I once read a book called The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. It was about a girl who one day developed the ability to taste the feelings people had felt whilst making food. It was really quite tragic. But it's an interesting one. It gets you thinking about why you make the things you do.
Back at uni I baked out a lot of my feelings. After reading this book I used to write down how I felt after baking something and put it in an envelope in my desk. The majority of those emotions were of being sad, or lonely or useless. My flatmate in my fourth year was cruel and used to say that I was fat, useless, ugly, a freak and that no one would ever love me. He used to scoff at my failed relationships and flings. I was once reaching up with my arms resting behind my head and my shirt came up and he said to put my arms down as he felt like puking when he saw my stomach. He had a lot to do with the feelings in the envelope.
If you were to taste the feelings in my food now I think you would taste determination, and experimentation and motivation. The food I make now is to test myself and my skills. It is also about trying new things that intrigue me, new flavours and new cooking methods. I also make the things I do with the intent on sharing them as I feel what's the point on going to all this effort if you aren't going to spread the joy with everyone?
This is exactly why I made this cake. My flatmates are busy studying hard and on a whim asked if they would like a lemon cake. When they said yes I literally got up right away and made on then and there. I had a recipe for orange cake that Mum had gotten off my brother's ex girlfriends mum that I had wanted to try anyway.
My brother's ex-girlfriend's mum makes hers with rice flour to make it gluten free. I probably would have made this with rice flour if I had any because when I tried the slightest of slices it had the most silken of textures. So keep this in mind next time you are wanting to make something for your glutard friends.
Also it's lemon season. I have so many lemons to use. I love being given lemons from people lucky enough to have trees or neighbours with trees. I often find the uglier the lemon the juicier it is which is just perfectly fine by me. Its what's on the inside that counts right? Unless of course you are wanting to instagram it haha.
This cake is super moist. It has yoghurt, almonds and syrup drenching it so there was no way it was ever going to not be moist. I served mine up with some lemon curd and yoghurt for a bit of extra somethin' somethin'. I used the lemon curd from my lemon meringue tarts I made the other week.
Sweet Sweet Lemon Cake
Makes a 20cm cake
1 1/2 cups white sugar
Zest of two lemons
4 large eggs
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup plain flour (use rice flour to make it gluten free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
Lemon curd and yoghurt to serve
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and line and grease a 20cm cake tin.
Cream together the butter, sugar and zest until light and pale. Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture becomes voluminous.
In a small jug, mix together the 1/4 cup lemon juice and the 1/2 cup of yoghurt. Add this to the mixer half at a time alternating with the flour and baking soda, gently mix together. Fold through the almonds then transfer into the prepared cake tin.
Bake for 1 hour. It will begin to brown quite quickly so place some tin foil over the top of the cake about 20 minutes in. Remove the cake from the oven then put the remaining cup of lemon juice and half cup of sugar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil for five or so minutes so that it reduces. Pour this syrup over the hot cake. Transfer to a plate and serve each slice with a dollop of yoghurt and some lemon curd.