Saturday, 21 February 2009

Lemon Icing cake

This is the frenchman's favourite cake - not so much for the cake part but for the lemon icing that is drizzled over it. If it were up to him, I would just give him a bowl full of just the icing and a spoon!

Zingy, sweet and sour, this cake is light and tasty and a new addition to my regular baking list. The cake is versatile enough to cover any sort of icing or fruit you desire, just alter the amount of lemon zest you put into the batter.

Lemon Icing Butter Cake
125 gr Butter
185 gr Sugar
2 Eggs
250 gr Self-Raising Flour
125 mls Milk
Lemon zest from one lemon
2 tbsp Vanilla extract

Zest of one fresh lemon
Juice from your zested lemon
Icing/powdered sugar*

*Depending on how much juice your lemon squeezes out, you will need to adjust the amount of icing sugar to ensure the consistency of the icing is just right.

Whip together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and make sure you mix them in good. Grate in your fresh zest and add the vanilla extract to add some much needed flavour and zing! Fold in the sifted flour and milk alternatively with a spatula until just combined - don't go nuts at this stage and mix the crap out of it otherwise your cake may be tough and lifeless. Pour into a buttered and sugared tin. I used cinnamon sugar to give the crust a hint of spice.

Bake at 180 degrees (celsius) for about 40 minutes or until you poke a skewer into the thickest part and it comes out clean. Also, make sure the top of the cake is golden and not pastey-white, even if the cake is "done". Nothing is worse than an underbaked top that is slightly soggy tasting and looks horribly pale underneath the translucent icing. Trust me - no pastey tops! ; )

Let the cake cool completely before drizzling with the icing otherwise the icing will just slide right off onto your plate. Remember the rule: Cool cake = icing on cake not plate.

Squeeze out the juice of your lemon and add in the grated zest. Warm the juice in the microwave for a few seconds (say, 10 seconds) and whisk in enough icing sugar to make a runny paste (think wood glue consistency). If it is lumpy, just heat it in the microwave until it is just hot (maybe another 10 seconds) and whisk again. Drizzle it over the cake and let harden before serving.

This cake keeps for about 3 days covered and can be made in almost any tin, but I find it works best in a round bunt or even a loaf tin as it ensures maximum icing to cake ratio!

We're Moving!

Yes yes, I know - long time no see but I have valid excuses, I swear! 

It's finally time for us to move into our new apartment and not a minute too soon. I'm up early writing this at 7am, courtesy of my lovely neighbour who has decided to move boxes in her kitchen at the crack of dawn and talk like an idiot to her dog. Do these people never sleep in (or even better, do these people not have any common courtesy?!?)

Any way, back to the topic - we are moving. Be it just a few blocks away, but it's going to be the start of late morning sleep ins and clean fresh air (as opposed to the constant stench of weed drifting up through our floor boards from the flat downstairs). 

Down the hall - the view from the bedroom to the living room (kitchen and bathroom on the left).

My new (tiny) kitchen! The oven seems decent but the thing that I am most bummed about is the electric hob stove - no gas! Argh! But as this will most likely be short term, I can deal with it  ; )

We have a courtyard garden! Wooohooo! Bring on the barbecues!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day - London shuts down

I woke up at 6 this morning to a scene straight out of a christmas film. Turning on the news, I hear that most of London has shut down - including airports, the entire London bus network, the trains, etc etc. Apparently it was the heaviest prolonged snow fall since 1991. Nineteen years of mild winters left London unprepared and the city basically ground to a halt as they struggled to get their trucks out to grit the roads.

The roads in our borough hadn't been salted at all so it was tough going for the cars and the few people braving the outdoors. My main tube line that I take to work had been suspended completely, so my only other alternative was to take another line from the other side of Wimbledon. I was stalling for time (since my office has a flex-time policy and is quite lenient when it comes to lateness - as long as you make it up another time) and was not looking forward to getting wet from the snow, as it was just below knee height and I didn't have the proper gear for venturing out across the city in the elements. 

Lucky for me, my manager texted us all and told us that if it wasn't safe for us to get to/from work then we shouldn't make the journey. It turns out that most of the office wasn't going in, so neither did I! 


I've been looking out the window all day, seeing adults and children (most schools are also shut) frolicking in the snow, building snow men, and taking photos. I felt like an 8 year old, making snow balls and playing with the snow on my balcony. I do need to venture out of the house later to run errands, but luckily it's not far and I can come home straight away to get back into my pajamas! ; )