Toasted Fennel-Lemon Cake
Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan; set pan aside. In a small skillet or saucepan, heat and stir fennel seeds over medium heat about 2 minutes or until fragrant; cool. Crush slightly with a mortar and pestle (if available). Set fennel aside. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.Advertisement
In a very large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add the 2 cups sugar, beating about 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Using a wooden spoon, stir in fennel seeds, lemon peel, the 1/2 cup lemon juice and the coconut.
Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake in a 350°F oven 55 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan heat and stir the 1/4 cup sugar and the 2 tablespoons lemon juice over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
Invert cake onto wire rack set over a shallow baking pan; remove pan. Poke holes with a wooden toothpick or skewer into top of cake. Spoon glaze over cake. Cool thoroughly. If you like, garnish with candied lemon slices before serving.
If substituting regular lemons, decrease peel to 2 tablespoons.
To make Candied Lemon Slices, in a large skillet, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water; bring to boiling. Add 2 thinly sliced lemons. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until slices are just softened. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.