Lemon Almond Syrup Cake

Cakes

Yo Joe

This cake is an upgraded lemon drizzle. Soft on the inside with a crackly sugar and almond crust, soaked in a tart lemon syrup fresh out the oven.

I first made a version of it in May when me, Tiger, Jess and Sue were moving out our flat. Amongst the tins of chopped tomatoes and packets of rice left in our cupboards we had lemons, walnuts, ground almonds and some yoghurt in the fridge. I made a cake out of them. And it was PENG. So, I wrote the recipe on the back of a Sainsbury’s receipt and have fiddled about with it all summer. I’m still working off that receipt now, with all the changes to the recipe scribbled on top of each other.

The original cake – the May one – sunk slightly in the middle. I altered the recipe, so it rises…how you would expect a cake to rise, but I think the original sunken state is important to remember. This cake has a heavy heart.

It feels right that I’m only writing up this recipe now. It’s a cake that marks change, I think. Fitting – we’re now juuuuust about to fall into autumn and in about a week, I’ll be moving back to Glasgow, into a new flat, this time, just for me and Tiger.

Gluten and Dairy Free Notes – This cake does well being made Dairy Free by replacing the butter and yoghurt with DF spread and a DF yoghurt. I’ve also made this cake Gluten Free by replacing the flour with a gluten free plain flour. In both cases, you couldn’t tell the difference.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 large lemons – zest of both and 2 tbs juice
  • 60g greek yoghurt – any plain, thick yoghurt will do
  • 180g butter – softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 medium eggs – or 2 large eggs
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil – 15 ml

For the Almond Topping

  • 30g flaked almonds
  • 30g caster sugar

For the Syrup

  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs water
  • 50g caster sugar

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 or 160 fan. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin.

Zest and juice the lemons and set aside. The zest and some of the juice will be added to the batter. There will be enough lemon juice for the syrup you will make later, so don’t get rid of any at this stage.

In a small bowl or jug mix the yoghurt and lemon juice (2 tbs), set aside while you make the rest of the batter.

Beat the lemon zest, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until just fluffed up around the sides of the bowl. I use an electric whisk for this. Next, add in one egg at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.

To the butter mix, add all the other ingredients – ground almonds, flour, baking powder, yoghurt and lemon juice mixture and vegetable oil. Beat together just until a homogenous batter forms.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and top with the caster sugar and flaked almonds (30g of each). Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Check a little earlier if your oven runs hot.

While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. In a small heavy bottom saucepan, mix the lemon juice (3 tbs), water and sugar. Heat on a medium/high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the syrup to the boil and allow it to bubble for one minute. Set aside to cool slightly.

When the cake comes out the oven, pour over the syrup slowly, allowing it to soak in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15/20 minutes before turning it out.

Caitlin x

Apricot Olive Oil Cake

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Hey Joe,

Here is the first cake I made in Glasgow. I was working on this recipe a couple of months ago and wanted to test it out again – can confirm, it worked.

Apricots and olive oil might sound like a strange pair but the flavours work really well together. There’s no butter in this cake, the olive oil is used as the fat. But, you want the olive oil for its flavour rather than to make the cake dairy free. Tiger (my flatmates name is tiger. She’s not a real tiger) can’t eat dairy so this is a cake that she can have! Woo! I think she liked it. I presented it to her on a plate, she growled a bit, picked the cake up with her mouth, dropped it on the floor and started eating it. I have never seen someone eat a cake so well – that’s my Tiger!

Ingredients

For the Apricot Compote

  • 250g pitted apricots
  • 50ml water
  • 75g apricot jam

For the Cake Mix

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 100ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 180g sugar

If you can’t get hold of apricot jam, which is quite expensive, substitute it with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of sugar. If your apricots are very ripe, add less sugar and honey.

