My sister and her family came to visit last week and we had a family get together that required food. You need to understand that my sister and I, as women in this family, are in a very slim minority. My dad was one of seven boys, and it seemed the boys were always everywhere. My sister and my cousin Heather were the oldest cousins and after them was a pretty long string of boys. Family reunions have often consisted of four-wheeling, snowmobiling, shooting things, and a lot of sitting around outside. Power tools were usually required.
With my sister in town, we realized we had a surprising number of cousins around that are from my dad’s side, so we made as much contact through facebook as possible. Funny thing, though, only the girls and their familial appendages came. Also in town were at least 3 boy cousins and attending families (probably more) and my own brother. I guess they missed out.
That said, we still ate like we do with all the boys and there was a lot of sausage and hot dogs on the grill out bag, lovingly grilled by cousin Heather. I brought cake, and because of how the day had gone, it needed to be quick. And I ask you, what is quicker than LIGHTNING CAKE? Nothing. At least insofar as cake is involved and you don’t want my chocolate emergency cake, which I didn’t.
So, Heather, per your family’s request, here is the recipe from the Joy of Cooking. Now go buy some eggs, because you’ll need them. And yes, Brooke, you could probably handle this one. I’m not sure about the soup yet – can you cook bacon? I’m sorry to admit but this sank. Welcome to high altitudes, which I still have not completely figured out yet. Everyone still ate it, so I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt it. It just wasn’t as pretty or fluffy, but with six eggs and a cup of butter, what do you expect!
Lightning Cake (aka German Blitztorte)
Note: Have all ingredients at room temperature, it helps. That’s the slow part. I’ve included the measurement for doubling in [brackets].
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour one 8×2-inch round cake pan, 8×8 square pan, or if doubling, a 9×13 pan.
Whisk together thoroughly:
1 c. [2 c.] all-purpose flour
1 t. [2 t.] baking powder (or less, theoretically at high altitudes, but I don’t know how much)
1/4 t. [1/2 t.] salt
In a large bowl, beat until creamy, about 30 seconds:
8 T. (1 stick or 1/2 c.) [16 T, 2 sticks or 1 c.] unsalted butter (preferably, but if you have regular butter it won’t be that different)
Gradually add and beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 3 to 5 minutes:
1 c. [2 c.] sugar
Beat in 1 at a time:
3  large eggs
1 t. [2 t.] grated lemon zest
2 T. [1/4 c. or 4 T.] fresh lemon juice
Stir in the flour mixture just until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. If desired, (and I did not) sprinkle the top with a mixture of:
1/2 c. [1 c.] chopped or sliced natural almonds or other nuts (unblanched or roasted)
1 heaping tablespoon [2 heaping T.] of sugar.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes, a little longer if doubling. let cool in the pan on the rack for 10 minutes, and then slide a knife around the edge, flip the cake out. I’m never that ambitions. Besides, I glazed my afterward, so I would have lost some of the glaze had I done that and I need all the glaze. ALL of it.
Quick Lemon Icing
Note: It is best to pre-measure everything before you start. I did not double this for the doubled cake recipe, just one recipe was enough.
Melt, or heat, the top of a double boiler over low heat: (A double boiler is essentially a heat-proof bowl or pan placed on top of a pan with water on the stove, usually at medium heat or less, so the bowl is still above the water, but is indirectly heated by the steam rather than by the direct heat of the burner.)
4 T. unsalted butter or 3 T. heavy cream
Remove from the heat and stir in:
2 c. powdered sugar, sifted if lumpy
1 T. milk
2 T. fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon grated directly over the pan
1/8 t. salt
Cook, stirring occasionally, over barely simmering water (in the double boiler) for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add:
1 t. vanilla
Beat until cool and the desired consistency. (You can place the pan in a larger pan of ice water to quicken the process.) Pour over Lightning Cake. If you really want it to seep in, poke holes in the cake, but I didn’t.