Sunday, April 29, 2012

I let them eat cake

Yesterday I was filled with trepidation about my very rare venture into cake-baking. And there's a simple reason for that. I didn't exactly follow the recipe (which I will give at the end of this posting). It was around step three that I went off the rails. This was the bit where you 'gently fold in' the lemon zest and the flour and the yoghurt. I was having so much fun with the electric egg-beaters that everything added got a thoroughly good whizzing with the Sunbeam Egg-o-Blaster (or whatever it's called), and so when I saw the 'gently fold in' bit, I recalled at that fateful moment that he or she who overbeats the batter gets all they deserve. Oh dear, such is the life of a baking newbie. Anyway, here's what happened next...

After 30 minutes it was looking alarmingly brown on
top, and as a skewer came out clean, that was good
enough for me. Notice that gentle dimpling in the
centre? (Stop sniggering, cake experts.) That developed
into a more serious looking sink-hole as it cooled
overnight. This is a 'Syrup cake' by the way, and so
 I liberally splashed on most, but not all of, the lemon
flavoured sugar syrup, as the recipe says. 
I almost forgot to take a photo at this stage, such was
the panic about plating this up with the quinces and
the yoghurt, but here's how it looked. Notice the sinkhole?
It was moist but not fabulously moist, so I should have
added all that syrup, after all. However, it was a
moist cake, and lemony, and I am determined to make
it the right way next time round. Even with a newbie
in charge of the egg beaters, it worked out quite well.
Forgive my lack of food styling skills, but here is the
cake, with the baked quinces (from yesterday's blog)
on the side. Fortunately, the quinces were so very
fragrant and delicious that all the cake's shortcomings
were forgotten at first bite. So I just barely survived my
rare foray into cake-baking by having something
much better on the plate which served as a distraction.
Sorry about this photo, too, but I only
remembered to take a photo a bit late
in the piece. I am almost as happy with
this Greek yoghurt and honey as I was
with the quinces (notice how I've forgotten
about the cake already?). To make this
I lined an ordinary plastic kitchen strainer
with muslin, tipped in a 500g tub of
thick Greek yoghurt, set this over a bowl
and left it in the fridge overnight to drip,
drip drip away. It leaked about a cup
of liquid, and the resulting very very
firm, thick yoghurt looked superb.
God bless Olga and Tina at Danas
Cafe and Deli on Illawarra Road,
Marrickville, as they stock all sorts of
very authentic Greek ingredients, such
as this Greek Thyme honey. Words
other than 'try it' fail me in doing
this fragrant honey justice. With the
yoghurt, all you need to do is drizzle
the honey all over the top of the white
yoghurt dome. Don't bother mixing it
in. It looks lovely with golden rivers
running down its sides.
I won't go into all the details of how the whole lunch
went, but every time Pam and I get together with
Rema, Ravi, Eric and Jane there's lots of laughter
and time flies by so quickly. And the tagine was nice,
so too all the side dishes, and the quinces, yoghurt and
honey, plus the cake, finished things off sweetly.
I particularly like the way Pammy can
always find something in flower in the
garden to dress a table.
Two other foodie highlights that worked well today.
For our green garden salad I scattered pomegranate
arils liberally all over the top, just before serving.
They looked so pretty and when I bought out this bowl
of 'leftover' arils not used in the salad, people started
scooping up more to scatter on their salad. A hit!
Another minor hit was my spicy flatbread crisps.
As the main course was a Moroccan lamb tagine, for
the pre-lunch dips (hommos and baba ghannouj), as
well as using normal Lebanese flatbread, I set aside
 a few to be turned into crisps. After cutting into
triangles, I sprayed each with light olive oil then
scattered them lightly with Moroccan spice mix.
Bake for just 5 minutes at 180°C and they not only
came out crisp but stayed that way all day.
Overlooking all the fun was our little
Backyard Supervisor, White Rabbit. She
says: "Cake recipe, Jamie!"

Yoghurt Lemon Syrup Cake
This is from Pam's vast folder full of recipes. I know she clipped it out of the Herald's 'Good Weekend' magazine, but it might be from 2012 or 2001, for all I know.

125g butter, softened
200g (1 cup) caster sugar
3 eggs
zest of 1/2 lemon
200g (1 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
200g (3/4 cup) natural yoghurt

juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup water
150g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

20cm cake tin

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cream the butter and caster sugar until pale and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
Gently fold in the lemon zest and flour, then the yoghurt.
Use a spatula to scrape into a lined 20cm cake tin, making the centre a little lower than the edges,
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

To make the syrup, heat the water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and simmer for five minutes.

When the cake is cooked, leave it in the tin, poke a fine skewer all over the top (about 30 times should do it and spoon the hot lemon syrup over, trying to give the cake an even coverage of syrup.

Allow the cake to cool in the tin, before serving.


robble said...

Yum - great post - now I need something sweet to eat!

Lanie at Edible Urban Garden said...

I think the cake looks great (who cares about a bit of a dent)! And I am sure it tasted fantastic.

Jamie said...

You're too kind, Lanie. The 'dent' looks more where the rocket crash-landed in the ploughed field, but it did taste nice. I am a complete sucker for the combination of sugar and lemons.

Harlinah said...

Your cake looks delicious - I'm definitely going to try this recipe! Lemon, yoghurt... mmmmmm.