07 July 2011

A Different Lemon Cake

Browsing through Tamasin Day-Lewis' "Supper for a Song", I felt irresistably drawn to her recipe for a lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd filling. The lemon syrup used for drizzling is flavoured with bay leaves and honey, the curd brings to mind a perfect lemon tart, and the cake layers offer full-bodied flavour with almonds and whole grain spelt flour, yet are surprisingly light. Not to mention moist and sticky.... 

I made a few minor adjustments but on the whole, this is true to the original recipe. It is worth experimenting with the flours used, I, for one, am particularly fond of the nutty flavour of spelt flour. I wouldn't recommend eating the bay leaves but the candied lemon slices are delicious!

Cake Batter
240 g ground almonds
340 g butter
170 g muscovado sugar
170 g unrefined brown sugar
4 eggs
zest of 3 lemons
170 g wholemeal spelt flour
170 g plain spelt or wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
ca. 6 tbsp yoghurt

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Combine butter and sugars; add the eggs one at a time. In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt and almonds. Stir into the butter-sugar mixture, a third at a time. Add enough yoghurt to achieve a light, managable consistency. The amount will depend on the type of flour(s) used. Spoon into two lined cake tins. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean. My tins have a diameter of 26 cm and the cake was done after 30 minutes, if your tins are smaller, adjust the timing accordingly. Take out of the oven and leave to cool.

Lemon Syrup
2 tbsp honey
1 lemon, sliced
juice of 3 lemons
9 fresh bay leaves
60 g unrefined brown sugar
2 tbsp water

Prepare the syrup towards the end of the baking time. Put all ingredients bar the sliced lemon in a small saucepan and boil on a high heat until sticky. Add the lemon slices and boil for a further couple of minutes, take off the fire and cover with a lid. About ten minutes after the cakes have left the oven, pierce their tops with a skewer and drizzle half of the syrup on either cake. Arrange the lemon slices and bay leaves on one. I find this is easiest done in the tins, as the parchment lining will take care of any surplus. 

You can now leave the cakes until you want to eat them. For the final assembly, spread lemon curd on unadorned cake and place the decorated half on top.

Lemon Curd
85 g butter
225 g caster sugar
2 lemons, zest and juice thereof
3 eggs, beaten

Make the curd whenever you have a moment, pour into sterilised jars and keep refrigerated until needed. This makes slightly more than you need for the cake - cook's treat!

In a heavy based saucepan, heat up butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice until the suagr has dissolved. Make sure the mixture is not too hot before you add the beaten eggs, you may need to let it cool down a little. Stir in the eggs, keep stirring gently over a moderate temperature until the mixture thickens.

Too much heat, and you'll end up with scrambled eggs in the lemon mixture. Don't fret, even this can be rescued: strain through a sieve and continue, if needed, add more eggs (more carefully, this time!).

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