Sunday, January 27

What's More Fun Than Saying Lemonquat? Eating Coconut Lemonquat Tea Cake

Is there another name as fun to say as "kumquat"?

Yes. Lemonquat, limequat, and orangequat (also called mandarinquat).

I didn't make these up; they are citrus hybrids -- part kumquat and part lemon, lime, or orange, respectively.

fresh lemonquats and orangequats

Last year I shared a sensory experience of my first tart, lip-puckering kumquat. Ever since that day nearly two years, I anticipate kumquat season (which runs from January-May).

Imagine my excitement when a couple of weeks ago, I discovered mandarinquats on Eggbeater's delightful blog. I was determined to find them. Last Sunday, I did.

A soft-spoken, affable farmer named George T. Schnurer, who owns and operates Betty B's Ranch in Ramona, California, sells a wide variety of cheerful citrus, including orangequats, lemonquats, and di rigeur Meyer lemons.

Though the juicy sweet-tart orangequats have a robust orange flavor that I love, I am positively smitten with the lemonquats. You might expect given their name that lemonquats are overly sour or acidic. They aren't. Like lemon drops, they're rather sweet with hints of tartness.

Lemonquats like kumquats are entirely edible. Though wonderful raw, they're simply amazing in baked goods. Despite their playful name and unique flavor, there aren't too many recipes for lemonquats, that is, except for hard drinks. Since this is G- rated blog, I figured I'd do something more wholesome, like cake.

So I consulted the ultimate baking cookbook: Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. I used Dorie's basic Coconut Tea Cake, then flavored it with lemonquats (rind and pulp included), and drizzled it with a simple lemon icing, toasted coconut, and sliced lemonquats.

It was truly one of the most scrumptious cakes I've ever eaten. Biting into the slightly crunchy, sweet icing gave way to a fabulously moist, dense cake speckled with tiny bits of explosively flavored lemonquats. It's ideal for brunch or an afternoon snack since it's not overly sweet. Rest assured, however, the flavor will leave you sighing with contentment.

If you can't find lemonquats (they're grown primarily in California and have a heartbreakingly short season), then try which sells all types of produce online. Otherwise, I would suggest substituting Meyer lemons or regular lemons with a bit more sugar since they're not as sweet.

Coconut Lemonquat Tea Cake
Print recipe only here.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup canned unsweetened lite coconut milk, stirred well (or regular coc. milk)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
4 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 de-seeded lemonquats, with the rind, minced until pulpy, (about 1/4 cup), plus 1 tablespoon of lemonquat juice**
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

Icing and garnish:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
a few droplets of milk

1/4 cup shredded, sweetened coconut, toasted
2-3 lemonquats, thinly sliced and de-seeded

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter or coat with cooking spray a 9-10-inch Kugelhopf or Bundt pan. Dorie advises to not place the pan on a baking sheet, since you want the oven's heat to circulate through the inner tube.

To toast the coconut, place in a dry skillet over medium heat, and gently stir until aromatic and golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Keep your eye on it since it burns quite quickly!

In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, add the butter, and heat until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Remove from the heat but keep warm.

Working with a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, in a large bowl beat the eggs, sugar, and minced lemonquats with juice at medium-high speed until pale, thick and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and stopping just when the flour dissolves.

Keeping the mixer on low, add 1 cup of coconut, mixing only until blended, then slowly add the hot milk and butter. When the mixture is smooth, stop mixing, and stir it a couple of times with a rubber spatula to be sure it's throughly mixed. Pour the batter into the pan and gently shake it to even the batter.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool at room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the icing in a small bowl by whisking together 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice. Add a few droplets of milk and continue whisking until the icing is smooth and thin yet clings to the back of a spoon. When it's ready, pour it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any tiny clumps of confectioners' sugar (thanks, Mom!).

Unmold the cake, and place on a rack. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing in a back-and-forth pattern on the slightly warm cake. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of toasted coconut, and garnish with sliced lemonquats. Allow to set for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

**If you are unable to find lemonquats, then I suggest using sweet and tangy Meyer lemons or regular lemons sweetened with a little bit of sugar. I would mince 1/4 cup's worth of lemon pulp, the zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon juice, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Of course, you can make it sweeter if you like.

Coming soon to a Food Blogga near you:
Orangequat Muffins!

