Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lemon drizzle cake and Ispahan Macarons

The weekend arrived, Friday went by quickly mainly because we had a half day due to our office moving to new premises. Whoopie! I came home without getting caught up in rush hour and I also bumped into a friend of mine, Baker. How apt to have a friend whose last name is Baker when you love baking as much as I do. It's great to see a friendly face in London, people rarely talk to each other here, unfortunately.

I made dinner for my boyfriend and I but decided that when you have a drizzle of Limoncello left, three lemons that are about to go off and a basil plant that has been persevering through months of negligence, a cake had to be made.

 I came across a recipe on Holly Bell's blog and her recipe seemed straight forward.

Lemon Drizzle Cake (adapted from Holly Bell's blog)

Preheat the oven to 170C

175g margarine/soft butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs beaten
zest of 3 lemons
3 tbsp whole milk
175g self raising flour
half of a handful of basil leaves (optional)

juice of 3 lemons
50g caster sugar
3 tbsp of Limoncello

Grease and line the tin you have to hand, for a larger pan the bake time is usually less as the cake is less thick. For a smaller tin the bake time is usually longer. You’re looking for the edges of the cake to be pulling away from the sides and for a skewer to come out of the centre clean.

Cream the margarine/butter with 175g caster sugar until really light and creamy. Add the beaten egg gradually, dribble by dribble. Then add the zest and the milk. Worry not if the mixture curdles. Fold in the flour, pour into your tin, level with the back of a spoon and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden on the top and a skewer comes out clean from the middle.

Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack still in the tin and then make the sugar syrup by heating the juice of 3 lemons with 50g of caster sugar and Limoncello for about 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves and is just starting to bubble away. Poke lots of holes in your cake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top, being careful not to let it all seep down the sides and drizzle the bottom of your cake only.

I mixed half a small tub of creme fraiche and vanilla paste to have with the cake, although it's so moist you don't really need to.

Today we went out for a full English, I had the vegetarian option in order to be "healthier" and it was quite nice although I am a bit partial to bacon. When we came back after watching the remembrance day service in our town. I decided to embark on yet another macaron mission. I had egg whites sitting in the fridge looking sad...Becoming macaron meringues were their destiny!

I always use the Delicious Magazine recipe, I will skip adding the recipe here as I have previously and it's a good website to go onto for recipe browsing.

I decide to use the Pierre Hermes' Ispahan macaron as inspiration, although I will not come anywhere near this level of excellence......yet, it's definitely a good goal to have.

I didn't quite stick to the recipe, I skipped the rose and lychee because I am still on the lookout for the rose syrup. I melted a G&B's delicious white chocolate bar (100g) in a bain marie and spread it on the bottom macarons. Then piped whipped cream (a small carton of 170ml double cream is sufficient) with a star nozzle. I arranged the raspberries and piped more cream in the middle and on the berries.

We pretty much inhaled the two we agreed to eat and left one for tomorrow. I don't know if I will last that long! We had them with a nice (small) cup of coffee, French style!
The only downside is that I used the ground almonds without processing them further to get a smooth finish. I am still hunting for a decent pack of ground almonds.

The weekend is unfortunately almost over but we can endure the week by having lots of cake baking  and eating:0)

Ciao! x

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