Have you ever experienced the following? You come across a recipe that calls for some lemon or orange extract. You get excited, because you are sooo craving something citrusy right now. But then disappointment occurs – the cake you made just doesn’t have that kick you were hoping for.
Here’s the big secret – the absolute best way to get that flavor, in addition to using the juice from the lemon or orange, is to add the zest from the fruit.
Zest? You’re wondering. Yes! That outside, beautifully colored peel is what you want. You can get it with a zester (yep, real word) or a shredder. It is important not to shred or zest too deep because once you hit the white part (aka pith) it is bitter and will ruin the great flavor we all want from the zest.
How do we do this safely? How do you avoid the white when it’s just a millionth of a millimeter away from the much wanted zest?
Here’s a tip for you – gently use a grater or zester and don’t stay in one spot for too long. Keep moving. After you’ve zested a section there should still be a light color on the outside of the fruit instead of seeing white. At this point STOP and continue collecting more beautiful zest.
And a bit more about zest –
Fresh juice and zest has a WAY stronger kick than extract or those bottles stuff from the store shelf. Looking for that real flavor? The real is the way to go. Stick to fresh.
Tip: That juicy juice we love about the fruit, won’t work in your baking, way too much liquid there. So what to do? Roll it out in flour which helps absorb the extra liquid.
Same goes for frozen fruit. Although the liquid is frozen – you don’t want that liquid defrosting away in your cake. Take out the fruit some time before you plan on baking. Once it’s defrosted try to drain out as much liquid as you can.
Note: if your recipe calls for liquid (water, milk, etc), cut it down by ¼ if using fresh juice, since the fruit creates its own liquid (even after it’s drained).
Never enough ideas for an extra kick of flavor, right? Right 🙂
The always trusty GLAZE can never go wrong. Will add that burst of yumminess and beauty that will jump this cake up many many ranks. Here’s how:
In a bowl, put 1 cup of confectionery sugar
Add 2 TBSP of liquid and whisk until smooth. To be on the safe side, add 1 TSBP of liquid at a time, because adding too much can result in a glaze that is too liquidy and nearly impossible to fix.
Tip: Liquid can be whatever extract flavor you would like the glaze to be; you can also add zest, cocoa powderor instant coffee in lieu of some confectionery sugar. If you want a less intense flavor add water instead.
~Love From Our Kitchen to Yours
A Taste of Home in Israel