The amazing Helene of Tartlette is hosting Sugar High Friday (founded by Jen, The Domestic Goddess) this month, and she has chosen a citrus theme. Hooray!!! I am a citrus lover, and I particularly love those astringent beauties, lemons and limes. You have until 25 May to participate, and all that you have to do is make a dessert featuring citrus. Helene herself has posted several citrus desserts since announcing this month's theme, demonstrating that with flavours this good, the hard part is knowing exactly what to choose.
After much deliberation, I decided to make a most wonderful looking marzipan and lemon cake from May's Delicious magazine, with the recipe by Aussie cook Belinda Jeffery. You cannot really taste the marzipan in the finished cake, so all haters of marzipan icing can breathe a sigh of relief. The cake is surprisingly delicate, sweet and light given the amount of butter in it, and it is very difficult to stop at just one slice. The flaked almonds on top give the cake a wonderful crunchy texture which complements the lemony cake beneath. Best of all, this cake is quick and easy peasy to make, because Belinda's directions use a food processor.
If you like the look of this cake and want to make it, you will need:
190g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
200g marzipan, cubed
280g softened butter, cubed
Grated zest from 3 lemons
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla essence
50g flaked almonds
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line and butter a 23cm springform pan, and dust the inside of the pan with a light coating of plain flour.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor, pulse briefly until combined, then place into a bowl and reserve.
Put the sugar and marzipan in the food processor and pulse until they form crumbs. Next, pulse the eggs through the mixture in the food processor, one at a time, and once all the eggs are in, pulse for a minute to combine well. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is thick and the butter is well combined. Add the zest and essences to the batter and pulse briefly. Finally, add the dry ingredients reserved earlier, and pulse until just combined.
Pour the battter into the prepared pan, and sprinkle the top of the cake with the flaked almonds. Bake the cake for about an hour until done when tested with a skewer. Remove the baked cake from the oven, cool it in the tin for 10 minutes, then release the sides of the springform pan, invert the cake almond side down onto a flat plate, then use the plate to put the cake right side up onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Belinda suggests dusting the cake with icing sugar and serving with cream, but I served it as is, and it was delicious! Thanks to Helene for hosting SHF this month. If you want to be transported to citrus heaven, check out the other 129 entries in this month's SHF here and here.
I made another citrus cake, this time a marmalade cake by Nigel Slater that I saw on Margaret's Kitchen Delights. Margaret's cake turned out way better than mine. Sure, mine tasted OK, but what you can't see in this glamour photo of my cake is that it sunk terribly in the middle. The recipe warns that it will sink slightly, but mine developed the most enormous dimple right down the middle - perhaps it was laughing at me! The cake tastes fine, but it is definitely not one that I could serve to company because of its imperfection. Maybe I'll try it again to see if I can keep the tart yet sweet marmalade flavour while eliminating the dimple.