Monthly Archives: January 2013

Lemon Cake


lime cake 2

As promised, here is my lemon cake recipe. It is fail-safe and absolutely delicious. The one downside… it isn’t sweet or sickly so you can eat far tooo much of it! I have made this as a bundt cake, a layer cake or as cupcakes. Just adjust your cooking time accordingly and test with a skewer to ensure its cooked through. The lower temp is important as if you have a deeper cake (like the rounded bundt shown here) the edges can brown while the middle is cooking.

Lemon cake

Lemon Cake
250 gms butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
4 large eggs (or 5 small ones)
1/3 cup of lemon zest (I like to chop some fine, and leave other bits longer but use the fine grate on your grater if you don’t have a zester)
3 and 1/4 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1 cup of yogurt or buttermilk
1 teaspoon of vanilla

*you can use cupcake cases, two small bundt tins, or two 8 inch cake tins if making a layer cake

Pre-heat the oven to 170 fanbake, and grease and line your tins (or just grease if using a bundt tin)

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy

Slow the mixer down and add eggs one at a time, then add zest

In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder and baking soda together, in a second bowl mix lemon juice, yogurt and vanilla.

Add the flour and yogurt mixtures to the batter alternating after few spoonfuls of each.

At this stage you could stir through some fresh or frozen berries such as raspberries or blueberries if you wish.

Pour into your cake tins and bake for between 30-40 mins (less for cupcakes, more for bundt tins.)

In regards to the icing, there are a few options. for a bundt you could do a simple lemon and icing sugar glaze. For the layer cake or cupcakes I like using a cream cheese icing

Lemon cream cheese icing
100 gms of butter (room temp)
1 tub of cream cheese (room temp)
Lemon juice
Icing sugar

Cream the butter and cream cheese until mixed and fluffy. Add enough lemon juice to make it pouring consistency and lemon tasting. Keep the mixer running and add the icing sugar until the icing is to a consistency you want – if you want to pour it on the cake add less icing sugar, if you want it spreadable add more icing sugar.

Layer cake

If you want to make a layer cake, slice each cake in half, turn one cake upside down (so the top of the cake is now the bottom) pipe a damn around the outside edge of the cake with stiff cream cheese icing. Fill the middle with raspberry jam, or lemon curd (the damn prevents the filling from leaking out). Repeat the process with all layers until finished and then ice as you wish. There are some great youtube clips of making a layer cake if you need further help.

This recipe is totally flexible so just experiment with it to find a cake you love.




Chocolate Babka


Here is the recipe for Chocolate Babka. It is a cross between a cake and bread, similar to brioche. It’s great for a sneaky breakfast treat..

This can be baked in two loaf/bar tins if you don’t have two kugelhopf tins

For the dough
1/3 cup caster sugar
200 mls warm milk (I used soy as I didn’t have any normal)
3 teaspoons of dry yeast
4 egg yolks + two whole eggs (Use the surplus whites for chocolate meringues…)
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
4 cups of plain flour
pinch of salt
200gms of butter (softened and cubed)

For the middle
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 dark cocoa (I use dutch)
2 teaspoon cinnamon
75gms butter softened
3/4 cup of chocolate chips (if using buttons or drops, chop them down a bit)

For the drizzle
300 gms icing sugar
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of water

Combine milk and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl, sprinkle yeast on top and set aside until foamy

Put the yeast mixture, sugar, eggs, yolks and vanilla in a large bowl and mix until well combined. Gradually add 3 cups of the flour and the salt and beat until smooth.

Change to a dough hook if your mixer has one (or stick with the one you are using if not) Add the butter gradually alternating with the remaining flour. Beat until it forms a dough.

If you have a dough hook, continue to mix for 3-4 minutes. Alternatively you will need to turn out the dough onto a floured bench and knead for 5 minutes (And ask for a mixer with a dough hook for Christmas 🙂 )

Return to the bowl, cover with glad wrap and leave in a warm place to rise (Approx 1 hour)

On to the fun part! Grease your tins. Knock back the dough and turn out onto a floured bench. Divide the dough in half.

To make the filling, stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl

Roll out one portion of the dough into a rectangle approx 25 x 35 cms. Sprinkle over half the filling. Roll up the dough like a swiss roll (along the longest side) Place the log in the tin and pinch the ends together. Repeat with the remaining dough

Cover the tins with a tea towel and leave to rise again for 45 mins. Preheat the oven to 180c

Bake for approx 35 mins, cool in tins for 10 mins before turning out onto a rack

For the drizzle – put the icing, butter and water into a small pot and stir over a very low heat (don’t let the sugar burn) drizzle over the cakes and leave to set before serving.





Homemade tomato sauce


500 gms of ripe tomatoes
One tin of whole peeled tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of thyme
2 red chillies
half a cup of brown sugar
half a cup of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 teaspoon of allspice
half a cup of water

Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees and add the fresh tomatoes, garlic cloves (whole), thyme and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to a roasting dish. Bake for 1.5 hours until the tomatoes and garlic are soft.

Remove from oven and put the tomatoes, some of the thyme into a saucepan. squeeze the soft garlic out of the skin into the saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients

Bring the saucepan to the boil then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the sauce has the consistency you like. Blend with a stick blender if the tomatoes have not broken down as much as you would like.

Pour into glass jars. This will keep in the fridge for around 1 week.