My morning yesterday was perfect: zesting meyer lemons early in the morning, to the sound of rain in the leaves and thunder overhead, under cloudy skies.
Well, it would have been extra perfect with a latte, but no such luck!
I LOVE the rainy weather we’ve been having – we don’t get summer storms all that often out here, so I’ve really been enjoying them (minus the super muggy nights – I could really do without that). We’ve also had cooler days, hooray! No more turning my apartment into a sauna by virtue of turning on my oven…
A few shots from life lately… My last series of weekend snapchats was so stereotypically Bay Area Californian, I had to laugh at myself. Latte –> poolside lounging (with sci-fi novel, obvs) –> whole foods flower display –> sushi….
However. This is a food blog (well, okay… dessert & baking blog these days), so let’s back to the topic at hand!
This pudding cake is really fun to make – it totally looks like it’s not going to work when it goes in the oven (fingers crossed, beseeching the baking gods) – the cake batter sinks into the pudding underneath and you think to yourself “OMG THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK AND I WILL BE SCREWED!” but then… you put it in the oven 25 minutes, try to walk away and ignore it….
Lo and behold, when you take it out, there is CAKE on top of your PUDDING SAUCE! Borderline baking miracle right there, just the sort of thing to make you feel like you’ve won your day, even when it’s only 7am.
Meyer Lemon Vanilla Pudding Cake with Port Roasted Figs
Refined sugar free and whole wheat. I reduced the sugar heavily & used maple for unrefined-ness, because of personal proclivities… Lightly sweet, super fun concept where the cake bakes into a pudding bath, basically. Essentially it becomes a self-saucing cake, which looks like it won’t work, but it does! Adapted from King Arthur Flour, here. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves 2-5 (but really 2, for dessert & breakfast w/ a few snacking leftovers…)
The port roasted figs are also a great way to use an abundance of figs if you can’t eat them all fresh – they freeze well, and can be kept into the dark winter months when you want some figgy goodness!
For the roasted figs:
- 1 lb fresh figs (however many you need or want!)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp port wine
- zest from 1 meyer lemon
Preheat the oven to 400, and procure a baking sheet. Slice the ends off each fig, and then halve them. In a large bowl, toss the halved figs with honey, coconut sugar, port, and lemon zest, then place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.
Cover the baking sheet with foil, and roast for 20 minutes. They will be soft, with more liquid – if you want them drier, bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. When done, carefully remove the foil (watch out for steam!) and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or freeze – I’d say use them within 3 months if you freeze them, for best quality.
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons maple
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 meyer lemon, finely chopped
- 2 tsp meyer lemon juice
For the cake:
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 c maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup whole milk, minus 2 tbsp
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- zest of 2 meyer lemons, finely chopped
- 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8″ square pan (I used a ceramic baking dish with nice results).
To make the sauce: place tapioca in a saucepan and add 2 tablespoons of milk, stirring until no lumps remain. Add the remaining milk, maple, vanilla, salt, and lemon zest. Heat, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture simmers, about 5 minutes. It will thicken slightly but no more than that. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
To make the cake: in a largish mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice (Or, if you’re me and baking at 6 am and kind of sleepy, just dump it all in one bowl – it’ll turn out just fine). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the sauce. It will kind of puddle into the sauce, which will creep up around the sides, and you will look at it and think that this will never work, but stick with me! Promise.
Bake the cake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be golden brown, with some bubbles from the pudding that has crept up around the edges. Remove from the oven, cool for 15 minutes, and serve warm, OR refrigerate until ready to serve. Reheat briefly before serving (or just leave at room temp for a few hours). Store covered leftovers in the fridge & eat for breakfast (it’s essentially breakfast food anyway: maple, milk & whole wheat…) Serve with roasted figs, warmed.