LOL. I have a confession. I’ve just realised that there’s milk in this recipe. In case you didn’t know, milk is a form of DAIRY. I’m pretty pleased with my lil story about tiger, My dairy free friend, so I’m not editing the introduction to this post. Tiger, I am sorry that I made you eat dairy without you knowing it and I hope this dairy didn’t give you the shits.

Method

Pre heat your over to 180. Butter a round cake tin (mine is 20cm) with the most dairyist butter you can find.

In a small saucepan, heat your water, pitted apricots and jam (or sugar and honey) over a medium heat. Let it cook for about 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated and the mixture is a loose consistency. Turn off the heat and set aside. If you want some whole apricot pieces topping your cake, like in the picture above, set some apricot halves aside for you to place on top of the cake before it goes in the oven!

Lightly whisk together the olive oil, milk, vanilla extract and eggs.

In a separate bowl mix the rest of the ingredients together – ground almonds, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

Combine the wet mix with the dry mix, stirring until you have your cake batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Spoon the apricot compote over the batter in blobs. Using a skewer or knife draw a couple of figure of 8 patterns in the cake batter. What your doing here is marbling the compote into the batter. The less figure of 8s you do in the batter the clearer the marble pattern will be in the final cake.

Bake for about 35-40 mins or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with not wet batter.

Have a good bake and a good cake,

Caitlin xxx

Honey Turmeric Cake

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Yo Joe,

Wow. This is a peng cake. Really good. It’s also yellow when you cut it open. Peng and yellow.

Look at this lil dude. He’s so cute and yellow.

This is one of my recipes. Think we spoke about the idea for it on the phone a couple weeks back. I’ve been thinking about honey and turmeric ever since. Honey and turmeric in cake form. Been doing quite a lot of reading about different honey cakes and yogurt cakes actually (haha oh dear). I wanted to put some kind of live culture dairy in the cake batter, something like yogurt. The acid in these kinds of dairy products makes the cake really light and soft because it breaks down the gluten in the flour. Pretty cool. I used sour cream in this cake (its cream that is thick and a bit sour, mmm).The taste is stunning and the texture is even better. Like the best sponge cake texture. Cool! 1 min of your life reading that you will not get back!

Because of the texture, flavours and colour, this is my version of a self-care cake. I quite like that.

Thought we should give our readers and followers some reviews of this cake – ‘Wow.’ (Dad), ‘A really good sponge.’ (Anna). Great, and that concludes the review section!

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g softened butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (the powder. Not fresh, this isn’t a curry)
  • 100ml sour cream
  • 100ml honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For The Glaze

  • 60g icing sugar, sifted (add more if you want a thick icing)
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water
  • 1 heaped teaspoon honey

Method

Preheat the oven to 180. Grease a round cake tin with butter and dust over with some flour. Tip out the excess. A 20 cm round tin will work, I used a 20 cm bunt tin.

Start by measuring out the flour, you will need a bit of it when you add the eggs. Set the flour aside for now.

In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Visual Art No.2

Add both your eggs and a heaped table spoon of the flour. This will stop the eggs from curdling. Beat your eggs in for about 1 min.

In a separate jug or bowl whisk together the sour cream, honey and vanilla extract with a fork until there are no more large lumps of honey.

Add your baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, turmeric and salt to the flour you set aside earlier.

Visual Art No.3

Alternating between flour and sour cream, fold in the sifted flour mixture in three goes and the sour cream mixture in two goes, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Don’t over mix this, just until everything is combined. Once all flour and sour cream is combined the batter will be an amazing yellow and ready to pour into your cake tin.

Bake for 40-45 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed with a finger. Cool the cake in the tin for 10 mins before turning out.

To make the glaze mix together the sifted icing sugar, honey and boiling water. Spoon this all over the cake while it is still warm.

Mmmm it looks like honey and turmeric in cake form!! haha!

Have a good yellow cake day!!!

