Sunday, 21 March 2010

When all else fails, there is always cake.....

I have spent the last week not cooking, having become some what dispirited and the enthusiasm which has me thinking about what to cook every minute of the day has disappeared in to thin air. Obviously this poses some what of a major problem when you have twenty random people coming for dinner in your flat every two weeks.
The dispirited mood was also not helped by cooking a mediocre Ox Tail ragu on Saturday night, after which I had to take myself off to bed for a long sleep in a fit of self inflicted rage.
I woke up on Sunday morning bright and early, with the spring Sun streaming in through my bedroom window. Inspired, I made a cup of Yorkshire Tea, switched on Radio 4 and started to make a cake. The combination of Spring Sunshine and a easy Sunday morning had brought back the cooking motivation. After a quick scout around in the cupboards and pantry there was only one cake option and was perfect for a sunny Spring day, everyone's favorite - Lemon Drizzle Cake.

So with Desert Island Disc's and a massive cup of tea for company I got started.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

175g Softened unsalted butter
175g Golden Caster Sugar
Zest of 3 lemons finely grated
3 eggs
175g self raising flour
pinch of Maldon Sea Salt
Drop of milk if needed
200g Icing sugar
Juice of 3 lemons

Grease a large loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper, and pre heat the oven to gas mark 3 or 170 c. Put 175g of softened unsalted butter and 175g of caster sugar in a bowl and then beat you can do it with a wooden spoon but cheat and use a hand held whisk like me. Beat together for five minutes and a bit more. My Grandad always use to say that even when you thought you had beaten butter and sugar together to start the cake mixture you should always cream it for a few more minutes as it always makes your cakes lighter.
Then add the zest of 3 lemons and then beat in 3 eggs. Always add 1 beaten egg at a time with a spoonful of flour so that it doesn't curdle. One you have done this sift the rest if the flour and pinch of salt and then fold it in with a metal spoon. If the cake mixture doesn't drop off the spoon easily just add a drop of milk to get it to the "falling off the spoon " consistency.
Spoon the cake mixture in to the loaf tin and smooth out and bake in the pre heated oven for around 45- 50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in to the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Put 200g of icing sugar and the lemon juice and stir/whisk together until smooth. with a skewer makes loads of holes all over the top of the cake, making sure that you don't poke through to the bottom of the cake. Then spoon the the lemon icing over the cake making sure that it soaks through the cake. Leave in the tin until cool and then turn out.
Make a cup of tea, sit down and have a slice of lemon drizzle cake, does what it says in the tin, Cheers you up, makes a mediocre day into a good day and restores the enthusiasm for cooking once again.

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