Thursday, 17 January 2008
Don't give me 'foolproof' things!
A few days ago Peter Bryenton had a recipe for 'foolproof' pancakes on his site. I have a lot of difficulty with anything called foolproof because, if you manage to mess it up, what does it say about you?
Some years ago I took a recipe from a magazine that was for a foolproof lemon cake. I have managed to botch it about three times. I am deeply scarred by the experience but it is a lovely cake. The recipe is below.
The problem is the method. I am conditioned to the traditional method of cake making: cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs, stir in flour. It is a pattern. In the 'foolproof' method everything gets chucked in together. The most common way I managed to mess it up was by leaving things out. My heart would sink when someone would say "What's this ramekin of melted butter doing in the microwave?". There is no way to get the butter into a half cooked cake but I can tell you that a butter free foolproof lemon cake is edible, if somewhat rubbery.
The (almost) Foolproof Lemon Cake
zest of one lemon
100g butter, melted
1 tsp baking powder
6 tblsp sugar
juice & jest two lemons
Preheat oven to 160
Grease & line round, square or ring tin
Combine zest, eggs, sugar, salt, milk and butter in a bowl. Yes, all in together.
Sift flour and baking powder and add to bowl, stir well.
Pour into tin, bake until set (abt an hour)
Boil sugar and juice for a few minutes
Pour over hot cake and leave 15min.
Tip out of tin onto wire rack to cool.
Eat as is or serve with cream/Greek yoghurt/icecream for dessert.
Variations I have tried:
1. Add 1 tsp ground cardamom and chopped peel from about 4 cumquats to cake. (I put the peel and sugar in the food processer and 'zapped' it as an easy way to chop the peel.) Replace the lemon juice in the syrup with equivalent amount of cumquat juice.
2. Buy a bottle of ginger topping. Strain out the ginger bits and put them in the cake with a teaspoon of powdered ginger. Heat sieved topping to use it as the syrup.