I’ve never been but have always heard a lot about the famous Magnolia Bakery in New York City. Although there are now six locations, including one in Dubai, undoubtedly its most exotic one, it originally began operations at 401 Bleecker Street in the West Village with the intention of being a small neighborhood bakery. Needless to say it didn’t stay that way for long.
Last month I picked up a copy of the complete MAGNOLIA BAKERY cookbook by original owners Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel. The recipes sound delicious, but the pictures will make you wish you lived around the corner from one of the bakery’s four New York City locations-lemon icebox pie, pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap pecan crust, Magnolia’s vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla butter cream.
The first couple of sweets I made from the cookbook were cookies-iced molasses cookies and orange vanilla chip cookies which the authors write “they’re rather unique and remind us of eating Creamsicles” (and they really do). But this past weekend I decided to venture into the cupcakes and layer cake chapter and made lemon layer cake.
I apologize for the quality of the pictures but the cake really did come out a vibrant yellow.
Needless to say I’m hooked on the cookbook and can’t wait to visit the bakery.
Lemon Layer Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and lightly flour three 9 x 2-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with waxed paper.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs one at a time. Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk and lemon juice and zest, beating well after each addition. Divide the batter among the cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire rack.
When cake has cooled, spread the icing evenly between the layers and over top of cake.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the juice and the zest. Beat until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. If desired, add a few drops of yellow food coloring and mix thoroughly. Use and store at room temperature.
(This yields icing for one 2- or 3-layer 9-inch cake)
Julie is a librarian by day, die-hard travel fanatic and writer by night. When she’s not traveling, she’s either testing out a new recipe or being a foodie in Pittsburgh. If you're interested in seeing where she travels to or what she makes next, follow along via the links below!