My mother in law brought me a big bag of Meyer lemons when she came down for Thanksgiving. I hadn’t even heard of Meyers until we moved to California, and right around the holidays they started showing up at our local Farmer’s Market, at relatively high prices for citrus, which is generally cheap in SoCal. What makes a Meyer special enough to command a higher price is slightly sweeter flesh than a standard lemon, and a very thin peel, more like a tangerine than a standard orange.
Having a big bag of moderately expensive fruit, I had to figure out something interesting to do with it, because I truly hate to let good food go to waste. But lemons, even special expensive ones, are used in very few recipes in my arsenal.
There’s a very simple trick for making citrus jam, and that is simply to plop the whole fruit (minus any seeds) into a food processor with a bit of oil and sugar and blend the whole mess until smooth. Let it sit for a bit and the peel mixed with the juice will congeal into a jam. (Thanks to Sally Schneider, and her really wonderful book, The Improvisational Cook for teaching me this technique.) If you try this trick with a Meyer however, because of the thinner peel, what you get is a really luscious sauce.
Naturally, I wondered if I could turn this sauce into a cake. Turns out that I CAN! It’s not so much a frosting-and-candles style cake, but rather a tea cake (for all those times that you have formal teas), as the texture is somewhere between a quick bread and a more traditional cake. I think it would be irresistible with a little fresh whipped cream.
Meyer Lemon Almond Cake
4 Tb butter, plus more for pan
1 C sugar
1 C sliced almonds (or 1 C almond meal)
2 Meyer lemons
1 C flour
1 tsb baking powder
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a food processor, grind almonds until fine. Set aside in a separate bowl.
Scrub lemons and cut off tough ends. Slice lemons and remove seeds. Put lemons in food processor and grind until saucy.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well. Add lemons and continue mixing. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Pour batter into pan and bake 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.