Tuesday, 19 March 2013

a wednesday cake.

lemon buttermilk loaf cake
wednesday was in two minds, vacillating between bright sunshine and flurries of snow. from a window it looked like confetti. it reminded me of my aunt’s snow globe, a static scene of london encased in an arch of glass. shake the globe and it would snow. the little me thought snow was wondrous. even now snow retains some of that sense of wonder but only when i am warm and watching it through a window. o and i took the canonbury river walk one weekend when london was blanketed with white. on our way there we stopped in highbury fields and attempted to make a snowman. that was in january and now it is march. it should be spring.

walking to highbury fields
except that it is not and so i am weary. weary for warmth, warmer tones of sunlight and for the first of the daffodils. the first of the snow crocuses have appeared but they are beleaguered by the cold and vulnerable against the wind that is so strong that it whistles painfully. a wednesday like this demanded cake. something loaf-like to be eaten in thick slices still warm from the oven. it should be contained by a crust of spiced sugar for winter and a centre bright with lemon to beckon spring. this cake of all of that. the buttermilk brings much softness and keeps the cake moist for several days. it is this softness that precludes thin slices. o had the last slice on sunday with a thick spread of my orange blossom marmalade. he said its texture was similar to a steamed pudding. 

i used sous chef’s spiced sugar for a thick and slightly crunchy crust. the cinnamon, cloves, ginger and green anise were warming and the cardamom aromatic. it is easy to make your own blend by mixing your favourite ground spices with cane sugar. as for the recipe, i had jotted it down on an old notepad so unfortunately i do not know where it came from. in the original called for the cake to be baked in a round cake tin and draped with lemon icing. i turned it into a loaf with robust crust.

{lemon buttermilk loaf cake}

one hundred and twenty five grams butter (at room temperature) 
two hundred and twenty five grams golden sugar 
two eggs 
two hundred and fifty grams buttermilk 
two hundred and fifty grams flour 
two teaspoons baking powder 
the zest of two lemons 
a couple of tablespoons of spiced sugar 

preheat the oven to a hundred and eighty degrees celsius. grease a loaf tin and set aside. 

cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. add an egg at a time beating well after each addition. 

continue beating on a low setting as you add the buttermilk in a stream. the mixture may appear curdled at this point but do not worry. it will straighten itself out when you add the flour. add the lemon zest, flour and baking powder and fold it into the batter until fully incorporated. 

spoon the mixture into the loaf tin. sprinkle over the spiced sugar. the layer of sugar should be a generously thick and none of the batter should show through. 

tuck into the oven and bake for forty-five minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. allow it to cool for around ten minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

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