Summer means citrus. And even though I hate Summers, I absolutely adore citrus. I love anything that involves limes, lemons, oranges, gondhoraj and what have you. Pairing up fruits with savoury things is an incorrigible habit I suffer from, but not before I make a basic cake out of the same fruit.
This Lemon Cake has a long history. I made this for the first time in January last year. I had recently returned from Delhi and had taken to baking on a regular basis. Aah, the joys of a well-stocked and functional kitchen with multiple gadgets! This became an instant addiction with my family. And despite following the policy of not making the same thing twice, in the last one year or so I’ve been forced to make this cake again and again.
I made this in April again for a pop up food festival I was participating in along with a couple of friends. The appreciation peaked my confidence and in August I baked this same cake, but with figs this time…my Lemon and Fig Cake for blogger friend Manjari. She loved it and urged me to make this for Kolkata Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale in December. Tired of baking the same cake over and over I changed it a bit this time and made Lemon Blondies instead of Lemon Cake. Of all the items I baked that day, this was probably the most loved. But the strange thing was in all these instances I never took photographs of the cake I had baked the maximum number of times in the last year.
This unfortunate history changed a few months back. My sister, who had come down to Calcutta for a few days, was leaving early in the morning. I had promised to make her Lemon Cupcakes the day before but was way too tired to execute that at night after coming back from work. So right before she left, at the crack of dawn, I sprung to action, took out my measuring cups and oven gloves and instead of cupcakes let the warm smell of freshly baked lemon cake waft through the kitchen!
For the cake:
Flour: 150 gm
Caster Sugar: 150 gm
Butter: 100 gm
Olive oil: 20 ml
Lemon, zest and juice: 1
Lime juice: 1
Baking powder: 1.5 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Lime Cordial/Crush/Marmalade: 1 tbsp (optional, I used cordial)
Salt: 1/4 tsp
For the syrup:
Icing sugar: 100 gm
Lemon juice: 2
Lime juice: 1
Lemon Curd: for frosting (I used ready made, but you can make your own lemon curd)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C and line a round cake tin with baking parchment and brush the sides with butter/ oil.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
3. In a blender or with the help of a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar and after a couple of pulses the oil. Add the eggs one at a time and continue blending.
4. Now add the lemon and lime juice, zest and blend till fluffy.
5. Now fold in the flour gradually, one third at a time, not allowing the trapped air to escape. Add the lime cordial/marmalade/crush (if using) and fold some more.
6. Now pour the batter in the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
7. While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Heat sugar on medium flame in a deep-bottomed saucepan. Add the lemon and lime juice. Do not stir as the sugar will crystallise. Swirl the pan from time to time to ensure that the sugar and juice have mixed well. Let it boil for 3-4 minutes or so till the liquid reaches a shiny syrupy texture. Take off from the heat.
8. Once the cake is done, allow it to cool on the wire rack for 10-15 minutes. After that, make small holes all over the cake with a sterilised needle or cake tester and pour the syrup over it. Leave some to serve in the side. Allow the cake to cool further on the rack.
9. The syrup will permeate throughout the cake by the next 30 minutes or so and leave a shiny glaze on the surface as well.
10. Now spread the lemon curd on the cake and smoothen it out with a spatula. Don’t try to be too perfect because a lot of its charm lies in the smeared frosting. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
11. Cut into big triangles and serve with the tangy syrup on the side.
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