Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Jun 5, 2012

Rosemary Limoncello Cake

Libations used: 6 Tbs limoncello
Libations left over: Pour yourself a little glass and sip while the cake bakes...
A friend of mine had a birthday party last week and everyone was tasked with bringing dessert.  Yay!  My specialty.  I'd been waiting for spring to hit so I could try this Rosemary Limoncello Cake recipe from Booze Cakes.  Limoncello is a sweet, Italian lemon liqueur, and is traditionally served as a digestivo.  Fittingly, the birthday boy is also Italian...

There's plenty of booze packed into this recipe—both the batter and the icing each have 3 Tbs—and the icing just beautifully soaks right into the cake.  I had to make sure the kiddies had a tiny slice at the party!  Even though this dessert is fitting any time of year, the colors and flavors just remind me of spring.  I used regular lemons, as Meyer are out of season, and I picked some fresh rosemary from my little herb garden.  Make sure you slice those lemons thin, so they soften up properly and your guests aren't trying to cut through tough lemons.  And if they are, well just serve them a little extra limoncello on the side.  Salute!

Rosemary Limoncello Cake - serves 8-12
Ingredients for the cake:
  • 3/4 cup ground pine nuts, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp baking power
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 tsp lemon peel, finely grated
  • 3 Tbs limoncello
Ingredients for the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tbs limoncello
Ingredients for the garnishes:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups Meyer lemons, sliced thin
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Grease a 9-inch cake pan and dust with 1/4 cup ground pine nuts.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter for about 30 seconds.
- Add the sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix for 3-5 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time.
- Add the flour, rosemary, remaining 1/2 cup pine nuts, baking powder, salt and milk and beat to combine.
- Stir in the lemon peel and limoncello.
- Pour batter into the cake plan and bake for 45 minutes.

To make the icing:
- Stir the confectioners sugar and limoncello together until consistency is spreadable (add more sugar, if it needs to be thicker).

To make the candied lemon slices:
- In a saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water.
- Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon slices and simmer for another 5 minutes. Make sure the fruit is soft, and not falling apart.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the lemon slices and let them cool on waxed paper.

To decorate the cake:
- Remove the cake from the pan and make sure it's cool before pouring glaze over the top.
- Decorate with lemon slices and a few sprigs of rosemary.