We’ve done it! We’ve started an herb garden in our apartment! After some discussion, and many recipes utilizing store bought herbs, my boyfriend and I have taken the plunge and decided to roll the die on our gardening abilities. This bodes well for this week’s recipe: Lemon Thyme Cake!
Our apartment allows for an incredible amount of sunlight and we both really wanted to cut back on the waste we were noticing when we were buying herbs at the market. Even though the cost for fresh herbs was fairly inexpensive for the amount we were purchasing at the farmers market, we unfortunately weren’t able to utilize all of them before they went bad. So, being the conscious consumers that we are, we bought an Ikea herb garden stand and narrowed our vision down to the five most frequently used herbs in our household:
We trekked out to the local garden center, (we like to support the mom and pop shops) spoke with one of the associates, and received advice that our little herbs should get as much direct sunlight as possible. Neither one of us claim to have a green thumb, but we both enjoy a challenge. So why not attempt a little experiment, eh?!
With the easy access (watch yourself…) of having the herbs within a few feet of the kitchen, it makes for quite fun when getting creative with recipes. For example, today’s post regarding Lemon Thyme Cake was a last minute experiment for a family dinner the other night; thrown together with our very own Lemon Thyme!
I used the base recipe of a Swiss Roll sponge cake that I’ve made in the past that turns out wonderfully moist! Instructions are as follows:
First, create a meringue by whisking together egg WHITES and sugar until stiff peaks, in order to give the cake a fluffy consistency. (I LOVE using my Kitchen Aid mixer for this!) Then, in a separate bowl, beat together egg YOLKS and more sugar. Add in veggie oil and lemonade, to add some additional lemon flavor, and mix again. At this point, sift in the cake flour, salt and zest of one lemon to the egg YOLK bowl and mix together with a spatula. From here, add ½ the meringue to the cake flour and YOLK mixture, until combined. Next, pour that mixture into the meringue bowl and lightly fold together with a spatula. (We are trying NOT to knock out all of that beautifully fluffy air that we created when we created the meringue. That’s what keeps the cake fluffy and moist.)
Once the cake mixture is combined, pour into an 8” round baking tin that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper. (Makes for easy removal of the cake after baked.) Set the oven to 320F and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden. You will be able to tell once the cake has been fully baked, once you can put a toothpick in it and it comes out clean. Make sure not to overbake the cake, otherwise it will be too tough.
When it came to the lemon thyme glaze, unfortunately I didn’t have any confectioner’s sugar, which is what is usually utilized when creating glazes. That’s when a lightbulb went off (aha!), I could create a simple syrup, using equal parts sugar and water, then just infuse my flavors! Voila!
Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to try something creative or start something new; like an herb garden in your apartment. One never knows what type of fun may come from it!
I hope you enjoy this recipe! Please feel free to share your pictures of your own Lemon and Thyme Cakes on Instagram and tag me @starknakedcooking! I’d love to see how they come out!
As always, thank you for cooking with me on Stark Naked Cooking and have a wonderful week! Until next weekend, when our food adventure continues!
- 4 Egg Whites
- 2 T. Sugar
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 2 T. Sugar
- 3 T. Veggie Oil
- 3 T. Lemonade
- Lemon Zest - 1 Lemon
- 9 T. Cake Flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 1 T. Fresh Thyme - Chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 320F.
- Whisk the egg WHITES in a Kitchen Aid and add the first 2 T. of sugar in 2 stages. Continue mixing until the meringue (the egg WHITE and sugar mixture) has stiff peaks.*
- Next, in a separate bowl, beat together the egg YOLKS and the remaining 2 T. of sugar. Add the veggie oil, lemonade and lemon zest and mix again.
- Sift in the cake flour and salt into the egg YOLK mixture and combine with a spatula.
- Add 1/2 of the meringue into the cake flour and egg YOLK mixture and stir together until just combined.
- Then pour all of that into the remainder of the meringue bowl and lightly fold together with a spatula.*
- Once cake batter is combined, pour into an 8" baking tin, that has been buttered and lined with parchment paper. Tap the tin against the counter gently to remove the air bubbles.
- Bake at 320F for 10-15 minutes.
- After the cake has been removed from the oven, let cool in tin for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake and let cool on a wire rack before dressing with the glaze.
- In a large saucepan, bring the water and sugar up to a boil.
- Stir constantly until the mixture has a syrupy quality. (Roughly 10 minutes.)
- Once the syrup has started to thicken, remove pan from heat and add the lemon juice and freshly chopped thyme for flavoring.
- Let steep for 10 minutes and then pour through a fine mesh strainer and let cool slightly in a bowl or Pyrex measuring glass.
- Place the sponge cake on a wire rack, which is resting on a baking sheet. (Makes for easier cleanup.)
- Pour the sieved glaze over the sponge.
- Cut into pieces and serve!
- Just a Little Tip (JLT): "Stiff peaks" is used to describe when the meringue mixture is so fluffy that when you remove the whisk, the mixture stays upright, like a peak of a mountain.
- JLT: Make sure that when incorporating the last bit of meringue, that you fold it lightly so as not to knock out all of the fluffy air that you worked so hard in creating. This will allow for a fluffier cake.