9 Jul 2012

When Life gives you Lemons...

... make lemonade! Beautiful bright yellow colour, a zingy sour taste – Lemons make me very happy! And they are so versatile. Add them to a savoury dish and they lift the flavours, add them to a sweet dish and they cut the sweetness and add a delicious tang. Juice them, pickle them, slice them and use as garnish – the possibilities are endless. Even the outer rind or zest, albeit bitter, can be used in a variety of dishes. High on Vitamin C and low on sugar, lemon is a powerhouse food that elevates any dish it is added into.
Lemons form the central theme of several foods, from the simple lemonade to the delightful Italian liqueur limoncello. One of my favourite lemon dishes is the simple Lemon Cake. A deliciously sweet and tangy cake, it’s a perfect accompaniment for an elegant tea party or appropriately dressed up, can even make a great birthday cake!

Apart from lemon juice, this cake also uses the lemon zest, which gives it an extra bit of flavour due to the oils present in the skin. When you scrape the lemon to remove the rind, just scrape twice in one area and then move to another. This way you’ll only get the zest and not the too-bitter white pith underneath.
You’ll need:
For the Cake
  • 150gm unsalted  Butter, at room temp
  • 140gm Sugar
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 5 ml Vanilla essence 
  • Zest of 1 large Lemon
  • 175gm refined Flour
  • 10gm Baking powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 60ml Lemon juice
For the Frosting
  • 75gm powdered Sugar
  • 30ml Lemon juice
How to:
  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease an 18cm cake tin and sprinkle some flour in it.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. This is the dry mix; set it aside.
  • Beat together butter and sugar.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat well. Add vanilla and lemon zest.
  • Add the dry mix to the batter. Also add lemon juice and mix well.
  • Transfer to the cake tin and bake for 40-45 min. But keep a watch as ovens are temperamental & baking time may vary. If the top seems to be getting baked and the middle is still uncooked, cover the cake tin with foil. The cake is done when a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.
  • To make the lemon frosting, combine the sugar and lemon juice. Pour over the still-warm cake. Let it run over the sides to give a nice drizzle effect.
  • Allow to cool completely. Decorate with lemon slices or candied lemon rind (or as you please).

Enjoy this cake with a cup of afternoon tea!

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