meyer lemon almond cake

Life has gotten back into a routine again this week, after a relaxing but all-too-short Christmas and New Years holiday. I’m not sure how well my family has adjusted, but we’re working on it. My daughter is trying to get back into the rigors of first grade, crazy reading and math homework and all. My son keeps asking, “Is tomorrow a stay-home day?” so I know he’s not yet ready to give up on vacation time. My husband and I head out the door each morning, after not quite enough sleep and entirely too little caffeine, but ready to begin a full day at the office (him) or hospital (me).

As hard as it is to recover from restful time off with my family, I look forward to getting back into the swing of things when January rolls around. I love filling out my new calendars with all the exciting things coming up in the year ahead. This year I’m headed to a couple of food blogging conferences (FoodBlogSouth and BlogHer Food), my husband and I are taking a child-free vacation to New York City in March, and we’re working on planning a beach vacation in July with some good friends. And there will be Disney trips. There always are.

I love writing these events on my calendar – always in ink, never in pencil. Writing in pen seems to make these little bright spots permanent in my life.

One of the best parts of 2010 for me was cultivating old friendships and developing new ones.  I’ve made so many new friends through this world of food blogging, food writing, and food photography. It’s been such a blessing to find others out there, with such a wide variety of backgrounds, but who all have a passion for creativity and for food – either through preparing it, writing about it, photgraphing it, or growing it. I’m so grateful to have this in my life.

One of the bright spots that ended up on my calendar in ink recently was a Champagne and Desserts cocktail party thrown by two of our good friends here in town. It was such a wonderful gathering of people, and such a fantastic idea for a cocktail party (so great, in fact, that I may steal the idea some time.). My contribution to the dessert list was a Meyer lemon almond cake.

Almond paste is the key in this recipe. Opening that little can releases the sweet scent of almonds, and I’m always reminded of marzipan. This has become one of my favorite cakes to make – it’s so easy, and the flavors only seem to improve with a day or so of age.

I’ve been on a little Meyer lemon kick lately (you remember this and this, don’t you?), so of course I had to find a way to work a couple of those fruit into this cake. I adapted the original cake recipe by adding Meyer lemon zest and a bit of lemon extract. And, to really go out on a limb, I topped the cake with a Meyer lemon glaze. Can’t have too much lemon, right?

At that cocktail party, as I held a glass of bubbly in one hand and looked around the room, I was so happy to be able to share the evening – and that cake – with friends, both old and new. 2011 is going to be one heck of a good year. I can feel it.

Meyer Lemon Almond Cake

This recipe is adapted from and inspired by this one from David Lebovitz. This cake is just as good, if not better, on the second day.


Ingredients for Cake

1 1/3 cup (265 g) sugar
8 ounces (227 g) almond paste
3/4 cup (105 g) plus 1/4 cup (35 g) all purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
7 drops orange flower water (optional)
Zest of 2 Meyer lemons
6 large eggs, room temperature

Ingredients for Meyer Lemon Glaze

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch diameter spring form pan, dust with flour, and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup (105 g) flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup (35 g) flour until the almond paste is finely ground and the mixture resembles sand. Add the cubes of butter, the extracts, the orange flower water, and the Meyer lemon zest. Process until the batter is smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, processing a bit before the next addition, scraping down bowl as needed.

Transfer the batter to a large mixing bowl and add the flour mixture. Mix by hand until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Do not overmix. Pour batter into prepared spring form pan and bake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press in the center.

Remove cake from oven and run a sharp serrated knife around the perimeter, loosening the cake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely in pan; once cool, remove sides of spring form pan and invert cake onto rack. Remove bottom of spring form pan and parchment paper from the cake. Carefully turn cake back over and onto a cake plate for serving.

While cake is cooling, make Meyer lemon glaze: In small bowl, mix confectioners sugar with lemon juice, adding more lemon juice if necessary to achieve the desired consistency (less juice for a thicker glaze; more juice for a thinner glaze). Once cake is cool and on cake plate for serving, drizzle glaze over cake. Serve and enjoy!

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25 Responses to “not in season: blueberry apple crisp”

  1. 1
    Lana — February 13, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

    Just like you, I try to cook with locally grown produce as much as I can (when I had a garden, it was heaven!), but the most important thing to me is how it tastes. It could be grown in my neighbor’s yard, organically, coddled and caressed every day, if it tastes bland – it’s out.
    I know that I can not find wild blueberries here in SoCal, and those are really the best – nothing can come even close. But I agree, when my kids ask for fruit and veggies, I indulge them.
    I have never made a crisp, or a cobbler, or a fool, even though I really like warm fruity desserts that are easy to make. Maybe yours is going to inspire me enough (I’ll just have to double up on those crunches:)
    Have a great Valentine’s Day!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:22 pm

      Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, Lana!

