Lemon & Almond Cake - FAIL!!!

Lemons are a relatively new fruit for me. Back where I came from (and no, boys and girls, despite my gleeful claims, I do not originally hail from Bognor Regis), lemons were a pretty rare thing. We have limes, ickle ones which are thin skinned and very crisp flavoured. My Mum used to squeeze the juice out, dissolve plenty of sugar with some icy cold water for a refreshing drink. 

Only recently, do I sometimes choose lemon cakes over chocolate and they have to be pretty damn fine for me to do that - for instance, Spiker's lemon cake which she made for our Tea Party. The thing is, I can't help but make the deduction that only old people would prefer lemon cakes over chocolate - and because of this, I sorta fight this growing fondness for this sharp, unassuming and common citrus fruit. 

Disclaimer: I am quite happy for you to pronounce me as shallow for this very reason. 

So, I wasn't planning to bake any cakes for a few days. I have some bread baking to catch up with - two white loaves, 4 loaves of ciabatta and 3 loaves of soda bread should really keep me pretty busy for the next couple of days but those damn lemons keep beckoning me. I keep thinking of them sitting there in the fridge, just willing me to boil the hell out of them. 

Yes, this recipe requires you to boil them. None of this namby pamby zesting and squeezing the juice out and measuring the quantity in a measuring jug. This, my friend, is a good bit of honest, nonchalant baking. The sort that I don't have to have my contact lenses on for cos the recipe is so simple. 

So, you take 4 lemons (in this case, I used 5 cos mine were weeny), unwaxed naturally, and organic if you can. Wash them and bung them in a good sized pot and boil them on medium heat for about an hour. If you are a sad blogging muppet like me, you would be spending this time writing up your blog and fiddling with your camera and getting the photos uploaded. If you are the baking Goddess I aspire to be, you would seize the moment, take your lover to bed and make love. Logic dictates that you probably would still have a good 40 mins (let's not even try to bullshit and try to drop me comments protesting this) after that to get showered, write up your blog and get your lover to make you a good cuppa. It's a win-win situation! Unfortunately, the latter option is not available to me on account that Slaveboy is at our new house hoovering after his 29 year old son who is rebuilding our sash window. 

In the meantime, don't forget to watch your pot. While a watched pot gathers no dust (oh, how I love my mixed sayings), a not watched one would overspill and cause a fair amount of condensation in the kitchen. Like it has done with mine. This almost reminded me of the time we filled the heated birthpool in our last house when I was expecting the Mai-ster in 2006. The room filled with so much steam, the wallpapers were sweating and threatening to peel off.

Once the lemons have cooled down a little, cut them into wedges, dig out the pips (seeds, whatever you call them), and whizz the hell outta them til they become pulp.

In a separate bowl, whisk 9 eggs til it becomes thick and leaves a thick ribbon trail. Mix all the sugar (350g), ground almond (350g) and baking powder (1/2 tsp) together and fold into the egg mixture. Then lightly fold in the lemon pulp.

Now, this is when I tell you that this is the first time I have made this particular recipe. It is Gary Rhodes's and originally an Orange Almond Cake recipe but he did say that you could substitute the oranges with lemons. Now that I have made this cake and had some, I am n-o-t really convinced.

But I am going to go through the process anyway.

Here is a selection of photos. As you can probably figure out, I have discovered Picasa.

So bearing in mind, you would have read my mind and put your oven on to 180C, you are ready to divide the mix between two cake tins and bake them for about 40mins (believe me, 45 mins was a tad too long but not long enough to really affect the cakes).

So whilst waiting, I had this little pantalooned boy cat keep me company. He is very good at looking not amused but I assure you that this is his come-to-bed eyes.  He's also had a mini-stroke recently (legend says that it was due to the four twiglets I fed him) so he gets away with a lot.

That is not a natural marking on the tip of his nose. That is a I-shove-my-nose-in-the-foodbowl-all-the-time look. I reckon the female cats don't mind the scent of cat chow that lingers around him.

And then, Slaveboy came home with this. He thought the children might find it amusing. I hasten to add that we are trying to declutter. Not to mention move house.

Oh, and don't let me forget to tell you that he didn't come home with the hoover. Ooops. Apparently, he did. I just haven't seen it.

My verdict is, well, a bit meh really. It wasn't sweet enough. It had a lovely texture and it smelled lovely. 
But we will definitely be eating it with custard tomorrow. 
Sorry. Will try harder next time. Next time I will just cut my losses and use my usual Anthony Worrall-Thomson's (or however you spell his name) recipe. Even if it does claim to be GI friendly and all that stuff. 

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  1. Lemons are wonderful. Put a lemon in your glass of water. It is healthy. Thanks Kathy

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