Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter! Please enjoy this delicious Whole Lemon Cake.

If you like lemon then I feel quite confident you will love this luscious, moist, delicate, many layered lemon flavour cake from the ever lovely Mary Berry - it uses a whole lemon in the cake part of the recipe, meaning skin, zest, pith, juice - everything but the pips, and an unusually made sugared zest for the decoration! I have not seen a recipe using either of these techniques before so instantly I was intrigued when I watched Mary mention such in one of her episodes aired on Aunty Beeb - the colloquial name for the BBC.

To the cake without further ado! I made a half of Mary's recipe for a small cake as there are only two of us and, even though we could easily and happily eat a full sized cake, I prefer to keep us and the cake on the smaller size by baking mini cakes in a 6" diameter pan. I did also bake the cake in one pan and then split the tall cake into 3 layers - Mary does two cakes that she splits into 4. Click on MARY for the link to her original full size cake recipe.

First make your sugary zest for the top of the cake

The peel of one lemon preferably organic - either peel and cut into fine strips or use a zester which will automatically give you fine long strips.

2oz sugar

1. Put the peel in a  small pan, cover it with boiling water and add half the caster sugar. 

2. Boil vigorously for one minute.

3. Drain the peel and reserve the resultant nicely flavoured simple syrup for another use.

4. Scatter evenly onto non-stick parchment paper and sprinkle the remaining sugar over.

5. Put in a warm place to dry out for as long as possible or overnight, until crisp - if you are in a hurry, dry out in a low oven 110C/225F for 30 minutes - I left mine in our wood burning stove with the door open for the evening. This is a nice crispy crunchy version of candied peel that has a delicate flavour and could be used in and on top of many a sweet recipe.
Ta dah.....
Now for the cake....always read through the recipe one or two times before you begin so you know what is involved - you don't want any surprises half way through!
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
YUM - three types of lemon - whole chopped, juice and sugared zest!
  INGREDIENTS: Have everything at room temp and make sure your butter is good and soft.
1 large thin-skinned lemon - I couldn't find any thin skinned ones in Belfast recently so I used a relatively thick skinned one and it was fine but I imagine a Meyer lemon, or even two because they tend to be smaller, would be wondrous in this cake. Do get the thinnest skinned as you an though so less pith and more flesh.

5oz/140g/1 1/4 sticks of butter softened 

5oz/140g/ 1/2 cup sugar

5oz/140g/1 1/4 cups white flour

1 level teaspoon of baking powder

2 large eggs whisked

1. Here's the interesting part - put your lemon in a small pan, cover with hot water and boil for about 20 minutes until very soft.

2. Drain and cut in half, remove the pips and put the whole lemon in a blender or food processor and chop until smooth but with some chunks - so don't puree it, allow to cool.

3. Add all the remaining cake ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth OR if you don't have a food processor like me and you like to do all these things by hand cream the butter til very smooth, add the sugar and cream again and then add all the rest of the ingredients and cream until smooth.

4. Add half of the lemon pulp and mix evenly.

5. Like I said earlier I made one small cake in one layer - so - butter and flour a 6" diameter cake pan and dollop all your batter in, smooth the top.

6. Bake for about 45 - 55 mins. until nice and golden brown and a skewer pricked into the centre of the cake comes out clean AND the cake is shrinking a little from the edges of the pan - at about 30 mins. check the cake and if it is browning too much, as mine was, put a hat of parchment paper or foil to stop it getting burnt.
Just out of the oven
7. Leave to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then turn over onto a wire rack to cool - I decided to use the bottom of my cake as the top because it was so smooth so no need to turn the cake back over from the wire rack.

8. Whilst your cake cools you can make the filling.
  THE FILLING:
1oz/28g/1/4 stick soft butter

6oz/175g/1 1/2 cups icing/confectioners sugar

 5oz/150g/well mounded 1/2 cup creme fraiche or marscapone - I prefer the creme fraiche for the slight tanginess.

the rest of the boiled chopped lemon
 1. In a food processor blend the butter and sugar, by hand cream the butter and slowly add the sugar to cream mixing well between additions - eventually it will be hard to blend anymore so then....

2. Add the creme fraiche or marscapone and blend really well.

3. Add the remaining chopped boiled lemon and blend well - to be honest mine looked a little curdled but it didn't go too far and it tasted really good - with butter and lemon in there I can't imagine it would ever not be a little curdled.
 ASSEMBLE YOUR LOVELY CAKE:
1. Make sure your cake is completely cool or the filling will melt.

2. Mark your cake for two cuts and then be brave and cut into three even horizontal discs:
A close up of the cakes texture
  3. Slather the filling almost to the edges of one of your cake discs, pop the other on top and do the same, pop the final disc on top thus:
 Now make your topping:

3 1/2ozs/100g/heaped 3/4 cup icing/confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon or more lemon juice 

Put the sugar in a small bowl and add the juice bit by bit until you get a smooth and flowing but slightly stiff icing then pour it forth onto your cake top - sprinkle the sugary zest over - I then added some chopped crystallized ginger for a little bite - a good bite - a nice addition.

It's a lovely sophisticated cake - the whole lemon gives it an elegant flavour, a little marmaladey because of the pith - it is neither too sweet or too tart, it is moist and light but toothsome - and I bet it will taste even better tomorrow!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!

If you are interested in either of the prints you see in the background on these pics - Blue Rhapsody and Pink Quilt Design - you can find both at my Spoonflower shop in fabric, wallpaper, wrapping paper and wall decals and in my CafePress shop on all manner of items - Thanks You!
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