Saturday, 10 September 2011

Lemon and Raspberry Drizzle Cake, Ginger Monkey Style

So when I was working at the FANTASTIC Ginger Monkey (how I miss you!) I cooked dinner for the whole hostel one night. It was really good fun, and was followed by a substantial amount of drinking. Thank you to our lovely Canadian guest for teaching us such good games! Luckily our stomachs had been very well lined by some rather good and tender (if I may say so myself) lemony roast chicken, rice with onions, satuéed red peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. Unfortunately the rice wasn't seasoned or vegetabley enough to be as tasty as it probably could have been.

This is the group I was cooking for looking very happy about the prospect of food after a long and tiring game of ultimate friz.

I was terrified everyone was really disappointed by my cooking, not helped by the fact that everyone was unbelievably quiet during dinner, to the point of it being awkward. The whole time I was just thinking 'please don't let everyone hate this, please don't let everyone hate this, please don't...' So I was very pleased and relieved when the first to finish his meal sat back, patted his belly and simply said 'Ahhh satisfaction.' Turns out everyone was happy in the end. Job well done. 

Dessert on the other hand, was awesome all round.

This is how it started... 

Thank you, Jakey, my lovely sous-chef and long-time friend, for taking the place of the hostel's busted electric mixer when my biceps gave up on the job. And thank you also for the entertainment of dropping the remaining 8 eggs from a bag of 10 all over the floor. And then screaming at the broken egg yolk running under the oven 'WHY DO YOU HAVE TO BE SO PROTEINY!?' or something to that effect...

You wouldn't think this would bode too well for dinner considering this was only part way into the first job dessert prep, but it turned out pretty darn well in the end. 

My lemon cake for dessert was awesome. It had a really good crumb, it was very zesty and slightly sticky from the drizzle, with the occasional burst of wild raspberry. Even better, these gems had been sourced locally by a couple of the guests on their rambles through the Tatras mountains.

And how beautiful is this presentation!? You'd never have thought the dudes who picked them would have presented it so delicately. What a treat. And since there were still a few of these floating around, I decided to chuck them into the cake batter at the last second so they wouldn't go to waste.

I just used the old-fashioned method of weighing out the eggs, then matching self-raising flour, sugar and butter measures to it. It just so happened that my 3 eggs weighed exactly 250g, which made my life very easy. Perfect! 

So, cream together the butter and sugar with the zest of 1 1/2 large lemons until it's light and fluffy. This was where Jake's significantly greater strength came in useful. Beat in your eggs one at a time, ensuring each is well incorporated before cracking in the next. Sieve and incorporate the flour with a 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp soda, in a few stages to avoid explosions. 

Then a dash of milk, a squeeze of lemon juice, stir in your juicy jewels of raspberries (sorry, I couldn't resist the Nigella-esque adjectives) and in it goes to a pre-greased and lined tin. The tin I had available was unfortunately a little too big, so with this you'll probably just have to go by eye. Before baking I also pressed some raspberries into the top of the batter. 

Bake at 180C/350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Just bear in mind the more eggs you've used, the longer it'll need to bake.

Leave it to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Pierce with a fork before drenching in a lemon glaze. Again I did this by eye. All you have to do is dissolve some sieved icing sugar in lemon juice, increasing the sugar content the thicker you want the glaze to be. Personally, I prefer it to be very fluid to ensure maximum absorption by the cake. Also, sieving it means you're less likely to end up with a horrible lumpy soup. 

This and some stracciatella ice cream made for a mighty fine dessert. Just look at this.

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