You might also like:
Date, Fennel, and Pistachio Scones
Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary and Lemon
Tuscan Torta di Mele (apple cake)

Other delicious lemon-y desserts I've seen:
Lemony Meyer Lemon Curd from Figs with Bri
Lemon Meringue Bars from Baking Bites
Citrus-Glazed Polenta Cake from Dulcedo

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Anonymous said...

You have access to some of the best produce! This looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

This cake sounds fabulous, and it looks so pretty!

The fact that you're able to find lemonquats and orangequats at your farmer's market makes me very envious. January in southern California sounds so much more appealing than January in Baltimore.

Manggy said...

Lemony treats all over the blogosphere today! :)
That is one pretty cake! I have not even seen a regular kumquat before, so I'm at an even bigger produce disadvantage than your other readers :/

Anonymous said...

I'm wanting all things "quat" now, after reading your post :)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Quat on Earth???!!! That cake looks like heaven! I will have to investigate these citrus hybrids.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Oh, you lucky lucky Californians, with your quats! I haven't seen these at all on the East Coast, but I'll try your cake with the regular Eureka lemons. Thanks for the inspiration.

Peter M said...

How cute! I'll be looking for these on the fruit stands.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

An amazing cake! What a great combination! I love anything citrusy!



Mike of Mike's Table said...

I never knew all these other -quats existed and will keep my eye out for them. The cake sounds delicious and I like how you used the lemonquat slivers as a garnish on top. I'll have to give this or something like it a shot while the citrus season is here...

Rachel said...

Darn you Californians and your wacky fruit! It will be ages before us East Coasters discover the joys of the various 'quats.

Anonymous said...

Ooh... I'm so jealous! I can get kumquats, but lemonquats? Orangequats? *sigh*

Wonderful post and gorgeous-looking cake!

Finla said...

Wow they just look so delicious. Yummy

cookiecrumb said...

OMG, Food Bloggaquat!

Karyn said...

Sometimes I don't bother to bake because its like a science project adjusting everything for the high elevation here, but for this I am going to get out my trusty little calculator and do the math! It looks so awesome and sounds so yummy and refreshing. Thank you!

Julie said...

I just found Meyer lemons in my grocery store for the first time this year, so I am going on a citrus binge. I would love to taste a lemonquat! This cake is very similar to some muffins I am going to bake this afternoon with my lemons. I wish I could taste yours!

Anonymous said...

Delicious! What funny names, I only knew limquat and kumquat.

Le Flâneur Novice said...


The name sounds so brisk!

Reminds anything refreshing.

Im not sure if we have kumquats/or lemonquats here, but I 'have to' look for!

Deborah said...

Your cake is absolutely gorgeous!

Nora B. said...

oh wow, that's so cool! i want some lemonquat, limequat, and orangequat! Alas, I will have to settle for kumquats.... I can't remember when the season was for kumquats. I usually make a compote. Your tea cake does look for scrumptious. Waiting eagerly for the muffins!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Now I'm longing to find the lemonquat! This sounds just about divine. And looks it also.

Anonymous said...

Looks familiar! ;-) Can't wait to try it!

Mishmash ! said...

Truly informative post for me...I have never tasted these....and i did like the idea of using them for flavoring the cakes

Mishmash ! said...

Truly informative post for me...I have never tasted these....and i did like the idea of using them for flavoring the cakes

bazu said...

holy lemonquat, susan! I have a fondness for all things citrus, but I'd never heard of these pretty little hybrids before. Maybe the little lemon I grew last year was a lemonquat...?

Emily said...

Well, I am just amazed at how talented you are! That's beautiful cake, and I'm sure the lemon and coconut go together well.
We don't have lemonquats, but hopefully we'll get them soon!

Susan @ SGCC said...

Susan, that is a gorgeous cake! I am salivating, wishing I had a piece right now to go with my coffee. You would think that here in FL we would have access to wonderful citrus like yours. Nope. All the good stuff gets shipped out and we are left with the dregs. I can find better CA navels here than FL ones!

P.S. How did you set up the print feature for your recipes? I have noticed a few bloggers using Google Docs. I would love to do this.


Cookie baker Lynn said...

How wonderful - a new fun fruit! They are so cute and dainty; I can imagine what fun they'd be to play with in the kitchen. Your cake looks gorgeous! Yumm!

Mansi said...

wow Susan!! that looks gorgeous:) I'm hearing so much about Meyer Lemons, I think I should look for them now:)

Anonymous said...

what darling little fruits! i love lemony tea cakes so very much. you have got my number alright!!

Amy said...

