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Home Hacks Recipe: Sourdough Lemon Rose Cake

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Make what you need, right at home, to stave off unnecessary trips to the store. We’re posting a daily series of ideas from our book, offered freely - You can see the entire collection here on the Buy Nothing Project Facebook page.

Rebecca here - This pandemic has many people #stressbaking, and there's a sourdough revival going on as part of our collective effort to feed our families from home as much as possible. If you're cultivating a sourdough starter at home, you may want a change from bread to use up the daily starter growth. This is a recipe I developed a few years back, from this original King Arthur Flour recipe. When my daughter's chemistry teacher included creating a sourdough starter at home in his distance learning curriculum, I updated this to work with common pantry and fridge ingredients. I know you might not have rosewater in your pantry the way I do, so that's optional - This is delicious without it!

Sourdough Lemon Rose Cake

  • 1 cup of sourdough starter ready for a feeding (meaning starter that’s been resting for 12 hours at room temp, bubbling and active, and now it’s ready to be divided and fed)

  • 1 1/4 cup milk, any kind, or any citrus juice (I used the orange juice boxes my daughter saved from her free school lunches our school district has been passing out to all kids)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar, to taste. (I'm rationing sugar, so I used 1 cup and my kids loved it)

  • 1 cup light oil or melted butter (I used 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup, aka 1 stick, melted unsalted butter)

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • I tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 cup eggs - this will be 2 large eggs from a grocery store carton, or as many eggs as it takes from your own hens (I used 8 of my bantam hens' tiny eggs)

  • fresh zest from 1 lemon if you have it (we're out of lemons, so I skipped this)

  1. Combine the sourdough starter, milk or juice, and flour in a large bowl, stirring everything gently but firmly to mix it all into a relatively smooth mass. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it aside to rest. If you’re in a rush, set it in a warm place for at least two hours; if you’re planning ahead, do this just before you go to bed, set it aside in a cool spot, and make time to finish the cake the next morning.

  2. Once your starter-milk-flour mixture is bubbling and looking lively, it’s time for the next step: Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a 9″x13″ pan.

  3. In a clean bowl, blend sugar, oil/butter, vanilla, lemon juice, salt, and baking soda together. You can do this by hand with a whisk or spoon, or use an electric hand mixer.

  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition to create a smooth batter.

  5. Stir in the fresh zest if you have it – Do this part by hand with a spoon, as the zest will just wrap itself around the beaters on an electric hand mixer.

  6. Now it’s time to gently stir the sugar and oil mixture into the starter mixture. At first, this will look like a culinary train wreck. Keep at it and eventually the two will become one. Gentle strokes of a spoon and persistence will make for a lovely smooth batter.

  7. Pour the finished batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, or until the center springs back under a light touch from your finger and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  8. Set the hot cake on a wire rack for a few minutes, then spoon the Lemon Rose Glaze over it before it cools. It will stay fresh for a few days in the pan, covered and kept at room temperature.

Lemon Rose Glaze 

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • at least 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • rosewater to taste or 1 teaspoonn vanilla extract

  1. Measure the powdered sugar into a small bowl.

  2. Add 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice and stir well. Drizzle additional lemon juice in as needed to form a smooth icing that pours easily from the edge of tipped spoon.

  3. Add rosewater to taste. I like about 2 teaspoons in my icing, but you can use less or more, or skip it completely and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract instead.

  4. Add more powdered sugar if your icing is too runny (or you can just wait a few minutes to let evaporation take care of that for you). Add more juice/rosewater if it’s not runny enough.

  5. Pour over a still-hot cake for a glaze that soaks into the top inch-or-so of cake, leaving a crisp crust of translucent glaze on top.

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1 Comment

Shelley Schwinn
Shelley Schwinn
Apr 19, 2020

The consensus is ... moist and lemony, just like we like it ! My many notes in brief : it took me days to get the sourdough starter started, I agonized over not finding any pure orange extract (I substituted 8 drops of my organic mandarin pure essential oil, and used half milk and half orange juice, not 'or,' as mentioned in the recipe), the sugar choices are limited on the shelves at the moment because of the 'rona hoarding/buying spree so my attempt to powder up some regular cane sugar with a highspeed stick blender wasn't very successful for the icing/glaze, and not being a baker, I had to be very methodical about following directions, when I usually just…

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