decide to grow and pour over the sides? you don’t want that mess on the bottom of your oven!!!
Bake on the center rack for 60 minutes or until the center comes out clean with a knife or toothpick. All ovens bake differently so once you’ve come to the 50 minute mark check the cake, It’s what I do. If you need more time check again after 10 minutes keeping a close eye on the whole thing. If your oven normally runs hot a foil loosely placed over the top helps prevent scorching.
most important: BE PATIENT. let this cool on a rack for 1 hour.
While it’s cooling, add the confectioners’ sugar and zest to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and vanilla and mix until it’s the right consistency. You may need more sugar. You may need more juice.
Feel the bottom of the loaf pan after an hour has passed. If it’s still warm, give it another hour. Gently Turn the loaf out of the pan. Place on a platter/plate. Then drizzle as little or as much of the glaze as you like. As you can see from the pic i like alot. That wonderful sweet tart sunny lemon glaze is something you want more than less of. This cake tastes best on day 2 if you can make it a day ahead of serving it. However, it tastes amazing on day one as well.