The end of the year is fast approaching and we, at work, are entering what we like to call "the mad dash to get everything out the door before Christmas" and the "OMG there are so many clashing Christmas functions going on!"
It's actually quite exciting as I'm on a big project that I enjoy and Christmas functions are a great way to catch up with friends from university but I find myself wanting to spend a bit more time at home.
I finally got the chance, this weekend, to leaf through Karla Goodwin's book Bluebells Cakery which was a birthday gift from Jason's sister. Inspired by London's array of boutique cupcake and cake shops (Hummingbird Bakery in particular), Karla started a stall in Parnell's French market, La Cigale. It wasn't long until the stall turned into her own kitchen in Hillsborough and then into a full blown shop!
Her book is full of recipes that are made at Bluebells Cakery, inspired by her time in London. It also has a handy list of tips and tricks to help any budding baker.
Lemon Syrup Cake seemed the most obvious choice this weekend because I had all the ingredients in the kitchen which meant I didn't have to leave the house. The syrup made the loaf super moist and it goes well with a nice cup of tea. It's so good that Jason's already had about half of it (I made it a couple of hours ago).
My loaf took a bit longer for the skewer to come out clean (about 1 hr 10 minutes) but it still managed to cook evenly.
This has been entered into Sweet New Zealand #29, a monthly Kiwi blogging event, started by the Alessandra and hosted this month by Alice from Alice in Bakingland.
Lemon Syrup Cake (from Bluebells Cakery)
3 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
230g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups caster sugar
1/3 cup lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1. Grease and line a 22cm x 12cm loaf tin with baking paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the milk, lemon juice and vanilla in a jug and set aside.
4. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and mix through.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Don't be alarmed if the mixture curdles, it will come together when the dry ingredients are added.
6. Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, then add half of the milk mixture and stir through. Then repeat this process to add the remainder of the dry and wet mixtures.
7. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and level out the top until even and flat. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
8. To prepare the syrup, combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
9. When the loaf is cooked, remove from the oven and make several holes by piercing the top with a wooden skewer or toothpick (these should be a couple of centimeters apart). Pour the lemon syrup over and let the loaf cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack.
The syrup helps to keep this loaf moist for up to a week in an airtight container at room temperature.