  2. 2
    Leigh — February 13, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

    Honestly, I care more about having what I want in ANY season than I do about where they were grown. That may be terrible, but I adore cooking with exotic ingredients that we just don’t HAVE around here. That being said, the Plant City strawberries that M picked up yesterday are already almost all gone. So I think it’s a balance. A delicious balance. 😉

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      That reminds me, I need to buy strawberries. 🙂

  3. Pingback: Tweets that mention not in season: blueberry apple crisp | the merry gourmet --

  4. 3
    Jean — February 13, 2011 @ 5:33 pm

    I love, love blueberries and I love using them in crisps like you do. I also like that you mixed in apples, another crisp favorite for me. Honestly, I don’t always have time to go to the Farmer’s Market on Sundays so I would say that some of my produce is not locally grown. I don’t mind it either.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

      I hear you on the time issue. Our Farmer’s Market is open on Mondays from 4-7, but if you don’t get there early, all the good stuff is gone. I can rarely get their before 6:30. Sometimes the grocery store is the only option.

  5. 4
    Kim - Liv Life — February 13, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    We try to buy local as well, but sometimes those berries just call our name. We are indeed lucky to be able to procure these out of season fruits just for that reason, and you used them well! We found some beautiful organic berries a few weeks back at Costco, and yes, ours were from Chile too. But I bought tons of them and have filled my freezer with zip bags of organic berries. Enjoy!

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 13th, 2011 @ 7:20 pm

      It’s hard to pass up a good deal in these days when we all need to stretch our dollars further. I think that buying in bulk – at Costco or somewhere similar – and freezing makes good sense. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 5
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — February 13, 2011 @ 8:36 pm

    Don’t worry, Love… we’ve all done the same thing. And it looks like you made the most of the situation with this terrific recipe. Such a comforting dish!

  7. 6

    What a perfect winter dessert! I do love locally grown produce but it is nice that Chili provides an alternative to get wonderful fruits and veggies when ours are not yet in season.

  8. 7
    Carrie Suvajdzic — February 14, 2011 @ 4:56 am

    Oh man that looks good! I love blueberries and can’t get those big sweet ones here where I am. I agree, too, that encouraging good eating habits in your kids takes precedence over a LOT of things.

    For me eating local is all about having a really big freezer and stocking up in season. You have to be on your toes during the growing season but it’s a lot cheaper that way. So when you go buy strawberries buy enough to last until next spring!

  9. 8
    Jason Phelps — February 14, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    I would have been mad as well. Luckily we had berries leftover from last year’s winemaking in the freezer. I used them a couple of times over the weekend. Made me yearn for fresh ones!


  10. 9
    Valerie Riley — February 14, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I want to try this recipe. We are huge blueberry fans! Brent’s dad owns an organic u-pick blueberry farm in Melrose. It is a great family atmosphere and my kids love going. I will let you know when it is time and perhaps you can join us out there for picking? We usually pick enough for the year. I am down to about 5lbs left, so it can’t get here fast enough for me! They usualy open Memorial Day. Thanks for this recipe! -V

  11. 10
    Jaclyn — February 14, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

    i hate getting fooled at the farmer’s market! i try to buy local produce from the farmer’s market, so it’s definitely a bit dissapointing to find out that what you thought was grown a few miles away was actually flown in. bummer indeed.

    but on the plus side, fruit crisps are probably the simplest, most delicious delivery system for fruit in the whole world! i love mine with lots and lots of freshly whipped cream on top.

  12. 11
    DessertForTwo — February 14, 2011 @ 11:49 pm

    I agree, I think you made the right call. If kids are reaching for antioxidant-rich blueberries, give ’em what they want. Maybe you could buy extra blueberries this summer and freeze them for future use? Sounds like a win-win situation!

  13. 12
    Lael Hazan @educatedpalate — February 15, 2011 @ 7:03 am

    Lovely dish and thought provoking post. Do we buy organic broccoli that has been harvested 10,000 miles away or do we buy from the conventional farm across the road? Difficult choices, at least we are thinking about them. It becomes even more daunting when we realize that some producers, i.e.: disreputable olive oils, will grow their product in one country and produce it in another.

  14. 13
    Aggie — February 15, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

    I buy those “winter haven” blueberries all the time! I have to go relook at my container Merry!!

    What a beautiful dessert. I can’t ever get enough blueberries. We are eating them like crazy lately since they have been on sale. We dipped them in chocolate last night, YUM!

  15. 14
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction — February 17, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

    I have pondered the same question… Living where I do in PA, there’s very little available between November and March that is fresh or local. Around this time of year, I usually get sick of eating out of the freezer and start to crave fresh fruits and veggies. Just last week, I bought some strawberries and blueberries that I knew weren’t local, but I just needed some fresh fruit. I do my best to eat local as much as I can, but sometimes I just have to let it go.

    This blueberry apple crisp looks wonderful! Now I’m wishing that I still had some of those blueberries from last week hanging around. 🙂

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 17th, 2011 @ 7:09 pm

      Jen – Sometimes we just have to give in to the beauty that lives in the produce section, right? Miss you!

  16. 15
    Joy — February 17, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    That looks wonderful. I love love blueberries.

    • mj (merry gourmet)

      mj (merry gourmet) replied: — February 17th, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

      Thanks, Joy!

  17. 16
    Lucy — February 18, 2011 @ 9:49 am

    I wouldn’t stress about those blueberries, either. And I’d buy a second pint to make blueberry scones. Love this crisp – I always have vanilla yogurt on hand, so I’d put a spoonful of yogurt on top.

  18. Pingback: some days you need pie: blueberry pie | The Merry Gourmet

  19. 17
    Beth — December 20, 2016 @ 4:07 pm

    Topping recipe is missing. Punted from your seasonal crisp topping recipe.

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