Lori Longbotham

Books: Cookbooks | Desserts

Luscious Lemon Desserts (2001)

Luscious Lemon DessertsFor the past couple of years I have been searching for the perfect lemon cake recipe. As a rule I prefer cakes from scratch, but when it comes to lemon cake, none of the cakes I made seemed quite as good. In my quest I've ended up with several cookbooks on baking and cakes. I've found several recipes that were good, but not quite what I wanted. So when I came across Luscious Lemon Desserts I figured that if I was ever going to find the perfect lemon cake recipe, it was going to be here.

I did try her recipe for "Ultimate Lemon Pound Cake" and despite several problems, it was good. Possibly as close as I'm going to get. Once I got past that I started really looking at the other recipes in the book, and I realized that everything looked really good.

However, there is one major flaw in this book, which I discovered when I went to make the "Ultimate Lemon Pound Cake." For some unknown reason, in the ingredient list she lists the total amount of each ingredient needed. So for the pound cake the recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups sugar: 1 3/4 cups for the cake and the remaining 1/2 cup in the lemon syrup. Needless to say I put the full 2 1/4 cups into the cake, because I don't read recipes carefully, but instead scan through them. Luckily the cake turned out well, but it was still frustrating.

But now I know that I have to read the recipes carefully, so I haven't messed up anything since. Which is good, because there are some fantastic recipes in here.

The Lemon Mousse recipe is quite good, although it tasted a lot like the topping of a lemon bar, which was god but not what I expected. When I run across some other types of lemons I'm going to see if that makes a difference in the flavor.

I'm particularly fond of "Jerry's Summer Cheesecake." Actually, fond isn't a strong enough word for what I feel about this dessert. I think I could eat the whole thing in its entirety if given half a chance. I say whole thing because I modified the recipe. It calls for dividing the cake into six ramekins, but I put the whole thing into a souflee pan and spoon out the portions and it's just fine. Well, better than find. Especially when served over fresh strawberries. And I bet fresh raspberries would be just as good.

The book has plenty of full page color pictures, which I absolutely love in cookbooks--especially dessert cookbooks. There's nothing like seeing a dessert to convince you to try a recipe. And despite the fact that some of the pictures are foofy, they don't seem beyond what a reasonable baker could achieve (unlike "Baking with Julia Child," a book I love to flip through to oggle the pictures, but as far as making a recipe... way too daunting.)

In addition to every single recipe being lemon flavored (yum!) there are a number of recipes that look perfect for summer. Cake and cookies are okay, but I prefer my desserts to be either hot or cold. (Or both at the same time, like hot brownies with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.) Aside from the whole ingredient listing thing (which annoys me), the recipes are clear, concise, and easy to follow.

If you like lemon desserts, then this is the book for you. The recipe for "Summer Cheesecake" alone is worth the price.