Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Newbie: Lemon Cake

As I was passionately sharing my love for baking the other day with one of my colleagues at work, he stops me to say that his favourite cake of all time is a lemon cake. "Excuse me" I said, "what did you say?...A lemon cake?" "You mean, over a BROWNIE, over a slice of banana bread or a thick creamy cheesecake? Are you sure you meant to say lemon cake!?"

"Yes, indeed" was the answer. "A lemon cake."

That is when I realized that not only had I never tried to bake a lemon cake, I could not even recall ever really having tasted a lemon cake! So instantly I knew what my cake of the week would be. A short visit to the shops on Friday, 4 lemons - check, a lemon zester - check, eggs, flour and all the rest of it.

I was curious and excited to try something completely new. This blog needed a bit more variety I thought. I just love my creamy desserts so much that I tend to stick with chocolate, bananas and cream cheese. Not today. Today we are adding a bit of citrus to Baked In Love…

Result? Stunning. The perfect slice with a cup of tea in the afternoon. I had great reviews from all my fellow tasters – light and yet the icing adds that extra explosion of sweetness in your mouth. I found the recipe here. It is a easy and quick recipe!

Lemon Cake
MAKES 1 LOAF CAKE (about 12 slices)
butter, to grease
5 organic/free-range medium eggs
300g caster sugar
140ml double cream
finely grated zest of 3 lemons
25ml dark rum
pinch of sea salt
80g unsalted butter, melted
240g plain flour
½ (half) tsp baking powder

50g apricot jam, warmed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 3 tbsp juice
150g icing sugar

1. To prepare the cake: preheat the oven to 180°C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly grease the loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, lemon zest, rum, salt and melted butter. Sift the flour and baking powder together, then whisk into the egg mixture until smooth.
2. To bake the cake: spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and gently level the surface. Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour, turning the tin around halfway through cooking. To test the cake, insert a small knife into the middle – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Set the rack on a lined baking tray.
3. To glaze: lightly brush the cake all over with the warm jam. Leave for 5 minutes. Mix the lemon zest and juice with the icing sugar in a small pan and warm over a low heat to 35°C, until smooth. Brush the lemon glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake and leave for a few minutes to set.
4. Place the cake on a baking tray in the oven, turn off the heat and leave for 3–5 minutes to dry the glaze – it will become translucent. Allow to cool before slicing.

TIP 1 Leave some paper overhanging the sides when you line the tin; this will enable you to lift out the cake by the paper, making it easy to de-mould.

TIP 2 Do not leave your cake to cool in the tin, as this would prevent the steam from escaping, making your cake heavier.

TIP 3 Brushing the cake with jam creates a barrier, so the lemon glaze is not absorbed. If the glaze is any hotter than 35C, it will re-crystallise, losing its shine and crispness. The lemon glaze must be even and thin; if it is too thick it will run in the oven.


Irvin said...

I love citrus desserts, even more so in the wintertime when every dessert tends to lean toward heavy chocolates and comfort foods.

Citrus is the one bright thing that you can have to break up the winter days and nights. Your lemon cake looks lovely!

Baked In Love said...

Thanks Irvin for stopping by. I have definitely fallen in love with citrus desserts myself now and as I am going through winter right now in Belgium, what you say is very true. All the best.

George said...

I am the friend who asked Stella to bake the Lemon cake. I arrived at work this morning and what did I find on my desk, but a perfect slice of lemon cake which I devoured. It was totally scrumptious. I can certainly recommend it!! Well done Stella you are a star! J'adore gateaux citron!!!

Baked In Love said...

This post most definitely be dedicated to you George. You inspired me and I thank you for that! I really enjoyed the lemon cake myself and my Molly the Mixer will definitely be mixing that same batter again soon. Thanks for taking the time to post a comment :) Much appreciated!

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