Nigella Lawson’s Baby Bundts + Making Allowances

Does the world need another recipe for a lemony cake? I suppose not. But is this one worth sharing? Yes. I think all cake is worth sharing!

I’ve been baking quite a lot from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess over the past two months. It’s a book I’ve owned for over 2 years, but it’s only now getting some quality time in the kitchen.  I’ve made a few of her recipes before- cherry-almond loaf cake, store-cupboard chocolate orange cake, Victoria sponge cake, and some others, with pretty good results.

The new cover  image courtesy | nigella.com

The new cover
image courtesy | nigella.com

The old edition, which I have image courtesy | unibooks.co.au

The old edition, which I have
image courtesy | unibooks.co.au

The thing with me is, I try new recipes often enough, but when it comes to baking something for a potluck or dinner party, I always end up baking the same few recipes over and over again. There’s Nigella’s chocolate olive oil cake, a simple vanilla sponge cake, or a lemony loaf cake. I get nervous about busting out something new that I’ve never baked before.

I am also hit with a slight sense of anxiety: invariably, there will be someone in the party who detests a particular flavour; and it is near impossible to please everyone. When I bake, I pretty much choose between two broad categories: is it going to be a chocolatey cake, or a fruity one? (This could be anything from a citrusy oil-based cake to banana bread or a strawberry/apple cake.) If I decide to make a fruity cake, there will be someone who detests Granny Smith apples, cannot stomach strawberries or hates bananas.

And with chocolate- yes, there are plenty of people who really do not like chocolate. Being a chocoholic myself, I used to find it absurd. I couldn’t understand how people could dislike the taste of chocolate, or caramel, or dislike dessert altogether. I’d feel bad if someone passed up dessert, or said, “I don’t eat chocolate, I’ll pass.” Even though they had a perfectly valid reason- I’d still feel a bit let down. They don’t like cake. They don’t want my cake. When cooking and gathering around the table to feed friends and family is your happy place, you have a tendency to be blind to smaller appetites and cautious eaters.

And then I looked at my own eating habits. I am not a big meat-eater. If there’s mutton masala, fish curry or fried prawns on table, I’ll eat a small amount. I usually don’t take seconds, and even with biryani, I end up taking a single piece of chicken or meat, while the rest of the party is digging in for more. Being less enthusiastic about non-vegetarian food- this behaviour could very well be perceived as strange by the host/hostess, right? S/he could be thinking: Meenakshi doesn’t like my mutton masala.

So when it comes to personal taste, one really can’t judge.Some of us don’t enjoy meat. Some people just really.hate.chocolate. And while my 20-year-old self would have gotten all high-pitchy with a chocolate-hater and argued “How can anyone NOT like chocolate?,” now I’ve learnt to just let it be. Create with love and serve everyone: if they enjoy it and get themselves seconds, wonderful. If they’d rather not indulge, it’s all good. Make allowances. Be accepting of tastes not aligned with your own.

This recipe is also about making allowances. It’s a recipe for baby bundts- except I don’t have a bundt pan, baby or XL. I do own a mini donut tray, so I used that instead. So it’s not a baby bundt- but maybe we can pretend it’s a baby ring cake?

We had a family potluck last month and I decided to make this instead of my standard chocolate cake or fruity loaf. I figured it would be easy to eat and portion out or carry home. And if someone didn’t like it too much- they’d have to endure only 3-4 bites in total!

The way the ingredients are mixed is muffin-like: wet and dry mixed separately, then combined. Considering the amount of yoghurt in the batter, I expected a moister cake, but this one was quite springy. The glaze, of course, helped. All in all it’s a fun and agreeable little cake- not too fancy, not too shy.

I don’t have a picture of the glaze- but don’t leave it out- it’s not as nice without it 🙂

NIGELLA LAWSON’S BABY BUNDTS (From How To Be A Domestic Goddess.)

