Friday, 15 June 2012

Cake Obsession

There I was, last Saturday morning week, enjoying my usual late leisurely breakfast with the Irish Times to hand – sports section for him, weekend magazine supplement for her, free range of the remote control for the juniors – all happy. I always enjoy Roisin Ingle’s column, a look at the “hot & cold” list and a wee chuckle at Ross O’Carroll-Kelly, and then the real pleasure… the recipes. Deep joy then, last week, to find a 6-page special going on. Lots of inspiration, and then I turn the page to the cake section, and there’s nirvana – lemon and raspberry. You probably don’t know, but lemon and raspberry is a little bit of a passion / obsession with me, ever since I discovered Nigella Lawson's “damp lemon and almond cake” which she suggests you serve with raspberries – it is fabulous. Then came my DinnerLady colleague with her lemon posset (I suggest you try it with raspberries instead of blueberries, devine) which I’ve made 3 times now. So I knew I had to give this a whirl.

Juicer & Zester
So, I assemble my ingredients and realise the recipe calls for sunflower oil… Dammit, I only have rapeseed. I looked at the recipe again, there was the author’s twitter handle, the lovely Eunice Power (@eunicepower). I’ve never done this before, but thought I might as well try, so I tweeted her and she kindly replied, saying that it should be fine but potentially a little heavy. Ah feck it, I thought, I’ll crack on. Using my favourite implements (the zester and the juicer, see right) I got started. I did once try a cake recipe that used oil instead of butter, it was an unmitigated disaster so I was somewhat trepidatious.
Anyhow, despite my absolute best efforts; such as forgetting to add the raspberries (luckily it was only in the oven about 5 minutes, but it was rather comical seeing my trying to shove them down into a cake that was already starting to cook, not to mind that cardinal rule of baking – do not open the oven, let alone take the cake out of the oven, til the cooking time has elapsed) and icing it before the cake was cool (a visiting 5yr old, drooling at the mouth and a Mum waiting to leave and get their own dinner started - I couldn't disappoint them!) ... Anyhow, it turned out brilliantly – if I do say so myself!
As the recipe is suggested as a traybake for a school cake sale or similar event, I have to say the only “downside” was that the recipe made rather a large amount of cake. I'd imagine it would easily scale down - although having tasted it, I'm not sure I really want to. Also, the ladies and gents of my eldest daughter’s school Parent’s Association meeting that evening didn't complain either and it certainly made me popular!

Here's a link directly to the recipe - there's also a great recipe for a coffee tray bake cake and some chocolate fairy cakes, look for them in the weeks to come as I am itching to try those too! I've also transcribed it below.

Lemon & Raspberry Tray Bake
·         For the cake:
·         350g self raising flour
·         1tsp baking powder
·         250g caster sugar
·         Zest of 2 lemons
·         250ml natural yoghurt (I used one of those ultra low fat ones, was marginally :
·         5 large eggs
·         250ml sunflower oil
·         1 punnet of raspberries
·         For the lemon drizzle:
·         200g icing sugar
·         Juice of 2 lemons
·         Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC / gas mark 3, and line a 23cm x 32cm cake tin with parchment paper – there’s a knack to this, here’s how if you’re unsure)
1.    Sieve the flour (sorry Eunice, I didn’t bother to sieve!) and baking powder into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
2.    In another bowl, whisk the sugar, oil, lemon zest, yoghurt and eggs. (I used the electric hand beater for this)
3.    Pour the mixture into the well in the flour mixture (don’t be alarmed if it seems to overwhelm it, all will be fine) and stir well.
4.    Pour the mixture into the lined tin and dot the raspberries over the top (ideally before it goes in the oven!)
5.    Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 50 minutes, until golden brown, then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely before icing (I left mine in the tin to cool for 5 mins first)

Enjoy the cake!
Sarah xx


  1. Great thanks for posting, now I can clear out the magazine rack! Also whenever you get a chance would love your original coffee cake recipe X

  2. PS It wasn't just the five year old visitor that was drooling! Fab cake.

  3. Ah - you're so welcome! Yes, will post the original coffee cake recipe soon, but basically the secret is "Irel" chicory and coffee essence - you should find it in the baking aisle, Tesco stock it anyhow. Otherwise it's just a regular "all-in-one" method sponge cake with butter icing. Will post it soon, really need to make it soon, haven't had one in ages

  4. I find most oils are interchangeable, except for EVOO! Looks very tasty too.

  5. Thanks Johann, it was really good, definitely a great addition to the repetoire