Watching delicate snowflakes beginning to falling just beyond the window’s thin pane of glass on yet another cold, windy, and gloomy day, it feels as though winter has this little town by a choke hold and is refusing to let go. Summer is more like an implausible concept than a concrete season at this point, as the only thing that seems possible is yet another snowfall, or devastatingly low temperatures that send us all scurrying back inside like rats. When the sun barely manages to peek out from behind that thick blanket of unforgiving clouds, it’s hard to summon any enthusiasm for the day ahead, especially if it involves going outside at all. There is, however, one bright spot in this otherwise depressing time of year: Citrus. The saving grace of a bitterly cold winter are those vibrant yellows, oranges, and greens that line the grocery store shelves. Their tart, astringent flavor wakes up dormant taste buds and invigorates the spirit, bringing new life to drab dishes.
One of the most sought-after fruits by far is the Meyer lemon. Sweeter than a plain old lemon, the flavor is practically begging to be infused into just about any baked good you can think of. In fact, many bakers like myself love them so much, that the prospect of growing one’s own Meyer lemon tree is extremely tempting. Just imagine, being able to pluck one of the golden ovals, plump with sour juice, straight from a nearby branch at will… Oh, the innumerable lemon delights that would create!
While I may not have my own tree yet, I’ve been going through those wonderful Meyer lemons like they’re going out of style, fighting hard to keep the winter blahs at bay. One of the most noteworthy creations was this tender lemon bundt cake, adorned with a slathering of cashew icing on top.
Sweetened entirely with agave, this bundt takes on a dark amber hue despite its pale components, as agave browns much more quickly than standard sugar. As if tanned by the sun, I can only hope that it’s but a small sign that perhaps the clouds really could recede in no time at all, with brighter, warmer days just beyond the horizon.
Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake
1 Cup Plain Soymilk
Zest of 1 Meyer Lemon
1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice
1 1/4 Cups Light Agave Nectar
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds
1 1/2 Cups Roasted, Unsalted Cashew Pieces
1/3 Cup Light Agave Nectar
1/3 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
Preheat your oven 350 degrees and lightly grease and flour a 12-cup capacity bundt pan.
First combine the soymilk, zest, and juice, and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes. Add in the agave nectar and oil, and mix well.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Grind the flax seeds down into a fine meal, and incorporate them as well, so that the dry goods are all evenly distributed. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and using a wide spatula, mix thoroughly with as few strokes as possible, being careful not to over-mix. Once you achieve a smooth batter, pour it into your prepared bundt pan, and smooth down the top evenly. Bake for approximately one hour, until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center (of the cake, not the pan; that would just be silly) comes out clean. Let cool completely before turning the cake out of the pan.
To prepare the icing, simply place all of the ingredients in your food processor, blender, or VitaMix, and let it blend until completely smooth. Be patient, as it could take up to five minutes. Pass the icing through a fine sieve if you’re not confident that it’s entirely lump-free. Drizzle over your cake as desired, and enjoy while thinking of sunny days.