Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Isn't it a beauty that Valentines this year fell on a three day weekend with Presidents Day? I had mostly forgotten about it too until I was at work Friday and wondering why there weren't any meetings/work things scheduled for Monday. What a lovely surprise! It's also the perfect excuse to celebrate Valentine's over the course of the weekend rather than just one day (and by that that I simply mean..food, chocolate, cake!)
We are experiencing yet another major cold front (although, no snow! yet..). Something about single digit weather but it actually feels like negative something weather with wind chill. Walking outside last night reminded me of stepping into the huge freezers when I worked at a restaurant in college. An overwhelmingly chilling blast of icy air! It's really not too bad though, and I'm still grateful for the fact of how mild this winter had been overall.
Maybe I'm sending the wrong message with a lemon cake for Valentines? Haha. I tend to associate lemons with sourness or bitterness or the "when life gives you lemons..." saying. But there was a time a couple of weeks ago when Kyle and I were discussing food (as usual) and we discovered we both loved lemon desserts! We never knew this about each other, and it was cool. Like, even though we've been together nearly 8 years, there's still things to find out about each other. Thus, this lemon cake for love day.
I went a bit crazy and did some research prior on what flavor pairings worked well with lemon, and black pepper was one of them. I then wondered if black pepper frosting was a thing (I had heard of cayenne pepper with chocolate before), and found some instances where it was a thing (mostly in Devils food cake). So this is how this frosting came about. I will say it tasted a bit strange on its own, but when paired with the sweet, citrusy, and tangy lemon cake it worked well. If you decide to omit the black pepper though, the frosting is fantastic either way!
Lemon Buttermilk Cake (makes one 8-inch cake)
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 tsp. lemon zest
- 2 tbl. lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
for the buttercream:
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tbl. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 stick butter, softened
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Prepare an 8-inch pan with grease and flour or line with parchment paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Set both aside.
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla, one at a time, continuing to beat until smooth. Take turns adding flour mixture and buttermilk/lemon mixture, in 2-3 batches. Stir on low until all ingredients are mixed and batter is smooth.
Pour into pan and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a cooling rack.
To make the buttercream: Combine all ingredients in a mixer and whisk together until smooth. Add more milk/confectioners sugar to taste, or to get the preferred texture.