Yellow: Lemon Cake

If you search for a way to describe the colour yellow, Google spits out ‘exciting without being loud or angry. It is a warm, soft colour, like a baby chick or the warmth of sunlight in springtime streaming through a window warming up a patch on the carpet’. If you ask me, it is a bit trite to explain yellow as hitting a patch on the carpet but I can’t lie and say that there isn’t something poetic and true as describing yellow as exciting without being loud or angry.

But with anything, the jury on yellow is heavily divided. There are the yellow lovers and the people who absolutely hate it. I have always fallen heavily on the yellow lovers front. There is not a shade that I do not revel in, be it sunshine yellow or deep mustard, I gravitate towards it.

This love is perhaps the reason that I always go for a yellow coloured sweet or drink in hopes that I can swallow something that accurately matches its description. Enter in lemon, the universally accepted flavour of yellow. Now a lemon is something that I can get behind and in my past something that I have had to climb a wall to retrieve.

My mum is an avid gardener and our house has solely been a shrine to the love of all things green.   If there is a woman in the world who loves her plants nearly as much as she loves her kids, please point her towards me. Now, our trusty lemon tree, she grows and bears the largest lemons all throughout the year. But she also is fiercely protective of her fruit, which is accompanied by their battalion of thorns. I know this because I have gone against them, been pricked countless times but have come down victorious, with my larder of fresh lemons.

It is usually in the morning when my mum is doing her morning walkabout, greeting all her plants that she notices that the lemon tree is ready to be picked. She yells up to our bedrooms, incessantly, demanding that we come down and help her with something. It is always the same hook ‘I will pay you’ but I have yet to be paid for my labour. The issue isn’t getting up with the birds but rather in getting the lemons down. In all her glory of growing lemons to behold, our lemon tree has also grown upwards, past the point where my mum is able to reach and her refusal to climb a wall or ladder stating ‘If I break my leg it will take 6 years to heal but if you break your leg you’ll be back in no time.’ The outcome is one of us climbing the wall to reach one side while the luckier child climbs the ladder. Once all the lemons, all approved by the warden before being picked, are brought down, we climb down and enjoy some homemade lemonade, a cordial my mum claims to have created but we all know she found it on google.

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This is what yellow means to me. But today, yellow is an apology in the form of a lemon cake, a sheepish offering for the months that this blog has been non-existent.

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This cake is very moist, soft and a subtle lemon flavour. Try playing around and mixing in some lime, strawberries or whatever you feel works well with lemon.


Ingredients

  • 390g + 6 tbsp cake flour
  • ¼ tsp of baking powder
  • 2 ¾ tsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt – if using salted butter be very careful as salted butter is quite salty
  • 340g unsalted butter softened
  • 410g of sugar
  • 4 egg whites (about 160g)
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla essence
  • 300ml milk
  • 60ml of lemon juice
  • 1 lemon zested 

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180oC
  • Mix dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixer until it is light and fluffy
  • Add egg whites and vanilla essence
  • Add a third of the flour mixture and mix
  • Mix the lemon, milk and lemon zest it will thicken as if it has curdled, this is normal
  • Add half of the milk and lemon mixture and mix
  • Add a third of the flour mixture and mix
  • Add the final half of the milk and lemon mixture and mix
  • Finally, add the last 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated
  • Pour the mixture into two lined and buttered cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. (I used a 15cm cake tin so a bigger tin may cook in a shorter time)
  • Leave it to cool
  • You can pour lemon curd on top and enjoy it as a tea cake or ice it with layers of Swiss Meringue Buttercream and lemon curd.

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