12 Apr 2015

lemon almond cake, lemon sour cream cupcakes



Trust me on this one. I know it doesn't look like much, but trust me...

When I served F this buttercup-yellow lemon and almond cake for afternoon tea, she said lemon cake was her favourite. What serendipity! It’s one of my favourites too (I also have a soft spot for orange cakes, apple cakes, and plain buttery cakes).

A good lemon cake should be zingy and refreshing, with or without icing; it should be equally invigorating on a dull winter’s day or hot summer evening - though it must be said, at this time of year, with darkening days and chilly afternoons, a good lemon cake really shines. It lifts your spirits and your tastebuds. And if the recipes says juice or zest of one lemon, it can’t hurt to give a little extra squeeze or scrape, can it? There is nothing worse than a lemon cake deficient in lemon.

After that, I do not mind if the cake if fluffy as a cloud or dense and pudding like. Both these cakes are on the richer end of the scale, and this lemon-almond cake is definitely more pudding than cake – especially the next day, when the zingy icing has had time to soak in (a transformation like this reminds me of Nigella’s damp chocolate cake, which gets better over time). The word ‘squidgy’ springs to mind!

Cakes made with almond meal (or full-fat sour cream) are usually wonderfully moist. However, the fact I used a lot less meal than the recipe specified — my digital scales blanked on me while measuring the meal, and what I had already weighed out looked like an awful lot anyway — I’m sure is the main reason this heavenly, lemony slab was so good (I've made it since with the reduced quantity and it works every time). 'The best', as F later emailed me; so good that she did not share the piece I gave her to take home with anyone. So best I share the recipe with you.

Lemon almond cake
Adapted from Ross Dobson’s ‘Market Vegetarian’. The original recipe specified gently toasting 250 gms whole blanched almonds before whizzing them to make your own meal. However, I was feeling poorly — the cost of the blanched almonds would have made this a very expensive cake — and I had almond meal in the pantry.
  • Preheat oven to 180 and prep a 20 cm square brownie tin.
  • Cream 200 gms soft butter, 200 gms sugar and the zest of at least two lemons. Maybe a little more! Then beat in 3 eggs.
  • Now fold thru 75 gms plain flour, 1 tspn baking powder, and 175 gms almond meal.
  • Finally, stir thru at least 80 mls lemon juice. Maybe a little more!
  • Spoon the batter into your brownie tin, and bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake shrinks away from the sides a little. Rest on a wire rack, then remove from tin and cool a little before icing.
  • For the icing, combine 150 gms icing sugar with 2 tbspns of lemon juice. Yes ... maybe a little more! Pour over the cake. Lovely with a cup of earl grey, and even better the next day. I recommend eating this with a fork.

Lemon sour cream cupcakes
Another favourite lemon cake; Another lovely dense, moist texture. Adapted from AWW ‘Food we love’: I halved the recipe and made cupcakes.
  • Preheat oven to 170 and prep a 12-hole muffin tray.
  • Cream 125gms soft butter, the zest of at least two lemons and 1 cup sugar.
  • Beat in 3 eggs then the juice of one lemon.
  • Sift and fold thru 1 cup plain flour, half a ¼ cup of SR flour, and 90 mls sour cream.
  • Divide into the cupcake and bake for 20–25 minutes or until done.
 

30 comments:

  1. Good timing - I've been admiring our bumper lemon crop this year and wondering what to do with it. Now I know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ooh lucky you to have loads of lemons, sweetie! one of life's nicer predicaments :-)

      Delete
  2. Oh good lord, yum, and yum. I love lemon flavoured anything, especially cake. I adore anything with almond meal in it, the texture is divine, but, moan, so expensive. I have a lemon cake recipe to try that uses dessicated coconut rather than almond meal, which sounds worth a try as well. But I'm going to lash out with this almond meal one as well - after all, it's nearly my birthday...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. jo, mum and I recently discovered that our local health food store sells very large bags of Australian almond meal, and it works out cheaper than the smaller supermarket bags. and it freezes, so that may help you with the cost (because yes it's very expensive!).
      so this way perhaps you can save and buy yourself some bubbly for your birthday too!

