The recipe is at the end of the post. But first, a few pots, some lemon juice, a couple tablespoons of hazelnuts, and a spatula of cake batter, and you’ve got quite a New Year’s morning on your hands!
Meyer Lemon Cake
Adapted from Saveur magazine
For the cake:
1 cup blanched, peeled hazelnuts
Butter for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons fine salt
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon extract or 1 tablespoons lemon olive oil
For the glaze:
Zest and juice of 2 Meyer lemons, about 1/2 cup
1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Set milk out to come to room temperatures.
In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts until very fine and fluffy, about 1 minute; set aside 1/2 cup. Grease a loaf pan measuring 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ with butter and dust it with the reamining ground hazelnuts. Invert and tap out excess crumbs; set aside.
In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
Add the 2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest to the 1 cup sugar and rub it into the sugar with your fingers until it is fragrant. Put the melted butter into a large bowl and add the sugar with zest. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just long enough to incorporate, about 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and milk mixture in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until mixed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, about 3 minutes total. Mix in the lemon extract or oil.
With the spatula, fold in the lemon zest and ground hazelnuts. (The mixture will be thin.) Turn batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and dry, about 65 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack.
Prepare the glaze: Combine 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. (Do not boil.) Brush the glaze over the hot cake. (The excess liquid may pool along the sides of the pan; it will absorb completely as it sits.) Once the cake has absorbed all the liquid, turn it out of the pan and allow it to cool upright on a rack. Once it’s cool, wrap the cake with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before serving.