Saturday 4 February 2012

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

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
2 eggs
250g buttermilk
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!

I am also submitting this recipe to Jac's (from Tinned Tomatoes) Bookmarked recipes linky. This month's linky can be found here. This recipe is one of those that has languished in a cookery book that has been on my shelf and at the back of my mind for years and years now!


Suelle said...

The texture looks lovely - moist and tender but not too light, if you know what I mean!

Caroline said...

I know exactly what you mean, and that's just what the texture was like! Light yet substantial, and moist too. Thoroughly recommended!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

I love lemon in cakes. It is so good. Hmmmmmm, desserts and yoghurts too actually :)

Janice said...

That sounds lovely, I love a lemon cake too.

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

I love lemon cake! Lovely change from the traditional lemon drizzle. It looks so fluffy!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Looks excellent. I'm sure I've got that book somewhere - I must dig it out.

teawithhazel said...

i have a weak spot for simple but delicious cakes like this..yum!

Unknown said...

It just looks so unctuous I would devour it in one sitting. The icing alone is superb. So hungry for this now!

Sunshine - said...

I love lemon cake!

cityhippyfarmgirl said...

Oh for a little wedge about now...

The Caked Crusader said...

My mum would love this - I'm printing this one off!

Caroline Cowe said...

This looks lovely, I really want some nice moist lemon cake now! Thank you for entering it into Alphabakes!

Baking Addict said...

Fantastic entry to Alphabakes. Love lemon cake and this looks delicious especially with the icing on top.

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What a great use of buttermilk and a delicious sounding bake- I often have a little spare lurking at the back of my fridge! Bill has just opened a new cafe/restaurant near to us- we tried to go last weekend for brunch but it was absolutely packed and sadly they don't take bookings. We'll just have to keep trying!

celia said...

I love the combination of buttermilk and citrus, and Bill Granger's recipes are usually reliable. Thanks for trying this one out, C - it looks just the thing as autumn approaches.. :)

Maggie said...

I'm a Bill Granger fan but have had a few mishaps with some of his recipes. I will make a note in my book that this one is a winner and looks delicious too.

Maria♥ said...

You can't beat a Lemon Cake, this looks so fresh and delish!


Victoria said...

i love baking with is just so lovely! yum!

Anonymous said...

I worked at one of Bills restaurants for quite a while and have made this cake more times than I can remember, just thought I'd let you know the reason the mixture split, or curdled, when you added the buttermilk has nothing to do with the temperature, its absolutely nothing you did its just the way the recipe is. The butter, sugar and egg mix can only hold so much liquid. If you want to avoid this happening, slowly add the milk and flour at the same time. Makes no difference in the end though, like you said when you add the flour the mixture stabilizes again. Just thought you'd be interested to know why :) Also, fyi if you ever need to double the recipe, only add 3 eggs, not 4, otherwise the mix splits and its alot harder to get it back to something usable. Its a tempestuous recipe but its so good its worth it!!


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