from one generation to the next
Yesterday was one of those days, the sort of day when the safest way to avoid disaster is to shut yourself away and do nothing. I should have heeded the early warning signs.
I went into the kitchen to bake a cake, a particular cake I’d been planning to make for a couple of weeks. Perhaps I should have abandoned that idea, but then I would have missed out on discovering this wonderfully forgiving cake recipe.
Before I’d even begun I’d hit the skids, the bottle of olive oil was almost empty, melted butter would have to do. My bread was neither white or stale so I ignored the colour and mixed fresh crumbs with some dry. The only almonds I had were already ground with the skins on. So be it.
After mixing the batter I thought it looked thin enough to leak out of my old springform pan so I tipped it into a savarin mould instead. I watched the cake rise and rise and rise. It come perilously close to spilling over before thankfully settling at the top.
But my woes didn’t end there, the hot tin slipped out of my hands as I took the it from the oven and landed upside down onto the bench dumping out half my cake as it fell. That was the last straw. I just pushed the mess back together, poured the hot syrup over the broken pieces and left it for a good 12 hour to cool.
This morning, having regained my aplomb, I managed to extract a complete slice to photograph, proof that this recipe is worth making. The texture is light and moist, the flavour fresh and lemony although I found the rosemary very subtle. My rosemary is still young and soft, leaves from an older woodier bush would given a more assertive flavour.
With apologies and kudos to both Diana Henry and Sophie Grigson the originators of this cake recipe, it’s a miraculous and truly delicious cake.
Lemon and Rosemary Syrup Cake
40g soft breadcrumbs (I used a slice of spelt sourdough trimmed of crusts, but GF would work well)
15g dry breadcrumbs gluten free
100g ground almonds (skin on OK)
2 teaspoons rosemary leaves, washed and dried
200g castor sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
190g melted butter, slightly cooled (or olive oil)
4 large eggs
Juice of 2 lemons
180g castor sugar
1/4 cup water
3 sprigs of rosemary
Preheat the oven to 170C. Butter the inside of a savarin mould and lightly dust with flour.
Put the breadcrumbs almonds sugar rosemary and baking powder into the jug of a food processor then blitz until the mixture is very fine.
Whisk the eggs and lemon zest into the cooled butter, then with the processor running add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and process until well combined.
Pour the butter into the savarin mould and bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 25 minutes.
Carefully tip the cake onto a plate and spoon over the hot syrup.
Allow to cool before cutting.
Combine the juice, water sugar and sprigs of rosemary in a small pan.
Place over a low heat and bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is melted.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Strain to remove the rosemary.