The Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake I Can’t Stop Baking

move over, banana bread.

I read last week that King Arthur Flour’s sales were up 2000% in March. We be bakin’ through this quarantine! You know I love a good #SundayBaking session, and during my time at home this month I’ve also gotten into Tuesday Baking, Thursday Baking… you get the idea. One of the recipes I keep coming back to is this lemony turmeric tea cake by the cooking queen of quarantine, Alison Roman.

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You don’t need any fancy kitchen tools to pull off this simple recipe. (Besides a microplane* to zest the lemon.) Most of the ingredients are pantry/fridge staples. And it’s the perfect way to use up those lemons that are going bad in the back of the fridge. You know, the ones you bought to make hot lemon water every morning like a healthy, hydrated goddess? But you keep kicking off the day with iced coffee instead? Just me?

See also: the plain greek yogurt that I always buy, but we never eat. Hey, that’s in this recipe, too!

Basically, this lemony turmeric tea cake turns all my healthy intentions into dessert. Which is why, in the last two months, I’ve made it three times.

Where To Find It:

The recipe is from Alison’s bestselling cookbook, Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food For Having People Over*. You can also find it on New York Times Cooking, but if you’re not a subscriber, it’s hidden behind a paywall. Ordinarily, I would highly recommend ponying up for the cookbook and/or a @nytcooking subscription. However, in these times when we’re all stripping back to essentials, I’ll point you to the blog Every Little Crumb for the recipe. Farah shares an adaptation of the recipe, plus a breakdown of the ingredients and helpful baking tips to get the best results.

A few tips of my own after baking and eating three lemony turmeric tea cakes in the last 60 days:

• The lemons are top are purely for aesthetics. They make a lovely Instagram photo, but are not pleasant to eat. I find them to be bitter and rubbery, even when I slice them mandolin*-thin. Someone in the comments of the NYT recipe suggested using Meyer lemons, which I may try next time.

• You could skip the lemon slices and sprinkle the top with black and white sesame or poppy seeds. Or get creative with other fruit and berries. I had some blueberries in the fridge that were about to go bad, so I threw them on yesterday’s cake and it turned out great!

• Watch your bake time closely. It always takes longer than I think, and I have to check it several times between the 50-60 minute mark to make sure it’s done but not over-baked. If you keep it in there too long, it gets really dry. Toothpick test it, and take it out of the oven as soon as the toothpick comes out clean.

What are you guys baking in quarantine? I’d love to take on bread next. If you have any beginner bread recipes, please send them my way!

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  1. 4.27.20

    Just saved this one for my next baking adventure! So far I have made 2 batches of chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, zucchini bread, cinnamon bread, cornbread, and yesterday’s baking resulted in a strawberry bread i am a little nervous about trying because it looks not fully cooked in 1 section… Thanks! Excited to try this one next!