Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lemon Cake - the Spanish Way

Spanish Lemon Cake
This recipe is one of my favorite cake recipes because it's so unusual - it makes people rethink their expectations of what a cake should be.  It's moist, lemony, dense and delicious. 

Instead of using butter as one of the main ingredients, the fat in this traditional Spanish recipe comes from a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and full fat plain yoghurt. 

For the squeamish amongst you - and those who prefer their cakes to be smothered with buttercream topping - I promise you will not be disappointed.  It's easy to customise the cake to appeal to those with a sweeter palate.  You can gussy up the recipe either by finishing off the cake with a dead simple:

lemon glaze

consisting of granulated sugar boiled to a syrup with about 1/2 a lemon squeezed in - once this is almost cooled you just drizzle the syrup over the top of the cake; once it sets, this glaze forms a lemony but super sweet crust, or a:

* vanilla-flavored whipped cream topping

I killed two birds with one stone; I baked this rather adult tasting cake for my son's birthday, but to please the crowds I made both the lemon glaze AND a vanilla whipped cream topping.  (I still haven't figured out how the candles will stand upright in the cake.)

3x lemons - grate the zest finely - best done with a grater rather than a zester.  Reserve the juice of 1/2 lemon for the glaze.
1 1/2 cups flour (no need for cake flour here)
3x eggs
1/2 tsp both baking powder and also same quantity of baking soda
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup yoghurt (I like to use the dense greek yoghurt)
3/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Non-stick 9inch cake pan, sprayed with PAM or grease pan with olive oil prior to baking

Oven Temp:  325F

* Combine flour, lemon zest, baking powder and baking soda in one bowl
* Separately whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric mixture.  You need to emulsify these two ingredients for 3-4 minutes until the mixture thickens up and the color changes from yellow to a pale, creamy yellow.
* Add yoghurt and whisk for another minute
* Add olive oil in one go; gradually mix in the flour etc a little at a time.  Keep mixing energetically until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  (Don't be put off by the straaaaange shade of yellow green the cake mixture begins to assume; rest assured that it turns out a bright punchy yellow!)
* Pour mixture in pan
* Cook for around 40-45 minutes
* Leave to cool before turning upside down and removing from cake pan.

I think that this same recipe would work remarkably well if one were to substitute the lemon zest for orange.

Manana perhaps :)

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