Monday, January 9, 2012

Ina + Starbucks

That is how I started my Monday morning.  A favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe + coffee.  After dropping the boys off at school, I decided to skip the gym and treat myself to a morning doing what I enjoy most.  I grabbed a latte from Starbucks and headed home to savor a couple uninterrupted hours  by myself in the kitchen. When it comes to cooking, I'd say Ina has had the biggest influence on me {beside my Mum}.  I know so many of her recipes by heart and I've adopted many of her techniques as my own. 

Today, I made her Lemon Cake while the sun streamed in the windows and I momentarily pretended I was in East Hampton.  Jimmy was working in his office upstairs just like Ina's Jeffrey in so many of her TV episodes.  But unlike her episodes, the smell of buttery lemon cake didn't lure him down, instead I had to take a slice up. {I will say he came down and ate a couple more on his own! Ah, the way to a man's heart!! :)}  This is one of Andrew's favorites so he'll be happy to find a slice in his lunch tomorrow and on a plate after school today.  Enjoy!

Lemon Cake 
from the Barefoot Contessa

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

PS. A HUGE thank you to all that left such great info about the butcher block counters in the last post!!  You are all THE best.  I'm planning a little follow up post.  Hopefully later in the week.


  1. ina + starbucks + this blog...some of my favorite things all in one spot. xo

  2. Ditto what Tiffany just wrote. After discovering your blog, it's one of the first I go to on a daily basis. I love your style Tessa. I get such inspiration. Please show us what you are doing with that fab secretary desk. I have been looking on Craig's List for a while for one just like it. Love Ina too. Wouldn't you just love to spend a day with her at her place in the Hamptons!
    Pat in Chicago

  3. That cake looks oh so yummy!!! My great grandmother used to make a lemon cake. I think I'll have to try this recipe. Thanks for posting!!

  4. I love Ina too - I especially love watching her on the food network. She just has such a calm sweet way about her.
    I have to say Tessa that your fab photos look better than the cookbook ones - they are really beautiful!

  5. ashlyn, that's so funny! andrew just said the same thing. i bet hers tastes better! :)

    pat, thank you. the secretary is just kind of hanging out in the office. I decided not to paint it, but since the office is a bit of a work in progress, there isn't much to show. you'll find that my house projects tend to take for-ever, but i do get around to finishing things once in a while!


  6. How oldest son gave me Ina's book How Easy is That PLUS a giant canister of Starbucks hot cocoa for Christmas! Guess they must be meant for each other. Your food photos DO look delicious....gotta ask - what's your camera and what's your photo editing software?? Sorry if you have answered that in an earlier post.

  7. What a combination! How could you go wrong with Ina and Starbucks?! This bread looks delicious!

  8. thanks, kelly! i use a nikon D300. 99% of the time i do not edit b/c i just don't have the time with a toddler in my life. the photos in this post were not edited at all. when i do edit i use iphoto on my mac. i did get photoshop for christmas and really want to learn how to use it. we'll see. i think great food shots are all about good natural light.

    ps. you got a great son!! what good taste!! :)

  9. Perfect morning! Ina is great and that cake looks amazing!

  10. The lemon cake looks so yummy. We have a lemon tree with lots of lemons so I will have to try this recipe. I love Ina and Starbucks too!! Your photos are lovely.

  11. OMG what I would give for a piece of this right this minute...LOVE lemon bread!
    Ina and Starbucks are two of my faves:)

  12. Have you tried her Sour Cream Coffee Cake? Delicious!

  13. Your blog is such a happy place! I've tried several of your recipes and now this lemon cake is a must do this week!!! Over the summer I kinda hit a brick wall with home projects...lack of motivation...burnout...but I'm soooo reinvigorated by your blog, Tessa! My sewing machine is out, my paint chips are up and I have a new apron!!!
    xo, Michelle
    P.S. Thank you for your kind comment on my son's new bed =)

  14. Great recipe! Ina has a big presence in our home. You can find one of her cookbooks as a constant in my kitchen. I think we are probably related ... distantly :)


  15. Are you kidding me Tessa... That looks AMAZING! I wish we were neighbors!!!!!! We could cook & eat all day long! Shhhh Ina's my BFF {yes besides my mom}... She just doesn't know it yet. lol Thanks for sharing! xoxo, Alexandra

  16. I love anything Ina does.....from way back I loved her kitchen and wanted mine to look like hers. I have a couple of her cookbooks. She's great. And anything lemon? I love it! Happy Monday, Tessa!

  17. I'm a sucker for anything lemon! I actually made lemon chicken tonight. A slice of that now would be perfect.

  18. I am trying Ina's roasted broccoli tonight. Love her style and yours!

  19. Yummmmm! I'm so not a baker (especially gluten free baking), but that sounds delicious!

    Can't wait to see what you decide about your counter tops.


  20. Beautiful photos! The 3rd one is particularly wonderful.
    I like Ina Garten too and have a couple of her cookbooks. We don't have extended cable, so I can't see her program on TV. But I love her books.

  21. Thanks for your beautiful pictures of lemons and your lemon cake, such great comfort dessert. A Happy New Year to you, and to us many more lovely posts from you.


  22. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and the beautiful photos. My older son had a snow day today. So while he a his brother played outside and made a snow fort, I made this recipe while listening to your playlist. It came out delicious and both my boys liked it! I really enjoy your blog. Thanks again!

    Kate in Maine

  23. I love Ina too!!! We are having an Ina-inspired cocktail party at our house tomorrow night!

  24. kate! i love that! so glad your boys were fans of the cake too!! xo

  25. Tessa - as you must know from reading my blog, I'm a HUGE Ina fan. Did you see my post from our East Hampton trip? We sat next to Ina's table at dinner one night!

    I highly recommend taking a little trip to East Hampton - it really is as wonderful as she makes it out to be!