Saturday 18 February 2012

Lemon Cake (or A Recipe for Late Night Baking)

Last night, I asked Twitter what would be a good thing to bake, given the lateness of the hour and my general lack of interesting ingredients...

The delectable (and very clever) Miss Jordi suggested that I should make a lemon cake, so, being very easily led, that was exactly what I did.

So, here we go - Jordi-cake:

Ingredients (this is pretty small - you could easily scale it up).

For the cake:
100g unsalted butter
55g fat free yogurt
155g caster sugar
3 eggs - mine were Cotswold Legbars - yummy, but small.
150g plain flour
1tsp baking powder (obviously you could just use self raising flour instead, but I didn't have any)
a pinch of salt
the zest of two lemons

For the syrup:
the juice of the above two lemons
2tbsps icing sugar

For the icing:
2tbsps fat free yogurt
2tbsps melted white chocolate
a splash of vegetable (or other flavourless) oil
icing sugar (probably about 150g)


For the cake:
Preheat oven to good baking temperature - probably 180 (160 - 170 fan)
Cream together butter, yogurt, lemon zest and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
If your lemons are the posh kind with the leaves still attached, be super careful not to stab yourself on the spiky spikes and then drip lemon juice into the stab wound. That would be both painful and stupid.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat in - add a little bit of flour if necessary to stop it curdling.
Add the flour, salt and baking powder and fold in gently till combined.
Scoop the batter into a prepared baking tin - I used a little flat rectangular one for a slab cake shape and bake for 20 minutes or so, till cooked.

For the syrup:
While the cake is baking, squeeze your lemons - mine were pretty big, so I got lots of juice.
Set aside a couple of tablespoons of the juice to use in the icing.
Add your icing sugar to the remaining juice and mix until dissolved.
This gave me a pretty tart syrup, which is all good with me, but you could easily add more sugar if you preferred something sweeter.
When the cake comes out of the oven, prick it all over with a fork and pour the syrup over it (this is definitely the key to a delicious juicy cake - it works with anything, not just lemon - even just sugar syrup will do).
Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

For the icing:
Melt the chocolate, if you haven't already. I did mine slowly in the microwave. Be careful - white chocolate burns very easily.
Stick all the ingredients in a bowl (including the reserved lemon juice) and whisk furiously.
You may need more or less icing sugar than I did, so add it a bit at a time.
Once you've sugared as much as you like, keep whisking for five to ten minutes (or unit your arm falls off, if you're doing it by hand) until it's fluffy.
When the cake is cool - spoon/spread this over the top.
Turn out of tin and cut into slices.

Voila - cakes!

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