Our lemon tree recently gave me a big, ripe, cheerful yellow lemon. Considering that the poor tree seems to be suffering from a severe form of mould or fungus on its leaves (probably because of the wet winter), I regard this as an impressive achievement.
“Ah, a lemon,” said my hubby pointedly when he saw it lying on the kitchen counter.
“Yeh,” I mumbled back, preoccupied with buttering a toast and keeping a watchful eye on the steeping tea.
“Lemon meringue, lemon cake, lemon cookies…?” he suggested, helpfully.
Today, as a result, I made sure that I had butter, flour, sugar…. . And my sixth-sense hubby had thoughtfully brought back a carton of eggs from the shops this morning.
I didn’t have a recipe, though. So I kinda ad-libbed the ingredients and their proportions, using my Gran’s favoured method of baking “nach Schnauze”. This is a German phrase that directly translated means something like ‘following your mouth or your nose’ – or rather “you toss in a bit of that, and stir in a handful of that, …”. As a result, it was always rather tricky replicating her recipes. 🙂
But anyway, this is an approximate recipe for what I assembled.
You’ll need the following ingredients:
- a big juicy lemon
- icing sugar
- 200 g butter
- 150 g brown sugar (not the heavy syrupy type of sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 500 g – 600 g of self-raising flour (approx 2-3 cups)
- a fairly low square-ish/rectangular baking pan
And this is what you do with them:
- Preheat the oven to about 200 C.
- Chop the butter into smaller pieces, place them into a heat-resistant mixing bowl, which is in turn placed ontop of a pot with a little bit of water in. Allow the butter to melt.
- Remove bowl off the heat, and stir in the brown sugar. Make sure it is properly dissolved. Stir until it is smooth. You can use fine white sugar or even castor sugar if you prefer, but I personally find that just toooo sweet.
- Once the butter has cooled down a bit, add in the two eggs, one after the other, stirring until smooth.
- Add a cup of flour, stir until smooth.
- Grate off the skin of the lemon. It doesn’t have to be too fine, just not long strips. Then slice the lemon in half and squeeze out all the juice.
- Add the grated lemon peel to the mixture. Stir in thoroughly.
- Add another cup of flour, a bit at a time, stiring in between to blend it in. You don’t want to use too much flour, or the dough will become too firm, and then the cake will taste too floury. It’s not a cookie-dough that you have to knead or roll.
- Add about half the lemon juice, and stir in thoroughly.
- The dough will probably look a bit odd now (almost like it’s curdled). If you like to taste raw dough, now’s a good time to double-check that it doesn’t taste too much of butter or flour.
- Add enough flour to make a dough that is just starting to come off the sides of the mixing bowl, but is definitely not solid enough to pick up in your hands, roll or knead. How much flour you need will depend on the water content of your butter, the size of the eggs and the amount of lemon juice you used. Rather go slowly.
- Transfer the dough into the baking tin, smooth the top, and pop in the oven. If your oven has a grill at the bottom and one at the top, then first use the one at the bottom for about 15-20 mins, and then switch it to the top grill for another 10 mins or so.
- When the cake is ready, it will start to come off the sides of the baking tin. Now you can remove it from the oven.
- Add a bit of sifted icing sugar to the remaining lemon juice, adding a little bit of sugar at a time, until you have a fairly liquid icing, but not too liquid. Then you can spoon/pour it over the still-warm cake in the baking tin. That way it will sink into the top layer of the cake. Yummmm.
- Leave it to cool on a rack. Well, that’s if your house mates will allow it. 🙂
This scrumptilicious lemon cake went oh-so-nicely together with a cup of fragrant filter coffee.
In fact, my hubby was so blissed-out that he even allowed me to take a photo of him on our new sofa, reading Philip Pullman’s “Northern Lights” (the movie of which we had seen in May – see The Golden Compass).