Thursday, February 6, 2014

Zesty Lemon Cake

This lemon cake came from the idea of reaching a simple yet condensed recipe that many will like. It is difficult to choose a ground of satisfying Eastern Asian flavour with North American taste, yet difficult does not mean impossible. The magic of lemons is its rich flavour – sour, sweet, bitter – and its fragrant smell. Hence, this is how this recipe is inspired.

A note on flavours

It is difficult to describe taste in English. In the above paragraph, the taste of lemon appears so simple and bland in words. There are the basic tastes like salty, sweet, bitter, sour or hot, but tastes are not solely limited to these basic experiences, it is not only the tongue that experiences foods, the whole palate, the teeth, the gum and the throat are part of the process. Sadly, in most time, when speaking English, it could become difficult to describe a taste without using words that indirectly describes it. If one takes the instance of Chinese, the taste of lemon is much varied:

Dry and astringent
Sweet as in the aftertaste

The possibility in providing a direct and concrete word would allow the tasting experience a different dimension. With more precise words, the speaker may convey a virtual experience of tasting and it creates less surprises to the people who would eventually do the tasting. This, however, is a personal remark.
Without waiting longer, you may now get to enjoy yourself the recipe of the cake.


300g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt
65g granulated sugar
65g butter
3 eggs
1 tsp lemon zest
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp plain yogurt

3 tsp honey
3 tsp lemon juice

1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp vanilla extract
Hazelnuts (or any kind of nuts)

1. Mix the all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt. Sift for finer taste.
2. Preheat the oven at 350°F.
3. Take a one or two lemons and grate to obtain the zest. Squeeze out the juice and let it aside.
4. Beat sugar and butter until it becomes fluffy in a mixer. Then add in the eggs, one at a time. When it is well blended, add in the zest, vanilla extract, milk and lemon juice.
5. Add in the dried combination from (1) in the blend. Using a spatula, mix everything. When the dried ingredients are well incorporated, mix in the yogurt.
6. In a 12” cake pan, pour the batter. Tap it to evenly spread. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
7. While baking, you can prepare the syrup and the glaze.
8. When taking out the baked cake, tap the bottom to let the hot air escape and prevent the cake from shrinking.
9. While the cake is still warm, brush some syrup. When the cake is ready to handle, yet not completely cold, you may spread the glaze. Before the icing freezes, top it with hazelnuts or any nuts of your choice. Let it sit for at least 4 hours to let the syrup to settle down.

Good luck and enjoy! 

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