Lola and Finn's Mum

Lola and Finn's Mum

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Upside of a Teachers' Strike - Lemon Cake with Lemon Icing

This will not be a political post; I am not on strike. However, Finn's teacher is, and so my mission today has been to transform myself from English teacher to 'midweek mum', and really it's all been rather nice. When I was informed via email that I would not be paid for my 'special leave' it was at that point I decided that the marking would stay on the desk upstairs and I would breeze around the house and maybe take Finn out for a kick around with a football, a spot of lunch and whatever took our fancy.  Basically, I was going to do the stuff I think about doing when I am at work. It also gave me time to whip up this fabulous cake with some tooth tingling-ly tart icing which I have been threatening to do for a while, since I picked up the recipe card at Tesco however long back it was.
A selfie of Finn and me, enjoying our day of freedom!!
I am not really sure that there is anything to beat a lemon cake, and I have to say that this cake turned out brilliantly well and was a cinch to make. It is once light, but dense with lemon flavour. I did divert from the original recipe (which you can find here) and decide that instead of soaking it with unctuous lemon flavoured syrup as in the original recipe, I would squeeze the remaining lemon I had and mix it with a little icing sugar to adorn the top of the cake at first, before allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Yum. You must try it!
Lemon Yoghurt cake with Lemon Icing, adapted from the original recipe by Tesco
250g (9oz) unsalted butter
275g (9 1/2oz) golden caster sugar
4 finest* Brown Eggs
275g (9oz) self-raising flour
a pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla extract
2 lemons, finely grated zest and 3tbsp juice
100g (4oz) finest* Greek yogurt, plus extra to serve
The juice of the remaining zested lemon (see above)
About 150g (6oz) icing sugar, sifted
(*finest refers to the range of ingredients at Tesco, foreign readers!!)
Prepare a  23cm round, spring form cake tin by greasing it and lining it.
Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.
Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and light. I used my Kenwood mixer and mixed for a few minutes whilst I was emptying the dishwasher. Yes, I am being serious.
Add the eggs, one by one, beating well between each addition. If by the fourth egg your mixture looks a bit split, add a couple of tablespoons of the flour to bring the mixture back to the required consistency.
Fold in the flour and salt to make a smooth batter.
Fold in the vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice and 100g of the Greek yogurt.
Pour into the tin, smoothing the top and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until golden and springy on top. Mine was ready after about 55 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool a little before removing from the tin. Do not ice the cake until it is fully cool.
To make the icing, mix together the juice from the remaining lemon with the icing sugar. Add the icing sugar gradually; you may need less or you may need more depending on how much juice you get from the lemon. You are looking for a mixture with a 'slow' pouring consistency that can be spread across the cake and then drizzle down the sides at will.
Once iced, cut yourself a slice and consume...

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Almost virtuous - Oat Bran Brownies

Well, not really. I don't suppose these would constitute diet food, but I suppose they're better than eating, I dunno, lard. And as there is a conspicuous absence of posts on this blog just now, and there aren't enough cakes on it anyway, and I am trying to be good. Well, two outta three ain't bad...
I have banned myself from buying cookbooks, unless they are a penny on Amazon and at that price I sort of justify it to myself even though at the moment when they arrive I have nowhere to put them. And when I saw that 'The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook' was a penny, I decided I had to have it, as I love 'Summer on a Plate' and I am a Barefoot Contessa fan, thus knowing 'Loaves and Fishes' through association. So, a quick perusal in a spare half hour one night revealed lots of lovely recipes which I will try at some point (maybe when I am retired) but I wondered what these brownies would be like. So I tried.
I cooked these a bit longer than I should, mainly because Lola and Finn aren't always so keen on the gooey centre of the typical brownie. I also think that these probably needed less time than typical brownies, maybe because of the oats; I don't know in truth. But actually despite them being a bit overcooked, the texture wasn't dry - it was, well, cakey really. If you want them gooey brownie style, then don't cook them so long. And maybe, just maybe, the addition of oat bran did mean that I didn't necessarily feel the need to eat more than one, or maybe two....
I adapted the original recipe in that I mistakenly put three quarters of a cup of brown sugar instead of half a cup of brown sugar and a quarter of cup of caster sugar. I also wonder whether oatmeal and oat bran are the same thing. I had oat bran so that was what I used. I wonder how different it all might have been if I had had the right ingredients and not been mistaken? No matter, these were glorious!
Oat Bran Brownies, adapted from 'The Loaves and Fishes Party Cookbook' by Anna and Sybille Pump
6oz dark chocolate (I used Menier 70% dark chocolate)
half a block of butter (about 4oz)
3/4 cup of oatbran
2/3 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp of coarse salt
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp instant espresso
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter and line a 8 x 8 x2 inch baking pan
Melt the chocolate and butter together, and set aside.
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Stir in the eggs, chocolate and vanilla
Pour into a the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until the top has set and there is dry crumb on a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake.
Cool in the pan uncovered. Make sure the brownie is cool before you cut into slices.


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