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Dolce al Limone di Mamma Agata

  • 300 gr or 1 ¼ cups sugar
    250 gr or 2 sticks butter (1/2 lb), PLUS an additional 1.5 Tablespoons butter, to grease the pan
    4 eggs
    Grated zest of 2 large lemons (4 lemons, if small)
    A pinch Sea salt
    300 gr or 2 cups “00” Flour
    16 gr or 2 tablespoons of Pan degli Angeli
    Italian baking powder
    125 ml or 1/2 cup whole milk
    50 gr or ¼ cup hazelnuts (finely chopped and toasted)

Lemonade Mixture:
300 ml or 1 ¼ cups water
Juice of 3 lemons
8 Tablespoons sugar


Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Whip the butter in a mixing bowl on high speed for at least two minutes.

Mamma Agata’s Secret
Mamma Agata uses an electric mixer (with the rotating mixing bowl) for best results.

Add the sugar and continue to whip until a soft cream forms.
Mix the baking powder into the flour and set aside.

Mamma Agata’s Secret
Mamma Agata uses very fine flour (type “00” in Italy) for all of her recipes. Also, note that you do NOT need to sift type “00” flour.

Add the following ingredients to the mixing bowl, one at a time, and blend after each:
1. Eggs, one at a time
2. Salt
3. Grated lemon zest
Alternate adding and blending the following ingredients into the
mixing bowl
4. Flour and baking powder mixture
5. Milk

In other words, add one quarter of the flour and blend; then, add one quarter of the milk and blend. Repeat this process until all of the flour and milk are blended into the batter.

Mix the ingredients on medium speed for about five minutes until the texture of the batter has a light and airy consistency (similar to a mousse).
NOTE: Do not beat the batter for longer than five minutes after adding the baking powder.
Coat the surface of the fluted pan with butter before dusting it with flour. Shake off any excess flour before adding your cake batter to the pan.
NOTE: This step creates a non-stick surface so that the cake will easily release from the pan and retain its shape. Pour the batter into your greased and floured pan.

Mamma Agata’s Secret
Mamma Agata uses a fluted Bundt pan for best results.
Bake the cake in the pre-heated oven for forty minutes at 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Mamma Agata’s Secret
Do not open the oven while the cake is baking or it will not rise

While the cake is baking in the oven, prepare the lemonade mixture as follows:
1. Squeeze the lemons into a pitcher (or other container from which you can easily pour the lemonade mixture later).
2. Add the sugar to the lemon juice.
3. Mix until the sugar is fully dissolved in the lemon juice.
4. Add the water.

Once the lemon cake is finished baking, let it sit for two hours outside the oven to bring it to room temperature.

Mamma Agata’s Secret
Now it is time to add the lemonade mixture to the cake – that is what makes it so moist.
Before we start this process, we want to ensure that the cake does NOT stick to the pan. In getting it to room temperature, the butter has solidified and that means there is a risk that the cake will stick to the pan. Here is the process just to ensure it does NOT stick to the pan before we proceed:

1. Place a plate on top of the pan.
2. Tip the pan over and carefully shake the cake out of the pan.
3. Immediately, place the cake pan back onto the cake
4. Carefully turn the pan back over.
5. Remove the plate to expose the cake.

This will seem like we have done nothing, but what we have done is to ensure that the cake will not stick later when we are ready to plate it.

NOTE: If the cake does seem like it wants to stick, you will need to place the cake back in the oven for a few minutes, just to warm the butter, and it will release from the pan easily. When you pour the lemonade on the cake, there is a special process to ensure this is as effective and consistent as possible
1. Over thirty minutes: Slowly pour a little bit of the lemonade mixture all over the cake in the pan every ten minutes (i.e. three times in total). This will allow the cake to absorb the lemonade mixture very slowly. You should NOT have used all of the lemonade mixture at this point.
2. After thirty minutes, tip the lemon cake onto a serving plate and add the remaining lemonade to the top of the cake, distributing it evenly all over the cake.
3. NOTE: If you feel that the cake is still too dry, you may make a little more of the lemonade.

Mamma Agata’s Secret
We recommend this process so that when you flip the cake out of the
pan onto a serving plate, the bottom will be just as moist as the top of the cake.

Garnish the cake with finely chopped hazelnuts and enjoy!

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