Thursday, 29 March 2012

Lemon drizzle and a Husband who knows what it's at...

The Husband clearly knows how things are these days. He’s made a couple of comments recently to the effect that he daren’t say ANYTHING about the food I put on the table for fear that it will be repeated for all of cyberspace to read.

However, he has clearly decided to take pre-emptive action. Today, when I popped onto Facebook for a quick lunchtime schmooze, and before I had begun to consider the angle that I might approach last night’s cake baking session, I saw that he had posted his status as follows:

before I get too much grief for mentioning the rather dark crust on the lemon drizzle cake...I can confirm that it is delicious.”

Wise man. Not so earlier this morning – as I was standing in my PJs, not yet appropriately tea’d up and tearing my hair out, trying to stretch some fairly stale crusts of bread into 3 lunch boxes, he appeared, cast an eye over the cake and commented as indicated. Cue much unnecessary banging of cereal packets etc while he made a quick exit to let the chickens out.
‘The Cake’ is Baked in America’s Lemon Drizzle. Ignoring the fact that there’s quite a lot of ORANGE in it for a LEMON drizzle cake, I was particularly excited about the inclusion of marzipan.

The Domestic Goddess herself (I mean Nigella, not me) is partial to lemon and almond, as am I. One of my favourite pieces of cookery writing is her recipe for Damp Lemon and Almond Cake in the eponymous book, where she writes “...the citrus element, though intense, just melds with the almonds to give a slab of dense, sharp-toned meltiness... I can’t stop myself murmuring ‘raspberries’ to you, either”. It makes me shiver with delight – not only lemon and almonds, but raspberries too? Utter gorgeousness. I could go on, but back to Baked... and the Lemon Drizzle.

I suddenly realised yesterday that there was no cake in the house and this was a situation that had to be rectified IMMEDIATELY, despite the fact that it was nearly time to banish the kids to bed for the evening. I had half planned to bake this last week but ended up delaying in order to preserve my sanity and also to make sure I could eat some of it. No point baking a cake and then going away, leaving it for someone else to eat, is there?

'The Girls' - French, Saunders, Hornby, Barbie and Pepper

As a result, I knew I had lemons and oranges;  I also knew I had some marzipan stashed away (yes, ok, so WHAT if it was left over from Christmas, I tried it, a couple of times – just to make sure, you understand, and it was fine. More than fine) so I didn’t have to bother myself with making my own ‘almond paste’ as recommended. Sometimes life is too short. I also had plenty of eggs (the recipe requires 5) thanks to the girls’ labours and granulated sugar which I had specifically bought last week, for the purposes of making this cake. I wouldn’t normally have bothered, but in the absence of homemade almond paste, I thought I might as well make the effort – and they are pretty insistent in the recipe that it has to be granulated, in order to make the appropriately crunchy topping.

In an extraordinary display of culinary generosity, I let Pink help me. She is, in fact very good at cracking eggs and keeping an eye on the Kenwood, so she was fairly much an asset, despite the fact that I caught her surreptitiously scraping at the butter. There’s a bit of faff grating lemon and orange peel, but basically, another straightforward loaf cake, so thumbs up on that front. Less satisfying is the fact that although my loaf tin SAYS it’s big enough, actually it wasn’t. Fortunately I’d put a baking tray in the oven on the shelf below, so the spillage was contained, but next time, I will rethink. Actually, next time, I will probably make it in a wider square tin and make a slightly shallower cake – see what happens then. Because my lovely loaf sank in the middle again. And I may have slightly over-cooked it. This leads me to conclude that I may in fact need to invest in an oven thermometer. But I will try a different tin a perhaps a shorter cooking time next.
cooled; crunchy sugar topping...
That said, once drizzled with the lemon/orange juice and sugar at the appointed time, and left to cool, the cake sat in all its gloriousness waiting to be tasted. After the Husband’s remark, I decided that it was only appropriate that I should have a little teeny slice just then. Heavenly. The marzipan (sorry, ‘almond paste’) is genius, and it works well with the orange, I think, but I will be tempted to do it all lemon next time. Watch this space.
Let's ignore the 'slightly darker than normal' crust and marvel at the wondrous middle, shall we?


  1. Lemon Drizzle cake looks lovely, especially with a'rustic'crust.
    Glad to see that the Kiddly Beans are earning their keep. Get'em up the chimney next!

  2. Looks divine! I have a super simple lemon drizzle recipe on my blog (under baking) alas my kenwood went to mixer heaven ...would love your curry recipe & will be asking chicken advice as about to get ours (scary!) x

    1. Grace - the curry was out of Veg Everyday - I was going to post about it this evening but decided to do some reading and commenting instead

  3. hello! love your blog! i'm following from the blog hop!

  4. Very cute blog. I am your newest friend and I can't wait to see more of your recipes. ;0


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