Hye Thyme Cafe: Lemon Thyme Cake (and my first time making or playing with fondant)

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lemon Thyme Cake (and my first time making or playing with fondant)

Hye Thyme Cafe: Lemon Thyme Cake

I have been thinking about trying fondant for a while now, and was just reading up on it the other day. When my sister mentioned that she was thinking about trying it, I had to laugh because that was the day I was reading about it. I was thinking that if she tried it starting from marshmallows, I would make a batch from scratch so we could compare, but when I walked in the kitchen this afternoon, there were a bazillion marshmallows, so I did it that way.

As far as the cake goes, never having used fondant, I wanted to make sure I had a "sturdy" structure, so I opted to bake a cake rather than trying it with a mix. When it comes to baking, I usually make Paklava, Kadayif, Cookies, Pies, etc. I've probably only ever made six cakes in my life, and four of those were out of a box, so my cake baking experience is slightly above nil. I hit the jackpot with this one! It's so good, I've already been asked to bake it again for Easter. 😄

I flipped through my recipe cards and saw a Lemon Cake. It must have been in there for a good 20 years or so without having been tried, because there was no reference to where it came from. I saw Thyme in the fridge and figured since the title of my blog is the Hye Thyme Cafe, it was High Time I actually did something that called for Thyme! So, I added the thyme and changed up a bunch of other stuff to come up with an awesome cake! The original recipe called for three 6x3x2 loaf pans, but because my object was to make fondant, I went for two rounds and doubled the recipe (this IS doubled, so don't think you need to do that). I baked a scoop of the batter in a small ramekin as a sample, so now that I know how good it is, the finished covered cake is calling out to me from across the room! Can't wait to get to work tomorrow so I can cut into it!

For the fondant, you'll have to refer to my friend DeeDee's blog, DDPie's Slice, since that's the one I used. Check out her stuff. She's crazy good at cakes!! The only thing I did different was the flavoring. I opted for 1t vanilla and 2t lemon since the cake is lemon.

2 c sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
4 eggs
1/2 c plain yogurt
4 T water
1 T lemon extract
2 T lemon juice
4 T lemon zest
2 T fresh thyme
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 box (4 serving) white chocolate instant pudding mix
1/4 c milk (if needed)

1/2 c sugar
1/4 c lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 and spray two 8" round cake pans with Baking Pam.  

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in the eggs, one at a time.  

Stir in the yogurt, water, extracts, zest, and thyme. **NOTE: When it came to the thyme, I didn't have enough fresh, so I added a little dried thyme. I rubbed it between my fingers to activate the oils and then rubbed it into the lemon zest.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix and blend until smooth. 

The batter will be pretty thick when you're done, but because it was sooooo thick at that point, it made me nervous. The pudding mix was one of the things I had added to the recipe. Some recipes require an extra egg when you do that, but others don't, so I just added a 1/4 c milk - mostly because I was out of yogurt.

The funny thing is that when I posted my yogurt recipe, someone asked what the shelf life is, so I set aside a tiny portion from my first batch to test that. I have already gone through that batch and made more, so I used the end of my last batch and realized there wasn't enough left, so I had to resort to my lab experiment from my first batch. Guess I'll have to start over again with a test from my next batch - making it again tomorrow already. That's good stuff!

Anywho ... distribute the batter between your two prepared pans and bake for about 45". When the top is an even golden brown and it just starts to hint at pulling away from the sides of the pan, give it the old toothpick test. The original recipe in the three 6x3x2 loaf pans called for 30-35", but mine definitely wasn't done then!

When you take it out of the oven, pour 1/2c sugar and 1/4 c lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat just until it starts to boil. Remove it from the heat and poke a bunch of holes in the top of your cakes with a toothpick, then spoon the syrup over it. They can cool right in the pans. I covered them with plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight to make and apply the fondant today. Just remember that if you plan to use fondant, you still need a thin layer of icing over your cake first.  

Whatever you do, just have fun with it, and MAKE SURE YOUR HANDS ARE WELL GREASED!! I apparently wasn't lubed up enough when I first started kneading my fondant and had to call for help. I was stuck to the counter like superglue and had to laugh loud enough for my sister to hear me down the hall and come release me! 😲

It all worked out in the end, but when I did my first "frame" for one of my little tea set figures, I thought "What kind of idiot am I?!" This is my first time using fondant and I do cutouts that stretch when I try to pick them up and others that have points and tiny pieces. A normal person would have started with some geometric shapes or something. I didn't have any fluted square cutters, so I used a pastry wheel for the frames. The little cookie cutters were a set I picked up years ago but hadn't gotten around to using yet. Took me a while to figure out what the coffee mug was. I kept turning it the other way trying to imagine it as some sort of container. 

Well dang, Dee Dee ... I was just bragging about your cakes, wandered over to your blog and see a bunch of your pics are missing. What's up with that?!? 😢  Definitely go check out her Witch's Kitchen, St. Patty's Day (hysterical!), Hair Salon, and Fire Helmet cakes!!! She has even more stuff posted over on Bakespace. If you like what you see (and you will), check out her album there.

By the way, the sample of the cake we tried last night was soooo good, we were very excited to have to slice the tops off the rounds to level them today so we could sneak another taste!  Shhhh! 😉

(Don't mind the messy ramekin. I had a brain fart and forgot to spray it first, so I just scooped out the batter and sprayed over whatever was still there. It popped out just fine. Love the little flecks of thyme.)


  1. I still can't believe this was your first time! You definitely have to do this again, you're a natural girl. As for my pics, sorry, but I was moving stuff around in flickr and broke some links :( I'll get that fixed asap, I promise LOL


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