How fun! I had no idea are so many citrus hybrids out there. This is a fabulous take on Dorie's recipe.

Chibog in Chief said...

i dont know where you get your inspiration..but this tea cake is stunningly delicious!! cant wait to try myself..i'm sure the sourness of the lemonquat with coconut on a cake is sinfully perfect!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

kristen-I know, we really are fortunate.

julie-January in Southern California is pretty fantastic.

manggy-No kumquats? Well then, looks like you need to take a trip to CA, my friend!

maryann-Yeh! :)

tw-They're quat extraordinary, aren't they? ;)

lydia-Eureka lemons sound exciting too.

peter-They are, aren't they?

rosa-Thank you kindly!

mike-I'm sure you have access to wonderful citrus too.

rachel-Hey, at least the East Coast still reigns supreme with apples and lobsta!

ann-I'm so pleased you like it!

happy cook-Oh, thank you!


cowgirrlup-Wow! A calculator? You go, cowgirl!

julie-You give me a taste of your muffins in exchange for a taste of my cake. Sound good? ;)

Linda-They are fun to say.

bal-"Brisk." That's a good word for the flavor. :)

deborah-Thank you!

nora-You could make a cake with kumquats too. That's been my latest experiment....

tanna-Oh, thanks so much!

swirling notions-I really hope you do!

shn-They're so much better than using lemon extract.

bazu-Maybe it was a lemonquat!

emiline-Many thanks. Lemons and coconut are beautiful together.

susan-I have read that Florida grows them too. I agree that we have amazing citrus here in CA.

cookiebakerlynn-They really are fun to experiment with in the kitchen.

mansi-Oh, do try them. The flavor is markedly better than ordinary lemons.


amy-Fun to make and fun to eat!

dhanggit-The farmers' markets here are inspirational. Let me know if you like it!

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of these, either! You are one lucky girl with one beautiful cake!

Katy said...

Looks gorgeous -- I've never even heard of lemonquats or limequats! They definitely are fun to say though!:-)

Suzana said...

I have no clue of those citrus you're talking about but the cake looks awesome!! And I have tons of lemons - I'll have to try that sometime!

Sig said...

OMG, are you serious? You got me onto kumquats, and now I have to find these new quats :)

Gattina Cheung said...

best parents make the best babies... not talking about Brad and Jolie... these lemonquat immediately seizes my heart! And your cake, absolutely elegant, I got to try it!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh this looks so perfect! It's been raining up here in NorCal & I have been craving a bit of sunny only from in citrus - even better with a funny name. I'll try this some & let you know how it goes. Thank you, dear.

Stef said...

Lemonquats - what a fun sounding fruit! I hope to encounter it someday.

Judy said...

Thanks for posting the recipe, Susan. I have a lemonquat/limequat tree in the backyard that is loaded with fruit. I sigh when I look at, wondering what to do with all of it. Now I know! I'll go out today, pick one, and see which it is, then get baking.

Cris said...

Not only pretty, it looks terribly delicious!

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I never seen lemonquats but that cake looks scrumptious!

Anonymous said...

Lemonquats? Never heard of those but they surely sound good.
I have to investigate. Thanks for the tip. The cake looks awesome!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

shelley-I am lucky!

katy-Wait till you eat 'em!

suzana-It'll be delicious with regular lemons too.

sig-Sorry. You'll thank me after you taste one though. :)

gattina-If you say it's elegant, then I'm really flattered. :)

familiabencomo-Oh, that's sweet of you, thanks!

stef-I hope you do too.

judy-So what's your address? ;)


helene-It really was, if I must say so myself!

zen-Hope you find them!

Jeanne said...

Oh well done Susan - now you've given me a craving for this glorious-sounding cake. And I doubt I will find ANY of those wonderful-sounding citrus fruits here in London :( I'll just have to come and visit you!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Hi Susan,

I'm hosting AFAM - kumquats this month, today is the last day and I would love to have this recipe as your entry.

Thank you, Margot

Coffee and Vanilla said...


Just a short note to let you know that April's AFAM (Kumquats) round-up is now online:


Anonymous said...

Hi, honey! I made this cake yesterday with meyer lemons. We all loved it. Alfredo even said that this recipe was much better than my lemon pound cake. Once again, thank you for always posting the best recipes.

xoxox Amy

The Spiteful Chef said...

At the Central Market near us I just saw the kumato. The produce guy said it's ostensibly a cross between a tomato and a kumquat. Weird, right?