Friday, 8 March 2013

the lemon cake

... so here it is folks... the lemon cake to beat all other lemon cakes courtesy of my mum... if you bake only one cake this weekend to celebrate mothers day, let this be that cake... it's very simple with no fancy icing or decoration but so gloriously satisfying and perfectly light and crumbly, just how a good cake should be...

.... memories are such a powerful thing aren't they... and the wonderful thing about food memories in particular is that they can be shared so easily by the recreation of a recipe.  I have soups, for instance, that are pure memories of my grandma Sylvia and Sunday lunches with the cousins... even the simple act of writing those words has brought back those fun-filled days where a game of hide and seek, a play presented by us kids and one of the cousin's storming off in a huff was always complimented by a belly full of divine food.  This lemon cake has memories for me too as it seems to have always been there in my life, gently regarding our comings and goings like a mute relative absorbing the hectic lives of tea parties, bar mitzvah's, friday nights, sunday lunches, visits to aunts... and rewarding us with it's subtle elegance and delicate lemony zing...

... most of all this cake reminds me of my mum.

the lemon cake
mum seems to remember that it was probably an Evelyn Rose recipe which has been doing the rounds since the 1960's... mum would have probably first started baking it back in the 70's, hence it's long-term memory in my life and because it was always such a classic cake it was always made.  Mum would usually double the recipe and make two cakes, one to be eaten and one to be frozen as it freezes so well... I have a very clear memory of long drives up to Leeds to visit my mums sister with a block of foil wrapped cake in the foot-well of the car... happy times.

for the sponge
6oz sugar
4oz butter or margarine (mum always uses margarine so if you want her classic taste then I would too..)
2 eggs
6oz self raising flour
4 tablespoons milk
grated rind of 2 lemons

for the topping
1 1/2oz sugar
the juice of one lemon

pre-heat the oven to 180C, grease and line a large loaf tin

in a large bowl cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy then add the eggs and a little flour and beat in.  Then add the remaining flour and milk and beat in followed by the lemon rind.

whilst it's in the oven mix the topping by warming the sugar and lemon juice in a pan

bake for 45 mins or until golden and risen, then the moment it comes out of the oven pour the warm lemon juice over the top and sprinkle with a little sugar - the sugar becomes the most wonderfully intense lemon sherbet topping which is simply fabulous! Leave it to cool completely in loaf tins.

eat and of course, enjoy and happy mother's day... I love you mum x



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