Lemon Drizzle Poppy-Seed Cake

Lemon drizzle wedding cake I can only apologise for being so bad at updating my little blog, it gives me great pleasure to see that it’s been ticking away in the background when so much of life happened! In short. I fell in love, got married and took an amazing honeymoon! How exciting. But I’m back now and I promise to update more frequently! So the wedding was wonderful and what made it more lovely was that all the little personal touches. One of which was that all the mums made a variety of wedding cakes for the reception. It was a moving gesture and it meant we could get all the tasty cakes (cheesecake, brownies and lemon drizzle!)! My own mother contributed this lemon drizzle cake as it’s one of my favourites. We went through some taste testing with the bridesmaids (or ‘sisters’ as is the Chinese call them) over a boozy afternoon tea and the consensus was clear: this one was the better of the two. The fine flour, super orange yolked eggs, golden sugar and the poppy-seed mix are all chosen to create the most yellow cake. We made two of these the day before and they were beautifully textured the next day. I would even go as far to say that the cake is better the next day.

Lemon Sponge:
343 g (2 and 3/4 cups) self-raising fine sponge flour
30 g (1/4 cup) cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
40 g poppy seeds, equal mix of white and black seeds
230 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
400 g (2 cups) golden caster sugar
4 large Burford Brown eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 4 large lemons
juice of 2 large lemons
240 ml (1 cup) buttermilk

 

Lemon Drizzle:
100 g (1/2 cup) golden caster sugar
juice of 2 large lemons

 

Lemon Icing:
120 g (1 cup) icing sugar, or more depending on the lemon juice
juice of 1/2 a large lemon

Oven to 175°C (350°F). Put an oven rack to the lowest position.

Grease your cake tin, a large bundt tin works well, we did two deep square cakes at around 25cm x 15cm deep.

Sponge time. Sift the flour and corn starch into a large bowl. Add to this the salt, baking powder, baking soda and poppy seeds. Mix together with a whisk and set aside.

Fit a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld) and beat the butter on high speed for about 1 minute until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for a further 2 minutes on high speed until creamed together. *Scrape* *scrape* scrape* with a rubber spatular, making sure the base of the bowl is scraped through. Now add your eggs and vanilla. *Scrape* *scrape* scrape* with a rubber spatular. Finally add the lemon zest and juice on medium speed. It will look like it’s splitting, don’t panic! Put the mixer on low and and slowly add a third of the dry ingredients you’ve set aside, now 1 third buttermilk, 1 third dry, 1 third buttermilk…and so on until just incorporated. Do not over mix!

Pour the thick batter carefully into your cake tin and bake for 40-60 minutes. Until a skewer comes out clean. It’s all dependant on your oven so if you think it needs more time but the top is getting too brown, carefully put a sheet of foil on top of your cake tin. Leave the cake in for at least 40 minutes though, opening the oven mid-bake will make it sink. Once done, remove and set aside in its cake tin for 10 minutes.

While the cake is baking. Make the drizzle syrup. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and lemon juice and stir until the sugar has fully dissolved.

Transfer your cake onto a serving plate. Using a skewer, poke a series of holes uniformly into the surface of the cake. Then with a pastry brush, carefully paint and drizzle the syrup all over. The more evenly you distribute the syrup the better. I like to do half of the syrup first, then wait and go again for maximum saturation. Now leave the cake to fully cool.

When you’re ready make the lemon icing. Carefully whisk the icing sugar and lemon juice until you get a thick but still pipe-able icing. You’ll want to adjust the juice and sugar accordingly. Whack it all in a piping bag and pipe away! This cake was such a success that quite a few of my guests asked for the recipe, so here it is, I’m so sorry it’s so late! Mum also recreated this cake for my family back home in Hong Kong who weren’t able to attend the London wedding. Lemon love!

lemon poppyseed drizzle cake

Healthy Pancakes

healthy pancakes I’m not even going to try and convince you why these are healthy. They just are. And they’re delicious. It’s a recipe I’ve found through almost a year of experimenting with “The Healthy Pancake” which is more or less the holy grail of indulgent breakfast desires. But these *are* significantly healthier than your regular pancakes. This combo is a riff off the popular “Two Ingredients Pancake” with the addition of baking flour and a pinch of salt. Which still makes these babies: gluten, wheat, and dairy free. The following makes enough for 8 small pancakes.

Healthy Pancakes:
1 large banana, ripe
2 eggs
1 tsp baking flour
1 pinch of sea salt flakes
Some rapeseed oil

What I’ve found in the past is an issue with flipping these, or even sizing. So I’ve developed a bit of a work around to this which you may or may not want to follow, but I use two pans. One normal non stick frying pan and an egg frying pan to control the size. Because. Well I’m a designer by trade. Anyway, get these both on the hobs at low-medium heat. Add a tiny bit of the oil (not butter as it burns) and with a paper kitchen towel lightly coat each pan with the oil. You’ll need to do this every time you cook a new batch.

In a blender break your banana roughly into 3 segments, add the rest of your ingredients. Pulse until the banana is *just* mixed, I use 4-5 pulses and there are still maybe little bits of banana, this is okay as it helps with the rise of the batter. When your pans are at heat, pour the batter into small rounds, wait a few minutes until bubbles start to form. Use a palette knife to loosen the bases (if not following my slightly anal technique, flip now). Place the other pan on top and flip over! Easy, now let the other side cook for a few minutes while you re-oil and cook the rest. Repeat as necessary.

That’s it! Cook as you may really but this is how I do them. When it comes to serving I smear a bit of almond butter between each layer and top with berries and maple syrup. Maybe a sprinkling of cinnamon…and some butter…Hey! I’m not insane, I said the pancakes themselves were healthy! Didn’t say they had to be tasteless!

Now, what do I categorise these under? I’m going for “eggs” & “cakes”…

Baked Cheesecake

baked cheesecakeIt’s well into February now, are we over the New Year detox yet? This was meant to be a Polish Cheesecake that I made over Christmas for my family in Hong Kong. I have no idea what makes this a Polish cheesecake but there were a couple of baked cheesecakes in my mum’s old recipe book and this is my riff on one of them. Maybe I’ll try the German one next time I’m back and I can tell you which one is better. The reason why this is a riff on the recipe is because of instead of buying normal cottage cheese, I bought one with sliced gherkins mixed in. Don’t worry! This isn’t some crazy cream cheese and pickle cake (although I imagine that to be weirdly nice). I had some cream cheese and milk in the fridge so I used that instead.

Baked Cheese Cake (meant to be Polish):
6-7 tbs crushed digestive or tea biscuits
750 g cream cheese
The zest and juice of 1 lemon
180 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp corn flour
150 ml milk
3 eggs separated
170 ml double cream

Oven at 160°C. Grease 20 cm loose bottomed baking tin. Add those crushed biscuits to the bottom, add more if you want a thicker base.

In a large bowl, beat cheese with lemon juice and rind until smooth. To this add the sugar, vanilla, cornflour, milk and egg yolks. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites with an electric beater until stiff. Then in another bowl beat cream until thick. With a spatula you now want to alternatively fold the egg whites and cream into the cheese mixture. When combined pour into the prepared cake tin.

Bake for 45 minutes in the centre of the oven. Then turn the heat off and leave the cake in the oven for a further 30 minutes with the oven door slightly ajar (ram a heat-proof glove in the crack). Take the cake out and leave to cool before removing from the tin.

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