Another challenge from Weekly Bake Off this week, so couldn’t resist joining in again, it’s lovely seeing everybody’s cakes and bakes and it’s amazing how everyone interprets the cakes, even though we’re all baking the same recipe. This is the first cake in Mary’s book and one I have looked at many times, but have always been put off by the ‘citron strip’. I even googled it to find out what it was!
First things first, it was off to the supermarket for the weekly shop. I had to buy some ‘Camp Coffee’ this week, as I can remember my mum using it when I was little and somebody reminded me of it this week, I didn’t realise it was still available,so will be using that from now on when ‘coffee flavouring’ is required. Also had to pick up a commemorative tin of golden syrup celebrating the jubilee, I do love those tins and after a good tip from a florist friend of mine, they make lovely vases for flowers or pots to grow herbs in! I also had the urge for some more ground almonds (needed in this recipe), I knew I didn’t need any, but it’s one of those things you seem to have quite a few packets of in the cupboard – I resisted though and didn’t buy any.
Once home the shopping was put away (apart from the butter which was left out to soften), the dog and chickens sorted and let out and it was then on to the ironing. I despise ironing and I always leave it until there is a huge pile to do, I know I shouldn’t, but there is always something better to do than iron – baking for instance!!
With the ironing over it was lunchtime and then time to walk the dog. By the time I got round to starting on the cake it was nearly 4pm.
So, first things first, the oven was put on to preheat and an 18cm (7″) cake was greased and the base lined.
The butter by this time was very soft indeed, so into the bowl it went along with the caster sugar, self raising flour, the ground almonds (I only have one packet now in the cupboard!) and three large eggs. To this was added the finely grated rind of a lemon. Oh dear, not sure my daughter will like this, she isn’t too keen on lemon in cakes, although I love the flavour. That was it six ingredients. These were beaten together for a minute until thoroughly mixed. The mixture was spooned into the tin and the surface levelled.
Into the oven it went for 30 minutes. After this time you had to place a strip of citron peel on the top of the cake. I have searched and searched the shops for citron strips, but to no avail, so decided instead I would place on the top of the cake a strip of lemon, so using the potato peeler I sliced a very thin strip of lemon peel and put this on top of the cake. The cake had, surprisingly, risen an incredible amount in 30 minutes and had already taken on a golden brown colour. I was worried the strip would sink into the cake, but there was no need you could see it was just going to sit on the top.
So back into the oven for another 30-45 minutes. Mine remained in the oven for 40 minutes (at this point the skewer inserted into the middle came out clean). It was removed from the oven and left to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before I turned it out to finish cooling on a wire rack. The citron peel (or lemon peel) had simply shrivelled up on top of the cake, so this was removed (I’m not sure whether or not you were meant to remove it, Mary doesn’t mention it again in her recipe)
The cake was left to cool and was finally sliced into the next morning. It was a lovely texture inside and one I will definitely make again. Flavour wise both my husband and I loved it, but as I feared both my daughter and son were not too keen on the lemony flavour.
Top tip from Mary on this one – if your cake has a dip in the middle when it comes out of the oven, turn it out onto baking parchment on a cooling rack ‘upside down’. This will level the top while it cools. I had no need for this, my cake was quite the reverse!
16th May 2012