Monday, 14 May 2012

Tried and Tested

This week I've made a couple of cakes but thought I would talk about the fantastic Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook available here.

 I wouldn't want to risk writing out the recipe here and getting into trouble with the publishers!

The book is fab for most people who are interested in making indulgent cakes and cupcakes anyway so I'd recommend getting a copy for your recipe collection. Some of the recipes can be a little fiddly or time consuming which is fine, it's not intended to be an 'every day' baking kind of thing, this book is about the occasional treat. I would say, if you're only about making quick and simple cakes then this book might not be for you, but if you want a challenge and to try making something a bit different, give it a go! you'll never improve if you don't try.

So, Hummingbird Bakery Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake, in the grand scheme of things it's not the simplest of cakes I've ever made but put in the time and the effort and the final results really are worth it.
The recipe is fairly standard to begin with but, as I added whole milk it completely split (any other cake and I would have chucked the mixture and started again but the book does warn you it may look a 'little' split...try curdled and you're about there!).

After adding the flour, baking powder and salt I then had to whisk 3 eggs whites into firm peaks. These are then added in 3 parts gently folding in with a metal spoon. It's important to be really gentle when you're folding in egg whites into a cake mix as they are there to add the air and lightness to the cake. A lot of recipes I have come across tell you to use a metal spoon or a spatula to fold in egg whites. It's my understanding that this should be done because the blunt edge of the metal spoon or spatula can 'cut' through the egg whites without knocking out any of the air like the rounded edge of a wooden spoon would.

When the cake was in the oven I made the piece de resistance of the recipe - the lemon syrup. Syrups are super easy to make. Lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and water in a pan, bring to the boil and then reduce down on a low heat until it becomes a thick 'syrupy' consistency.

Once the cake was out of the oven (remember it's ready when the sponge bounces back when lightly pressed and skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean), make holes in the warm cake with a skewer and pour over the syrup. This makes the overall cake so moist and just extra special.

Leave the cake to cool a little and turn out. The one problem I have had with this recipe is the turning out part - both times I've cooked it I've managed to get it stuck in the tin and broken it. I think it's to do with my tin but be warned! Once fully cooled then cover with some lemon glaze (lemon juice and icing sugar) and sprinkle over some poppy seeds.

Share this cake and you will suddenly find friends you never knew you had, I guarantee it!