Love Caitlin xxx

Chocolate Orange Cake

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Yo Joe,

You said on the phone the other day that you’ve discovered marmalade. A couple days before we had this convo, I’d been working on this recipe for a chocolate orange cake using marmalade. So I think what happened there is some telepathic communication from me that told you to look for a jar of marmalade in Henry’s cupboard and eat it.

Like a big old jaffa cake mmm

I made this cake 4 times in 3 days. Hmmm oh dear haha. I wanted to get it right though. It is also a very fast cake to make, you pretty much just stir everything together in a saucepan and tip it into a cake tin.

It’s based on a Nigella recipe but my version is pretty different (after the 4 attempts). It’s really really good. Like someone made a cake out off jaffa cakes. Just one thing – this cake, and any chocolate cake, can dry out quite quickly if its baked for too long. So just keep an eye on it. But if it is a bit dry, it’s still cake and will still taste really good, like a cake made out of jaffa cakes.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 125g butter
  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100g fine cut marmalade
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (a splash)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • pinch of salt
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Chocolate Ganache

The cake tastes good without this. Warm out the oven, I like eating it straight out of the cake tin.

  • 50g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 180. Grease a round cake tin with butter (mine is 20cm). Shake some flour in the tin to coat the base and sides, get rid of any excess flour out over the sink.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to stop the chocolate from catching and burning. One melted remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly.

Stir in the marmalade to the melted chocolate making sure there are no big lumps.

Add the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt into the saucepan. Beat with your wooden sppon to combine everything fully.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the saucepan and fold in. When you can’t see any more dry flour, stop mixing and pour into your cake tin.

Bake for 50-55 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning it out.

If you want to make the ganache brake up the chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl, set aside.

I’m going to start numbering my Visual Art. This one can be called ‘Visual Art No.1’

Combine the cream and sugar in a heavy based saucepan. Put on a low heat until it begins to simmer gently around the sides of the pan. You will need to swirl the pan occasionally so the cream does not catch and cook on the sides of the pan.

As soon as you see the cream simmering slightly, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.

Use a spoon to stir the cream and chocolate together, the chocolate will melt into the cream and you will have ganache.

Hope you enjoy the cake, send me a pic when you make it. Keep eating that marmalade.

Caitlin xoxo

Rhubarb and Cardamon Polenta Cake

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Hey Joe

It’s rhubarb season!! I made a new recipe. This one took a couple tries but I got there in the end. I was pretty sad that my rhubarb didn’t come out of the oven bright pink – I thought it would dye the cake batter a pink/red colour. So I found out that the reason it didn’t come out bright pink is because there are two types of rhubarb. The first is called Forced rhubarb and it’s grown indoors. Forced rhubarb comes out at the end of Jan and is bright pink. But the stuff that you can get now (the stuff I’m working with) is grown outdoors and has less of a pink colour, it’s more green and comes out sort of transparent when you cook it… some rhubarb facts for you. Bet you feel enlightened.

This is a flourless cake and has a lot of fruit in it so it’s very moist and needs quite a long bake. It’s got a really nice sweet/sour thing going on – I’m proud of this one.

lil bit of Visual Art

Ingredients

  • 400g rhubarb
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 100g polenta
  • 200g butter, softened
  • 150g caster sugar, plus 1/2 a tablespoon for a topper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (don’t forget to put this in, like I did)

I made a cardamon sugar syrup that I topped the cake with. I’ll give you the ingredients for it but the cake is perfect without if. I just wanted to play with sugar and cardamon.

Cardamon Sugar Syrup

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 cardamon pods, crushed
  • 5 tablespoons water
Wow I am a Visial Artist
This is what sugar and cardamon looks like

Method

Pre heat the oven to 180 and line your fav cake tin with greaseproof paper (I used a 20cm round tin). Rip a big square of greaseproof paper and scrunch it up, it will be much easier to squash into your tin.

Roughly chop the rhubarb into thumb sized chunks (from the top of your thumb to under the knuckle). Set this aside. Measure out your ground almonds and polenta and set this aside.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and ground cardamon and give it another mix.