      Delete
  3. Mmm, lemons are my favourite. And I almost always make cakes with ground almonds in them as well, I love them. So I shall definitely write down these recipes. I'm VERY envious of Mary's "bumper lemon crop". Oh to have a bumper lemon crop. Sigh. CJ xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. me too CJ ... I really need to buy a new lemon tree, a different variety. but i've been saying that for the past ten years since I bought my house! lemon cakes are delicious.

      Delete
  4. I'm a lemon cake fan as well Elizabeth. My husbands fav dessert is lemon delicious and I love cakes with almond meal in them, as you said always so moist. Will try this cake soon, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. your hubby has excellent taste, Catherine :-) I hope you like it!

      Delete
  5. Lemon cake comes second only to carrot cake in my list of favourite cakes (it is quite a long list...) I'll definitely be trying your recipes - you never know they might just push carrot cake off the top slot!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. well GD, that is a big assertion! it's really lovely to hear that everyone loves a good lemon cake. a perennial favourite.

      Delete
  6. Oh nice one, Elizabeth. I wish I could eat lemons ; (

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh lizzie, life without lemons ... I shall enjoy them even more now, on your behalf.

      Delete
  7. With words like trust me on this one… trust me….! how could I resist this lemon almond cake recipe. I can cook but I’m not very good at baking though I shall give it a try. D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. it's worth the efforts if you love lemon cake D. and apparently every one does!

      Delete
  8. The lemons on the tree are just starting to yellow up. Perfect timing e! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh yay! lemon cakes here we come :-)

      Delete
  9. Looks perfect to me. What I wouldn't do for a piece of this with my cup of tea right now! I adore cirtus cakes. I also prefer the icing to be like it is in the picture, thin and complimentary...I'm not into thick icing which can overpower cake deliciousness :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks jem - I amazed myself by doing this glaze as i'm usually too impatient - I just want to eat the cake! mm, and now I want a piece too...

      Delete
  10. I adore lemon cakes and this looks delicious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thankyou jean! it seems lemon cakes have lots of fans here :-)

      Delete
  11. Mmmm. I do like a cake that has a proper lemon kick. Oh, now I can't decide which one to make first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, what a dilemma to face ... :-)

      Delete
  12. Yum e, I do love a lemony cake too! Actually, after reading your blog I feel like a slice right now x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. if I could send you a piece, I would jane :-)

      Delete
  13. Most fruits cant stand up to being adapted for summer and winter use and you are 100% right in lemons. It's getting to one of the first hot days here and I bought two of the biggest lemons I could find for slicing and sticking in water. I'd much prefer a slice of your cake (and a cupcake) though... Looks so good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hello Hannah! ooh, oh for a hot day and a chilled glass of lemony water ... enjoy the heat and lemons for us :-)

      Delete
  14. I love your description of the perfect lemon cake and definitely agree with you. This lemon cake fits perfectly into the moist, flavoursome variety that we WANT to eat. It is a gorgeous picture and makes you want to reach out and take a piece. Just lovely E :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh merryn you are lovely - I always suffer photo anxiety and this was a particularly ugly one I thought!
      mmm, i'm wanting a slice myself now...

      Delete
  15. Thanks for posting this! I made it last minute because we had all the ingredients on hand. My husband was doing most of the cooking for dinner and that left me with time to make dessert. I must say, we were stunned with how wonderful it tasted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you SS, and welcome to dig in. and how wonderful to have someone cook dinner for you ... i'm glad you enjoyed.

      Delete

Word-verification is on, as the robot-spammers are loving my tuna past bake too much at the moment! I hope you understand - and I hope you'll still leave a comment at Dig In. I love hearing your thoughts, knowing someone is reading, and will always reply. Unless you're a robot-spammer.