Cranberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Icing

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I got attacked by a seagull. And I do not use the term "attacked" lightly. It was Hitchcockian.

Let me tell you what happened. And then we'll talk about cranberry lemon loaf.

I was starving after my Sunday yoga class. I thought I'd stroll through the bustling Granville Island market, and find something for lunch. I did. I found a delicious bratwurst with sauerkraut, fried onions and spicy mustard. Bratwurst in hand and not a seat to be found, I thought, "why not go eat on the dock?". Live music, a nice view of the boats, and a momentary break in the rain. So off I bounced toward the wet benches, ponytail swinging happily behind me.

About 20 steps onto the slippery landing, a deafening screech ripped through the air. I barely had time to emit a gurgling scream of horror as a seagull the size of a twenty-five pound turkey dive-bombed my bratwurst. His evil razor sharp beak was wide open, tongue vibrating with the piercing shriek, evil beady eyes bulging, ugly pink feet scraping my head as he went in for the kill.

Now, I am not one you want to tussle with over food. I take it very seriously. My limbs still agile from seventy-five minutes of downward dogging, I managed a wild and dramatic twirl and duck.

Bratwurst safety secured? Negative.

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The screeching, flapping, terrorizing gull did a wide circle and swooped once more. I attempted to dive out of the way, but my foot slipped on the wet pier and I felt myself sailing through the air, ass-over-teakettle.

Sauerkraut flying in all directions, I went soaring in slow motion past a crowd of stunned faces until I collided brains-first with the wood, followed by my elbow and hip.

I suppose I could have protected my head by landing hands-first, but in that split second I decided my sausage was more important than my melon.

When I eventually recruited the strength and courage to peel myself off the gull-poop splattered dock, the musician had stopped playing. Everywhere I looked, people were gaping. My drink had exploded all over me, and I had fried onions in my hair. The good news is, my clever instinct to save the bratwurst by smooshing it heartily into my chest was successful, except my white coat was well-smeared with spicy mustard.

Humiliated and in pain, I limped past my captive audience back inside and plunked my dirty ass down at a table already occupied with a family of tourists who were made very obviously anxious by my crazy-eyed, sauerkraut-smelling presence. I ate my smushed-up bratwurst while they stared bewilderedly and whispered rapidly in what I think was Ukranian.

Not one, but TWO families were documenting the incident with handycams. One lady even came in for a closeup of the mustard smear. I will be obsessively searching for "crazy sausage lady attacked by seagull" on Youtube for the next few weeks.

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Let me just tell you, dear seagulls: this is not over.

In this war of Jenn vs. bird, and you should be shaking on your knobbly little pink legs.

I swear on my now birdpoop-streaked yoga pants that if I had a gun, I would be limping back to Granville Island right now to get myself the makings for seagull pot pie.

Instead I am icing an ugly bruise, muttering bitterly about birds, and drinking wine at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Ahem.

One day, gulls, I will get even. Watch your beaks.

Okay, now let's talk about lemon cake with cranberries and lemon icing.

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With it's upbeat yellow hue and bright flavour, this cake is pure sunshine on a gloomy Vancouver day. It is almost cheery enough to offset the emotional damage inflicted by a seagull attack.

I used meyer lemons (which are slightly sweeter than regular lemons, rounder in shape, and more orange in colour), but you can use standard lemons with equally wonderful results. I adore tart lemon desserts, but if your tastes err on the sweeter side, you may opt to reduce the cranberries to 1 cup or omit them completely.

For a moist, well-risen, perfect cake, be sure your ingredients are all at room temperature; measure your flour accurately by gently spooning and leveling (rather than scooping, which will cause a dry cake); preheat your oven fully; and be gentle when folding in the cranberries.

  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 12Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • For Glaze:
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan, or line with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Set this aside as well.

  2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

  3. Reduce mixer speed and alternatively beat in 1/3 of flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of sour cream mixture, and repeat, ending with the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Be sure to pause the mixer occasionally to scrape down sides of the bowl. Use a spatula to gently fold in cranberries.

  4. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 55-60 minutes, until top springs back when lightly pressed or a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.

  5. To make glaze, whisk together lemon juice and confectioners' sugar until there are no lumps. Drizzle over cooled cake.