Saturday 10 November 2012

Raymond Blanc's Lemon Cake

Well, almost. I remember watching this cake being made, and shortly after saw that Suelle had baked it and made a note of her observations on the recipe. For some reason this recipe popped rather randomly into my mind a few days ago. The combination of a couple of lemons, a pot of double cream and rather a lot of eggs to use meant that this recipe was the perfect solution.

You can find the recipe here on the BBC Food website. I made some small changes to the recipe to reflect my ingredient availability and Suelle's comments about the recipe.

I only used two lemons (that's all I had) and added the zest of both to the cake mixture, along with the juice of one of them. I missed out the rum (sorry Raymond, I don't have rum kicking around my house) and used salted butter (thereby missing out the pinch of salt). Actually, given how much I usually change recipes that's pretty good going for me! After reading Suelle's comments I decided to put the whole lot into the tin (which is very counterintuitive given how much batter there is) and all was well.

I also wanted to try a little trick I'd heard (not sure whether I heard it via twitter/in one of his books/on his blog) from Edd Kimber about getting the crack on a loaf cake. You put a little line of butter down the centre of the cake before putting it in the oven and then it melts and forms a weak point in the batter where a crack will form (my understanding of it). I wasn't sure if it'd work but thought it worth a go and I did indeed get a very attractive crack along the length of my loaf. A good tip, and one I'll be using again. Thanks Edd. I found my cake too longer to bake than the 50-60 minutes specified. Mine was more like 1hr 15-20 (I sort of lost track). I covered it up after about 55 minutes to stop it over-browning.

For the icing I decided not to go the apricot jam and glaze route, but just to revert to the kind of drizzle I know I like - I dissolved the 150g icing sugar in the juice of the remaining lemon, allowed it to boil over, creating sticky chaos on my hob (yeah, I don't really recommend that step) and then when the cake was baked, stabbed it all over with a long cake tester (the cake is too deep for a wooden cocktail stick, which is my usual cake-testing-implement-of-choice) and poured the syrup over. I left it until cold in the tin to absorb the syrup. Yum, sticky (actually - very, very sticky....)

This was such a good cake. I don't quite know how to describe it, because if I say it was dense, that doesn't sound complimentary and it's actually meant to. It was the perfect balance of denseness and solidity yet when eaten it was delicate and soft. My method of soaking the syrup into the cake worked as well as I had hoped and created delicious moist, lemony edges to the cake, and at the base of the cake there was a lovely moist bit too. I will certainly make this again the next time the correct ingredients align in my baking life.... I can't say that it was a cheap cake due to the number of eggs and the cream, but oh boy was it ever worth making. Next time I think I'll try and ramp up the lemon flavour by adding more zest, or perhaps a teaspoon of lemon extract (oil) and using more lemon juice in the glaze, to get that real lemon zing that was perhaps missing (as also noted by Suelle).

As I have been meaning to make this for ages and ages (and have merely been waiting for the correct constellation of ingredients-needing-to-be-used-up to occur) I am going to submit it to Bookmarked Recipes, hosted by Jac of Tinned Tomatoes. (Or I will if I can find the linky, I don't think it's up yet... Edited to add link 14/11/12)


Chele said...

Great minds think alike, I made a lemon cake this week too ;0)
Yours looks lovely, I love the maderia cake type texture of this one. Good stuff ;0)

Alicia Foodycat said...

Wow - that looks like a heck of a cake! I love the tip about the crack.

Suelle said...

Thanks for the reminder - I really ought to make this again!

Using butter to make a crack where you want it to be is a tip worth knowing!

Liana said...

That cake looks delicious! I always worry about recipes where you essentially bake it all in one go as my oven tends to go too hot so I might cover in foil a lot sooner. I'm definitely bookmarking this one :)

Phil in the Kitchen said...

I've been meaning to get around to making this cake ever since I saw the TV programme. It looks lovely. Great tip about using butter to create the crack in the right place.

Katie said...

Looks gorgeous! I love how golden and sticky it looks on top and the close texture inisde. Yum. I remmeber seing him make this and thinking 'I must bake that' and I never have. Good to see how it turns out.
Great tin on the butter too - must try!

Maggie said...

My brother made this and took it into work for the office cake day. He said everyone loved it. Great tip regarding the butter to create a crack on top.

The Caked Crusader said...

Love the close crumbed texture - reminds me of the madeira cakes of my youth!

Dipika @ The Very Hungry Baker said...

This one's been on my to-bake list for a while too - your version looks delicious! I love Raymond Blanc :o)

Caroline said...

Chele - great minds indeed :-) I love lemon cakes!

Foodycat - it was a heck of a cake - great expression!

Suelle - and thank you for your observations first time round. I would never have put all of the mixture in otherwise.

The Baker - it's a good recipe. I guess baking is about knowing your oven, so cover if you feel you need to.

Phil - it's definitely worth making.

Katie - thank you. It was very sticky indeed and the close textured crumb was very good.

Maggie - I think this will become a classic recipe!

CC - yes, definitely reminiscent of maderia cake texture, but even better :-)

Dipika - I definitely recommend baking it ASAP.

Unknown said...

Yummy looks good! I made lemon drizzle cake this week ...this looks like it has a much finer texture to the sponge...thanks for sharing :-)

Choclette said...

Isn't it funny, we bakers try so hard not to get cracks in our cake and then go all contrary and try hard to get them! It does look very effective though and I like the sticky shiny look it has too. It actually looks like a Madeira cake, which is sort of dense, but very delicious. I have a load of lemons, so I'm thinking I should maybe give this a try.

Anonymous said...

Did you use that new Edgeware zester? I got mine at Lakeland- absolutely crazy for it!!! No mess, saves all the fragrant oil from the zest!

Caroline said...

Mezza May - it is indeed a very fine texture.

Choclette - I know - some cakes need to be smooth and some you want that crack! Fussy bunch aren't we ;-) Do give it a try and let me know what you think.

Anon - no, I didn't use an Edgeware zester, but I did buy mine from Lakeland. It was this Cuisipro fine one:
It's really good, I've had it a while and am impressed.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Oh yum that looks good. I do love lemon cake, in fact all things lemon. I was watching a programme the other night where they gave babies a taste of lemon, they puckered their faces up, but reached out for more.

Unknown said...

I hope it is better the next day as when I'd made it it was rather heavy! I like to think I'm a good baker and followed the recipe to the letter too, but you definately could eat it and express any comment as your mouth was rather stuck together!!!!


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