While I didn’t think it was possible, this cake from Lemon-sugar literally did put me into labor. There I was, at 38 weeks pregnant, feeling miserable and uncomfortable, hoping that our baby would be born before New Years since our insurance deductible and out-of-pocket max was 100% met and our little girl would be a nice tax break for us (let’s be real, I’m sure any mom would do the same). I started Googling non-tantalizing ways to induce labor, when I came across this labor-inducing lemon cupcake recipe! I was surprised that it seemed so easy (and tasty!), it didn’t involve consuming 7 pineapple cores, drinking a nasty tea or downing a shot of castor oil (which could result in explosive diarrhea during labor), so how could self-inducing labor seem so sweet?
I’ll tell you. The secret may have been the labor process and not the actual consuming of the lemon cake. This recipe took me about 3 hours to make. It involved standing for long periods of time, inhaling citrusy deliciousness, and LOTS of zesting, juicing, and slicing of lemons!!! My intention was to make this as a cake, eat a few slices, and hopefully go into labor within a few days, but not even 5 minutes after I finished frosting the cake, I felt a GUSH and realized my water had broken. I didn’t even get to try the cake! This was Saturday at about 3:30pm.
It was all a blur from there. My husband, being the trooper that he is, scrambled through the house packing up his suitcase and arranging for our toddler to be watched while I sat on the toilet, anxiously wondering if the baby was going to come out right then and there. I’ve watched too many Youtube labor videos haha.
We finally arrived at the hospital about half an hour later, and the nurse confirmed that my water had broken, and I was induced from there (Pitocin is of the devil, seriously) and our little girl was born on Sunday morning just before 7am!
So here’s the recipe that started it all. It was originally designed to make 6-12 cupcakes, but I halved the recipe and made this small cake with it instead, which is the recipe shared below. For safety purposes, I do not recommend making this recipe prior to 38 weeks gestationally. Best of luck and let me know how it goes!
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (2-4 lemons, depending on size)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Syrup Ingredients:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup white/granulated sugar
1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
1 2/3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered/confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare an 8 inch round cake pan by lightly spraying it with a cooking spray of your choice.
Cream the butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, and lemon zest.
In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In another bowl, combine lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla.
Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk mixture alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the lemon syrup. This will add moisture to the cake.
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottom pan over low heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently.
After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, spoon the syrup over the tops of the cake.
Then allow cake to cool completely before glazing and frosting.
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth.
Using the back of a large spoon, smooth some glaze over the top of the cake.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and salt for about 30 seconds.
Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and lemon juice and beat 5-6 minutes until frosting is fluffy.
If desired, add some yellow (gel or icing) food coloring.
Add to piping bag and frost as desired.
Sprinkle with yellow sugar pearls, sugar, or a thin lemon slice for decoration.
*Prep time includes zesting and juicing the lemons while being super tired, trying to entertain a toddler with a tantrum, sitting down every 20 minutes from the joint pains, and being heavily burdened with BELLY.
*You can also make 6-12 cupcakes with this recipe.
Let me start by saying how much I despise gluten-free food. The taste – just yuck!! I feel so bad for people who have Celiac or gluten intolerance, like my poor husband, who can no longer enjoy the best tasting foods (according to my tastebuds haha)! At first I thought he was high maintenance when we were dating, I would invite him over for dinner and he had special dietary needs and it was so overwhelming needing to make a gluten-free version of everything I cooked.
I’ve seen the effects that gluten consumption have on my husband, along with a few of my nieces and nephews, and I have since changed my mindset so I could be more accommodating and sensitive to their needs. I know they absolutely hate how their bodies react to grains, and I know their hearts break when they go to social and family events and someone busts out a plate of warm homemade chocolate chip cookies, or orders a pizza that they just can’t have – it’s gotta be tough. I’ve tasted a few gluten free foods in my life – like cookies, bread, etc. and I wanted to cry – everything has a tasteless grainy mashed potato after-taste.
Because I love my husband and my nieces and nephews so much and am trying to do better at providing gluten-free options for our home cooked meals, I thought I’d try a few recipes that had hundreds of reviews and high ratings. Here’s one of the first recipes I found, a gluten free sandwich bread recipe. Originally adapted from the Meaningful Eats blog, I tested out this recipe and my hubby really liked it! He’s had his fair share of gluten free store-bought and homemade breads and has just not found one he really likes – until now.
I admit the original sandwich bread recipe was a bit grueling to make – I mean, who has almond flour and psyllium husk readily available in their pantry?? I was a bit surprised that I did (don’t ask LOL). And after I tried the recipe and got Hubby’s full approval, I took it a step further and decided to make it into a cinnamon raisin bread. And for someone who absolutely hates the taste (and even the thought) of gluten free foods, I admit this was delicious! So here’s my tried-and-true Cinnamon Raisin Gluten Free Bread recipe, let me know what you think! For best results, make sure to use Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour. Also, make sure to follow the recipe exactly as I did it, and if you have a bread maker, it’s best to let the bread rise inside the bread pan and then set it to a timed option without the entire bread-making process. So here we go!
2 additional tablespoons Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour
Grease a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan or the bread-maker pan (remove mixer attachment prior, it is not needed for this recipe).
Combine the ingredients for the yeast mixture and whisk together. Let it sit for 5 minutes or so while you make the dough (I recommend putting it in a large bowl so it doesn't spill over)
In a medium bowl, combine the baking flour, almond flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat on medium until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
In a glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup water with the psyllium husk powder and flaxseed meal. Whisk until totally smooth and let sit for 1-3 minutes before adding it to the dough.
Slowly add the flour mixture to the eggs, followed by the butter, yeast mixture, and flaxseed mixture. Beat on medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough will resemble cookie dough and be very sticky. Add 2 tablespoons of the Bob's Red Mill flour and mix for another minute.
Scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top with wet hands if needed.
Baking via oven/loaf pan:
If you're baking this via oven, preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place the loaf in the warm oven and let rise for 10 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven and let rise for another 20 minutes on the counter. During this time, preheat the oven to 375F. The bread will not rise tall like regular bread, but should rise a few inches to about the top of the pan.
Bake the bread for 35-45 minutes, until the internal temperature registers 200F on an instant-read thermometer or until the top is golden and seems firm when tapped.
Baking via bread maker:
If you're using a bread maker, scrape the dough directly into the loaf pan that fits into the bread maker. Cover with a clean towel and let it sit on the countertop for 3 hours to allow dough to rise.
Place bread pan into your bread maker and select the custom timed feature that allows you to bake your bread in increments of 10 minutes. Bake the bread for 3 cycles of 10 minutes or until the loaf is golden on top or firm when tapped.
Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool for at least another 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!