Thursday, 5 August 2010

Lemon Explosion

This cake must be one of my all time favourites. It is lovely and tart and hits all the right buttons. If you have ever been offered a shop made lemon cake and thought that lemon cakes are not really to your taste, give this a try - this very yummy cake explodes with lemony freshness in your mouth.

A while a ago a friend was visiting and she appreciated the cake as much as we do. She asked us whether the cake keeps well. Sheepishly we admitted that we could not tell as this cake does not make it overnight in our house. This is the reason why it cannot be baked too often, we would look like Humpa Lumpas in no time at all.

I had this excellent idea though today as I was baking it; making it to cupcakes gives me possibility to freeze some of it and the portions are "pre-measured". (We really need all the help we can get to restrain ourselves around this cake).

The recipe came from the aforementioned friend F, but I have since changed it quite a bit and now I call it "Mama Elf's Lemon Explosion". My friend was texting me yesterday begging for the recipe, as she cannot find her original, so here it comes F...One more thing; this is really good cake and people who are wheat intolerant can have it as well. If the problem is almonds, you can get around this as well, just look at the notes in the end.

Mama Elf's Lemon Explosion

3 unwaxed lemons
5 large eggs
175g caster sugar
175g ground almonds
50g polenta
10ml (2tsp) baking powder

1. Place the lemons unpeeled in a pan, cover with water and bring to boil. Lower the heat and let simmer for 45min or until the lemons are very soft. Drain and let cool for 30 minutes.

2.Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas mark 5. Grease and flour a 24cm/10" cake tin. You could line the base with a grease proof paper, if you wish.

3. Cut the lemons in halves and remove the pips. Place in a food processor or a blender and puré.

4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together, so that the the sugar is dissolved and the colour is light yellow.

5. Stir in the almonds/polenta/baking powder. I find it helpful to mix these ingredients together first, so everything is evenly distributed.

6. Add the lemon puré.

7. Pour into the cake tin and bake 40-45 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch. When filling cupcake forms, scrape the mix from the bottom of the bowl, as the lemon tends to drop down and you will otherwise end up with half of the cakes with no lemon and half of the cakes very heavy. If you are using cupcake or muffin cases, bake from 16-20 minutes depending on the size of the case. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

Notes to vary the ingredients:
Here are some other ideas for composition of the dry ingredients. I tried this one today and it is fine.
1) 175g sugar/25g ground almonds/ 50g polenta/100g potato flour/50g dessicated coconut.

2) You could also take the almonds out of the receipe all together and bake with 75g polenta, 50g dessicated coconut and 100g potato flour.

Before icing the cake, drizzle some lemon juice and water mixture on the cake to make it really moist. You can aide the absorbtion by forking the cake top.


200g cream cheese
150-200g icing sugar (depending on your taste buds, I drop the amount of the sugar even lower quite often)
Few drops of lemon juice.
Mix together with a fork and spread or pipe on the cake.
Let your imagination loose with decoration. Mine is grated lemon peel and a tiny mint leaf.
Edited Note: I am not a brand loyal person at all, but have now tried this icing with several cream cheeses and only Philadelphia seems to work. I believe it is about fat/water contents. Other cream cheeses seem to make this icing a horrible runny affair. If you find any other make suitable, please leave a comment. 

Have fun and save some for your family!

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