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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.
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.
To make Candied Lemon Slices, in a large skillet, combine 3/4 cup sugar and water; bring to a boil. Add thinly sliced lemons. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 to 2 minutes or until slices are just softened. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.