There seems to be an abundance of beautiful, perky fresh lemons at the moment, just bursting with zingy flavour and juice and asking to be made into something delicious. I couldn't resist picking some up and then wondered how to make the most of their fresh flavour.
Inspired by a tub of buttermilk in the fridge I decided to visit my bookshelf and pull out one of my purchased-long-ago much-neglected books as I recalled seeing a recipe for a buttermilk cake in it. The book in question is Bill Granger's 'bill's food' and is such a beautiful book. The layout is clean and simple and the photography is gorgeous, making you want to eat all of the dishes in the book, even the ones containing ingredients you detest! I think the only other recipe I've made from the book is the buttermilk pancakes (buttermilk obviously being a theme here!) many years ago, for breakfast once. I seem to remember they went down well!
The picture for this particular recipe is lovely - a gorgeous wedge of pale cake with raspberry syrup running over it, served with extra raspberries and a blob of whipped cream - divine!
Because I wanted to use lemons rather than the specified vanilla and raspberry combo, I have adapted the recipe slightly and give it here:
Lemon Buttermilk Cake
125g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
grated zest 2 large, juicy lemons
- Preheat the oven to gas 4/180C. Grease and line an 8"/20cm square shallow tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. It will seem that the mixture is not changing, but it does after a while.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add the buttermilk, continuing to beat slowly. Here my mixture curdled in a most disgusting way, I think probably because my buttermilk was fridge cold.
- Add the lemon zest and stir to distribute it.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, and fold in. At this point my mixture didn't look too bad again!
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 50 minutes until risen and golden. I think I may have left mine a few minutes longer.
- Allow to cool for a while in the tin, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When cool ice with a simple lemon glace icing. I used about 250g icing sugar and the juice of one large, juicy lemon to do this. Simply spread over the cake, trying not to allow too much to run off the edges!
This was a gorgeous cake. The crumb was so soft and tender and gently flavoured with lemon, which was accentuated beautifully by the sharp sweet lemon icing. I was very pleased that the curdling that happened when I mixed the cake didn't seem to affect it adversely after baking. It certainly satisfied my lemon craving in the most satisfying way, and my colleagues seemed equally taken with it as a rapid disappearance will testify!
I will definitely bear this cake in mind again when I next have buttermilk to use, and think it would make a beautiful birthday cake if decorated with fondant etc. But on the other hand, the recipe is too good to save for special occasions - it deserves to be enjoyed everyday.
I am sending this Lemon buttermilk cake to Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker. She is co-hosting a new event - 'Alphabakes' with Caroline of Caroline Makes. The idea is that a random letter will be generated each month and we must bake something involving that letter. The first letter to be generated is 'L' hence my submission!