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Let’s Cook: Lutheran Lemon Ladies

Lemony Bundt Cake with Lemon Dream Glazing

In our home we have been welcoming spring with the fresh taste of lemons. Ah the color, size, and abundance of juice in handpicked Arizona lemons – there is simply nothing like it. The lemon box held center stage in our home thanks to two Lutheran Lemon Ladies. Did you know that there are Lutheran Lemon Ladies? Yep and they live right here in the Magic City! No matter how many lemons come rolling their way, they never get sour. But instead, they are inspired by lemons. In fact, they welcome lemons like the North Dakota prairie welcomes the clustered, ruffled blossoms of the lavender and white lilacs of Memorial Day.

They know that lemons, like lilacs, offer a fresh scent that is a true luxurious treat to the nostrils and hands. Take a walk down a lilac lined alley or street amid the cascading flowers, and you cannot help but smile. I have a feeling that the same is true when one comes across a grove of lemon trees, too. Recently, life threw at one of the Lutheran Lemon Ladies a ton of lemons. What to do? Well, after a short prayer and talk with the man above, she knew what to do. She knew that these lemons were meant to travel north, not just to merely keep her company on the journey home to the Peace Garden State, but for a deeper purpose.

In fact, she had a “fairly” good idea where these yellow citrus submarines should end up. With the scent of fresh lemons about her as she traveled, she let her mind be submerged with the idea of lemons making people happy, lemons doing good, lemons bringing people together, she went as far to even think that perhaps a lemon pie topped with a white fluffy meringue might cause people to think heavenly thoughts…oh my! Now this is a reason for one and all to love a Lutheran Lemon Lady.

Upon arriving in the Magic City, she was filled with excitement knowing that these transported lemons had a Lutheran purpose. As she passed by Scandinavian Park, her fingers tightly gripped the steering wheel as she was closing in on her target. Then she took a deep breath and the citrus fragrance brought her to her senses. She has been known to spark at times – but not now. She told herself “take it slow.” After all, these lemons are going to add great freshness to a Lutheran tradition.

As she strolled up North Hill, she pointed her car in the direction of another devoted Lutheran Lemon Lady. It was this lady who took the lemons into her kitchen and twirled the juice out of them. She created lemon waterfalls as the juices were transferred to containers- even Niagara Falls smiled at the flow she could trigger on the Dakota Plains.

Yes, we were fortunate to receive some of these lemons. We tried to be like the Lutheran Lemon Ladies and spread the goodness of lemons about the town. Our efforts included making lemon meringue pie and sharing it with neighbors. Next was homemade lemonade for the Heritage Singers Board meeting last Wednesday at band shell in Oak Park. However, the biggest smiles came when enough lemon Bundt cake was baked so each resident at Edgewood could savor a slice. Wow, and all of the above activities were done with physical distancing-we can be still be social, after all!

An even bigger Wow has been happening for several years with the Lutheran Lemon Ladies. Karen Krebsbach and Joylea Knutson are the harmonious Lutheran Lemon Ladies. For many years, Karen has brought back lemons from Arizona to be used for the mouth-watering lemon pies at the First Lutheran Food Stand at the North Dakota State Fair. Joylea puts in endless hours of juicing the lemons and freezing their goodness for a later use. Thank you, Karen and Joylea, for being good stewards of lemons. There will be no North Dakota State Fair this year due to Covid-19. Our family, like many others, will miss the delicious homemade pie created each year by hands at First Lutheran Church. Maybe we can hope for a curbside pie day at First Lutheran Church this summer. If this should happen, know that the lemon meringue pie will have quite story.

This recipe came from our family friend, Gladys Rust of Underwood. It was made several times in our home in an avocado-colored Bundt pan. It makes a high Bundt cake that can forage a crew. Add a dollop of glazing on the serving plate before placing the cake down, and then another drizzle on top make this cake wonderful. When sliced thin this will easily serve 20 people.

Lemony Bundt Cake with Lemon Dream Glazing

Cake

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups of sugar

6 large eggs

6 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons of grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon of lemon extract

3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup sour cream

Glaze

1/4 sour cream

3 tablespoon butter, room temperature

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

4 tablespoons lemon juice

3 teaspoons grated lemon zest

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-in Bundt pan.

In a large bowl, cream butter until fluffy and gradually add sugar beating until fluffy. Add egg 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in lemon juice, and extract. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream. Beat until just combined. With a knife, blend in lemon zest.

Pour into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean,

55-60 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cake will shrink away from sides of pan when cool.

For glaze, in a bowl, beat sour cream and butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat in lemon juice and zest. Drizzle over cake and use remaining glaze to plate cake. This glaze will keep for several days in the refrigerator.

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