My first post. After setting up my blog site – with much help and support from my three beautiful sons, and which took much longer than the 15 minutes suggested on other blogs – I had a clear idea about my first post and recipe to share. With a cancellation of an appointment, I had the whole day free and was ready to start early, only to discover that I was missing an essential ingredient and the shops were yet to open. (You can insert a mild swear word here, I know I did) So move to Plan B – cake. Cake is always a good back up plan.
I collect the ingredients, whip up the Lemon Syrup Cake, pop it in the oven and discover part way through the cooking time that I had set the oven to grill rather than fan forced. Oops! So much for being mindful about my cooking! Time for a deep calming breath, and the support of a gorgeous friend who came to visit and was willing to sacrifice her sugar-free diet to help eat my mistake. We had a small slither each and were contemplating another when we got distracted. Enter Pip, the aging Jack Russell, who has recently been on a diet. Lou and I return to the deck to find a cartoon like bite mark in the centre of the cake, and the cheeky puppy sneaking in another quick bite before dashing off. Another deep calming breath. And another. And…you get the picture right?
Plan B Take 2 – another cake. This time I stopped to think about just how nervous I was feeling about doing this – the blog,not the baking – and thought about this particular cake and why it was special to me. A Lemon Syrup Cake brought as a welcome gift by my friend Louise when our first boy was born. A sweet, tangy cake that is both moist and light and finger-lickingly delicious. A cake that requires few ingredients and no fancy equipment. A melt-and-mix masterpiece. Louise shared this recipe, and that idea of sharing what works well, and even more importantly, is simple to make, got me back on track.
So let’s make cake.
Start by melting together the butter, lemon zest and sugar in a saucepan. Make it a good sized one as this will be your mixing bowl as well. Stir until butter melts, being careful not to boil. Remove from heat. While your butter mixture is cooling a little, beat the eggs with the milk, and sift the flour, and you probably even have time right now to grease that loaf pan really well.
Now add about half of the milk and egg mixture and then half of the flour to your butter mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon. Add in the remaining egg mixture and the remaining flour and beat until smooth (great arm work out as well – you’ll be able to justify two pieces of cake now)
Pour into the greased loaf pan – mine is 24cm x 14cm – and place in to a preheated moderate oven for 40 minutes. If your oven is fan-forced, drop the temperature back to 160 or your cake may rise too fast and crack in the middle – still delicious but not as pretty. Test with a skewer – when it comes out clean you are ready to remove from the oven. Let rest in the tin.
Meanwhile …. Combine lemon juice and extra sugar in a small pan and stir until sugar is melted, then bring to the boil. Remove from heat and slowly trickle over the cake. The smell when you do this is going to make you drool – trust me!
Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin, then turn out and dust with icing sugar if you want to be a bit fancy. Serve with some double cream for added pleasure
Variations – I added a half cup of blueberries to the mixture just before pouring into the loaf pan. Why? Because they are plentiful and cheap at the moment and my fridge was overloaded. Raspberries, frozen or fresh, are also a delicious addition. Add an extra 5 minutes to the baking time if you are adding berries.
Ta da! What a relief. So much cake to enjoy. My chickens are hungrily pecking at “yesterday’s mishap” and the other cake has been shared with friends and neighbours. Fingers crossed that it can only get easier from here. Finger hovering over publishing button….and done!
LEMON SYRUP CAKE
125g butter, cut into cubes
2 tsp lemon zest (about one large lemon)
1 cup sugar (white or caster)
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 cups of self raising flour
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar, extra
Preheat oven to 180 degrees, or 160 degrees fan-forced.
Combine butter, zest and sugar in a pan and stir over medium heat until butter is melted, please do not allow to boil.
Stir in half the combined beaten egg and milk, and half the sifted SR Flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining egg and milk mixture and the remaining flour and stir until smooth. *
Pour in to greased loaf pan and place in oven for 40 minutes. Remove and leave the cake in the tin.
For syrup, place juice and sugar in a small saucepan and stir until sugar melts, then bring to the boil. Slowly pour hot syrup over the hot cake and leave to cool in the tin.
Variations: *1/2 cup Blueberries or raspberries can be added to mixture before pouring into loaf pan. Please bake for an extra five minutes
Serve dusted with icing sugar or some double cream