One by one add the eggs, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beating the mixture in between each addition. Add a tablespoon of the almonds/polenta with each egg to stop the mixture curdling.

A pictoral diagram of one of the eggs being added
mmmmm smoooth

Fold in the rest of the amonds and polenta, the baking powder and 250g of the chopped rhubarb (the other 150g is to top the cake with). The less mixing you do here the better, you put in loads of air when you beat the eggs so you don’t wanna loose it here.

Spread the cake batter into the cake tin and top with the rhubarb you kept back. Sprinkle about half a tablespoon of sugar over the top of the cake before putting it in the oven.

Bake for an hour and 20 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out with no wet batter on it. I know, it’s a really long bake. Keep an eye on it at the hour mark, but this is a really hard cake to overbake so don’t worry if you think it’s taking a while.

For the sugar syrup glaze, if you want to make it – put the sugar, water and crushed cardamon pods in a pan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Swirl the pan, but don’t put a spoon in it (it can do strange things to the syrup). Once boiling, let it boil for a min before turning the heat down so the mixture is at a simmer. Let this simmer for 5/6 mins, or until the syrup has reduced and become very slightly golden (you want about a tablespoon and a half of liquid). Spoon this over the cake while it it still warm, it can be done when the cake is on its plate or while it’s still in the tin.

Enjoy the cake boii, miss you! Caitlin X

Black Treacle Ginger Cake

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Yo Joe

The ginger cake that I make was found by fifteen year old me in a baking book by Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s is a blessed place without the addition of a baking book but I think this book took Sainsbury’s to new heights. This is the only ginger cake I will ever make because it is the best ginger cake. I know you know how good it is, but our readers may want to hear some reviwes – ‘Outstanding’ (dad), ‘Top cake’ (dad), ‘Really good’ (mum), ‘Leng’ (You (Joe)). Anna and Kanhai are fans too. I think its safe to say this is a cake that I will pass onto my kids, grandchildren, cats. I reckon I could make this cake with my eyes closed, a good thing because the pages of the recipe are stuck together with 6 years worth of cake batter splatter, drips of black treacle and smears of butter. A sign of a good recipe.

Yep. I am a photographer

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g unsalted butter, from the fridge
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 100g black treacle. For the syrups 100g is about 3 and a half tablespoons
  • 100g light brown soft sugar
  • 50g diced stem ginger plus 2 tablespoons of ginger syrup from the jar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 100g icing sugar

Method

Preheat your oven to 180. Grease your cake tin with butter (I used a 22cm ring tin. This cake also works in a 20cm squar tin or a 20 x 10cm loaf tin). This is a sticky cake so shake a light coating of flour around the inside of your tin to help the cake come out.

Using the tips of your fingers rub together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and butter until it resembles bread crumbes. You can also do this by putting theses ingredients in a food processor. Set this mixture aside.

In a saucepan, put the black treacle, golden syrup, sugar and diced stem ginger. Heat gently until all the sugar has disolved (the mixture isnt grainy anymore), then cook for a further minuet on high heat and remove. The syrup will bubble up, don’t worry about this, it takes a long time to burn this mixture so no risk of that. Set the pan aside.

Beat together the eggs and milk then pour into the flour mixture. Give this a little stir before adding the syrup mixture that has had time to cool a bit. Combine all the mixtures together quite quickly to avoid the syrup mixture hardening too much (I always get a bit of hard caramel on the bottom of my bowl). This batter does well with as little mixing as possible to avoid it sinking in the oven so once everything is combine get it in the tin.

Bake for 45 mins.

Once out of the oven allow the cake to cool for 10 mins in the tin while you make the syrup. Sive the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the ginger syrup and 2 tablespoons of boiling water.

Take the cake out of the tin and put on a wier rack or plate. Peirce the cake all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup…mmmm nice.

have a sweet sweet cake, Caitlin xxxx