One summer I hosted a Shabbat dinner in my home for three German delegates from the American Jewish Committee’s Adenauer exchange – Matthias, Lucas, and Melanie. During dinner, Melanie told us a brief story about how she came to have the recipe for this lemon cake. In a subsequent letter, she shared with me both the recipe itself and the incredible story of how the recipe prompted her grandmother to reveal a long-held family secret.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan with coconut oil or spray.
- Combine all of the dough ingredients in a 2-quart mixing bowl and gently knead with your fingers until the dough forms a ball. If needed, add a small amount of additional water until dough is moist and holds together.
- Divide the dough into 3/4 and 1/4. Cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 20 minutes to let the dough rest.
- Roll the larger piece of dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper into a circle that is about 1/8-inch thick. Remove one piece of paper and then flip the dough into the pan, centering the dough as best you can.
- Gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Place pan in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- Combine all of the ingredients for the filling and spread onto the dough in the pan.
- Roll out the remaining dough into a rectangle and cut 1/2-inch strips of dough with a knife or decorative pastry wheel.
- Place strips of dough crisscrossed across the filling pressing the ends into the side rim of dough to seal. Brush with some egg yolk to glaze.
- Place the cake pan into a COLD oven and then turn the temperature to 350°F.
- Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
Cake may be served warm or at room temperature.