Happy Easter, everyone! I hope you've all had a lovely long weekend with your families and friends!
Whenever it's Easter I always feel like there is a bit of a chocolate overload. I mean Cadbury's Mini Eggs have been on supermarket shelves since Boxing Day and it can all be a bit too much. So instead of going for a traditional chocolatey bake for this time of year, I thought it would be nice to celebrate spring time with some fresh flavours and nothing says fresh like lemon.
This is really nice simple bake, made a little more luxurious by the filling and the topping, which are made with mascarpone and double cream. Who needs chocolate when you have that, right? The cake is made with equal proportions of flour, sugar and butter so is lovely, light and airy.
FOR THE CAKE
You will need:
325g butter (or Stork), at room temperature
325g caster sugar
4 large eggs
325g self raising flour
3tbsp poppy seeds
2tsp baking powder
Zest of 3 lemons
2tbsp cold milk
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until really pale and fluffy using a handheld or stand mixer.
Add the eggs into the mix one at a time, whisking for about 30secs in between each additions. The mixture may look like it is separating a little, but when we add the flour all will come good.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and the poppy seeds. You want the seeds to be dispersed through the mix so that they will suspend in the mixture.
Now's about the right time to stick your oven on - 190ºC/170ºC/Gas Mark 4.
Fold the flour a couple of tablespoons at a time into the mixture until all combined. You should have a fairly loose mix speckled with the poppy seeds.
Add in the zest of the lemons and the milk and fold in once more to finish.
Dollop the mixture into two greased and lined 20cm cake tins and then bake for 20-25mins. The cakes are cooked when they are golden on top and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake.
Leave to cool in their tins fo about 10minutes and then turn out on to wire racks to cool. In my haste, I actually cooled my cakes by an open window on Matt's drying maiden this time...
FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING
You will need
300g mascarpone (you can use lighter or full fat)
200ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 2 lemons
Jar of Lemon Curd (of course, you can make your own...I have a lovely recipe)
Dump the mascarpone and double cream into a bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice. Whisk together using and electric or hand mixture until combined.
Sprinkle in the zest and the icing sugar and mix again until you have a nice, shiny, spreadable consistency.
Place one of the cake halves on a cake stand or plate and spread a generous layer of lemon curd over the top, leaving a boarder around the edge to allow for squidgy overload.
Then, with a pallet knife, take a couple of dollops of the mascarpone mix and spread over the lemon curd base. Finish by placing a ring of lemon curd dots over the top.
Place the other half on top, pressing down lightly to ensure that the filling reaches the edges, but does not ooze out.
Use the remaining topping to decorate the top - spreading out evenly and creating a nice swooshy effect on the top (there must be a technical term for that somewhere...)
Take the remaining lemon curd and with a teaspoon make little yellow pools on the top of the cake. If you're clever, you can make a lovely feathered affect by dotting it fairly close together and then dragging a skewer through them all the way round.
I topped my cake with sugar flowers to create a flower patch: it seemed rather fitting for this zesty, tasty nod to springtime.
We had the cake to finish off our roast dinner on Easter Sunday, which was super lovely. I also got to use my 'Baked by Ellie' knife, which Matt gave to me at Christmas to match the tin that I was given for my birthday: a momentous occasion indeed! Good people, good chat and a giggle with good food. I took some cake to my nan's house afterwards, and had a little chinwag and a cuppa there too.
I've been feeling a little edgy over the last couple of days, so it was nice to spend the day baking and then just relax with my mum, dad and Matt. Matt and I also went for a curry on Saturday night and it was perf. Matt knew how to cheer me up (as always) and it was also wonderful to see other people enjoying each other's company. Lots of people were out with their friends having a good time on the long weekend. Lots of smiles and happy times being had.
Sometimes it saddens me to think that I wait until bank holidays to get around to seeing people and sitting around the dinner table, but it does also make me realise how much I do appreciate having a good natter about everything and nothing!
On request, I will be back with something chocolatey next week.
Have a good one!