Surprisingly, it was not hard to do - no not at all. I think the key here (which I believe is the same with a lot of cakes) is to beat the butter and sugar very well until they're fluffy. The resulting aroma and taste of this moreish cake is really great. For me it is best serving it with fresh fruits and whipped cream or with vanilla ice cream. Again, I adapted the recipe in my current favourite Book of Baking by Sue Lawrence. I am sure I'm gonna make this again and again if only to indulge my kids. ;)
200 g unsalted butter - softened at room temperature
200 g [1 cup] golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
200 g [1 1/2 cup] self-raising flour - sifted
1/8 tsp fine salt
grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 160°C/fan 140°C/325°F/gas mark 3. Grease and line bottom of a 2 lb (9 x 5-inch) loaf tin.
- Cream (beat) softened butter and sugar for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add in the lemon zest.
- Stir in 1 egg - mix, then a third of the flour and all of the salt - mix well until well combined. Repeat the procedure adding the egg one at a time followed by the flour always mixing well after each addition.
- Finally, add the lemon juice, combine well.
- Pour into the prepared baking pan making sure to level the top. Bake in oven for 45 minutes then lightly cover the top with foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.
- Take out of the oven and cool in the baking pan for about 20 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Best served sliced with some whipped cream or ice cream.
The last time we made this from scratch was more than 6 years ago. So long ago that when I took out our manual ice cream maker some white bits of it was slightly yellowing already! But I froze the base, made my youngest daughter J3 do the churning and it was still fine. This is great to make with the kids since they find it fun turning the crank at the same time making rich vanilla-y ice cream. It was yummy!
As for the cooking, the only thing I found hard - actually tricky - is the making of the custard. You have to set the heat to low and have to really constantly stir or you will have big lumps. I momentarily left the custard on the stove (just a few seconds) to attend to something urgent in the sink and believe me I got tiny lumpings in it. So I stirred like mad but it never went away. But when I combined it with the cream and churned it, not a sight of the even the tiniest lumps was seen. :sigh of relief: All well and good. :)
Vanilla Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
250 ml [1 cup] milk
250 ml [1 cup] double cream (heavy cream)
100 g [1/2 cup] golden caster sugar (superfine sugar)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Combine the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl, set aside.
- In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring to boil the milk slowly. Once bubbles start to appear along the edges, pour about 1/4 cup of the hot milk in the egg mixture while stirring.
- Then pour the mixture slowly back in the saucepan with the rest of the milk while *constantly* stirring. Cook on low heat until it thickens (a film of the sauce will form at the back of the spoon). *Do not let it boil* or it will curdle. Remove from heat and cool completely. (This is the custard base that you can use with any flavouring you like for ice creams.)
- Once cool, fold in the cream and vanilla. Churn in your ice cream maker following manufacturer's instructions.