Thursday, 21 July 2011

Super-Lemon Cake

A whole week of not baking, I am itching to get back to the kitchen now.

Went to Moscow for a quick holiday, believe it or not, it was super hot, 30C every day and so humid!! Cold ice-cream for me and cold beer for Mr Ranty every day – the only way to deal with it.

I put my starter to sleep in the fridge while I was away, took it out on Monday and started feeding it 30g water and 30g rye flour every morning and evening. It was looking reasonably active this morning, so might try baking tonight, that is if this cold London weather doesn’t kill it.

While I am waiting for my starter to come alive, I’ve decided to make a cake out of the "Hummingbird Bakery" book again. A recipe I’ve tried out and tweaked a number of times, a favourite in my household. Mr Ranty is a big fan on lemon, and this particular lemon cake always doesn’t down really well.

Super-Lemon Cake
Adapted from “Hummingbird Bakery” cookbook

Cake
3 eggs
260 g sugar
zest of 2 lemons
400 g flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
240 g milk
½ tsp vanilla essence
170 g unsalted butter, melted

Lemon syrup
100 g water
50 g sugar
juice of 2 lemons

If you can find Spanish lemons, I highly recommend using them. The flavour does make a difference, it is super fresh and super zesty. Wholefoods in London are currently selling them, last time I went there, they had four for £1 offer, which is brilliant!

Whisk eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a free-standing or hand-held mixer on high speed. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl and milk and vanilla essence in another bowl. Turn the mixer down to a medium speed and add third of flour and third of milk mixtures – mix until well combined, repeat twice more, uning up all the flour and milk.
Melt butter and cool it slightly, add the butter to cake mixture, with the mixer running on high speed. Mix well, until all the butter is incorporated and the mixture is looking smooth and glossy. The mixture is going to be quite runny, but that means that you are gonna get nice and moist cake at the end of it.
Pre-heat oven to 170C, grease a loaf tin (I use a large loaf tin instead of a pound tin, as the cake is quite big) and line it with baking paper. Butter to make the paper stick, paper to make sure that the cake doesn’t crumble and doesn’t stick to the tin – speaking from experience here, I have had that happening to me with this cake before.
Pour cake mixture into the tin and place it in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, rotate the cake around and bake it for further 35 minutes.

While the cake is baking, make up the syrup – place all the ingredients in a small put and bring it to boil over a medium heat. Boil for 10 to 15 minutes on a low heat, remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Once the cake comes out of the oven, leave it to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, take it out of the tin, remove baking paper and place it on a cooling rack with a large plate underneath the rack. Use a wooden kebab skewer or a long toothpick to make wholes all over the cake and pour still hot syrup all over it. Make sure that you pour the syrup very slowly, concentrating on covering the edges of the cake and the whole length of it. You will end up with a soggy looking cake and a puddle of syrup on a place underneath the rack – leave it sitting like that for about half an hour or so. Remove the cake from the rack and place it directly on the plate with the left-over syrup, the bottom of the cake will soak it up now.
I normally make this cake late at night, and leave it sitting overnight, to make sure that it has enough time to absorb all the syrup and also to dry out a bit.

This cake is such a treat for breakfast, I normally pack two slices of it (I know, such a little piggy) and take it to work to have it with a cup of tea – yumm.

By the way, I am posting the recipe here, because I have made a few changes to the recipe – mine uses more flour, less sugar, less butter and is more lemon-y then the original one in the book. I find that most of American recipes are too sweet / rich for my taste, and I am happy with this as my final version of this recipe.



By the time I got around to taking a photo, most of the cake was gone - only two days after I baked it - must be good :)

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