HOW TO GLAZE A CAKE
I received an email from Nan asking,
I am making a lemon cake. Most of them call for a glaze. What type of frosting would you suggest for a lemon cake? Thanks, Nan.
I immediately forwarded this email to my friend Chef Jenni Field, a graduate of Orlando Culinary Academy - Le Cordon Bleu and a professional pastry chef with her own web site called Pastry Chef Online. She is a wealth of culinary knowledge especially when it comes to baking and pastry. Here is how she answered Nan's question:
Depending upon the texture of your lemon cake, a glaze or a frosting could be called for. If you are making a dense lemon cake, like a lemon pound cake, I recommend a lemon glaze. A simple way of making a lemon glaze is to mix fresh lemon juice with powdered sugar until it has a "drizzling" consistency. Then, drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
If you'd like the glaze to soak into the cake, glaze the cake while it is still very warm. The glaze will thin and run, so you will have to "baste" the cake several times with the drippings. The end result will be a lovely, moist cake with a deep lemon flavor and a shiny, slightly sticky outside. Sift some powdered sugar over the cake right before cutting and serving for a pretty look.
Simple Lemon Glaze
Another option for a lemon glaze would be to make a simple lemon syrup. Bring the zest of two lemons, 1 and ½ cups sugar and 1 cup water to a boil. Cool to room temperature, and strain out the lemon zest. Taste the syrup. You can add a touch of fresh lemon juice or a bit of lemon extract if you'd like it more lemony. Thoroughly brush the cake with this syrup while it is still very warm, but after you have taken it out of the pan.
If you are making a lemon cake with a lighter crumb, more like a standard yellow or white cake, you can use a lemon frosting. Lemon cream cheese frosting might be nice--the slight tang of the cream cheese would marry nicely with the fresh lemon flavor of the cake. Cream 4 oz. each of softened unsalted butter and softened cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly add 1 pound of sifted confectioner's sugar and cream very well. Beat in a pinch of salt, the zest of 1 lemon and a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (enough to give it a good spreading consistency).
Whatever option you choose, and whatever kind of lemon cake you made, I'm sure it will be very tasty.