INGREDIENTS

The Cake

  • 125 ml natural yoghurt
  • 75 g butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 150 g flour
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

The Glaze

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 200 g icing sugar

METHOD

The Cake

  • In a measuring jug or bowl, mix the yoghurt, melted butter, eggs, and lemon zest until combined.
  • In a separate larger bowl, lightly whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, folding until everything is combined.
  • Pour the batter into baby bundt moulds (in my case, mini donut moulds!) and bake at 170 C for 25-30 minutes.
  • Once cooled, ice the cakes with the sugary glaze.

The Glaze

  • Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl, and slowly pour in as much lemon juice as you need to make an icing that is thick enough to hold shape but drizzle down the sides.

 

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Lemon Cake Smackdown | 3 Tried & Tested Lemony Cake Recipes

Last month I baked pretty much only lemon cakes. I had been wanting to try Nigella Lawson’s lemon-syrup loaf cake from How To Be A Domestic Goddess for a while, and when the World Baking Day challenge finally gave me a chance to try a lemony cake. But I didn’t stop with that.

I tried 3 different kinds in total.

First, Carmela’s lemon loaf cake with syrup poured over.

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Second, a loaf cake spiked with vanilla bean and lime zest.

Love the peek-a-boo bits of vanilla bean :)

Love the peek-a-boo bits of vanilla bean 🙂

And third, Donna Hay’s lemon yogurt cake.

Dense and pale lemony yellow!

Dense and pale lemony yellow!

I baked Carmela’s lemon loaf  cake with syrup twice more; once when we had company and another time to send to family. Even though it does take more effort (you need to melt the butter and allow it to cool; then while the cake is baking you need to make the lemony sugar syrup,) it is worth it because the syrup ensures that the cake stays moist for longer. And once that lemon syrup gets into the cake, you get this really delicious sticky-crumbly crumb.

Donna Hay’s lemon-yogurt cake I did not attempt again; even though it is the simplest of the three, being a one-bowl affair. It’s tasty, no doubt- but  since it uses vegetable oil and not butter, I could not taste that richness that comes only from butter.

But there was one which I made over and over again; for family, friends, tea, for when we had company over and even just for myself. The vanilla bean and lime/lemon zest loaf.  I used nimbus (limes) the first time around, and used Meyer lemons for some other attempts. For the other two cakes, I followed specific lemon cake recipes. For this one, I tweaked a vanilla cake recipe and added lemon/lime zest and juice to it. It was not a lemon cake to begin with. But I love it because it produces a fluffy, moist which does not need syrup to keep it moist and ever-so-slightly damp. And the speckled vanilla seeds just add a touch of pretty.

So whether you have Meyer lemons, regular lemons or good old desi nimbus, I encourage you to try this 🙂

Lemony Loaf Cake 3: Donna Hay’s Lemon Yogurt Cake | Quick & Easy One-Bowl Lemon Cake Recipe

In my last post I mentioned how I had one more lemon cake recipe to try before I could decide which one I liked best. This one is by Donna Hay, from her Fast, Fresh & Simple series. It hits the marks on all of the above- because it is, like she promises, fast, fresh and simple.

Her recipe uses a fluted dish, but since I am obsessed with my loaf pans currently, I turned mine into a loaf. She adds no vanilla, so the cake is a little paler than the earlier ones I made- but the lemon flavour shines through.

Finally managed to get the   crack down the middle of the loaf :)

Finally managed to get the crack down the middle of the loaf 🙂

For this cake, I used real lemons- my sister-in-law got me some Meyer lemons when got back from her vacation, and boy oh boy oh boy– are they GORGEOUS. I mean, I love myself a good desi nimbu, but these lemons are so fragrant, so floral- the flavour permeates every bit of the cake and lingers after you have finished eating a slice. And since the rind of the lemon is thicker and more buttery, the bits of lemon zest baked into the cake are soft and almost melt as you eat. Sigh. I wouldn’t mind holding one of these lemons all day and inhaling their blossomy scent. (Gawd. It almost sounds like I’m in love with the lemons! But that is what years of nimbus have done to me. Whoever created that Volkswagen ‘Lemon’ ad campaign in the 1960s never ate any of these fabulous lemon loaves.)

This cake is definitely yummy; more tart and dense thanks to the yogurt. Plus, it is easy to put together since it is pretty much a one-bowl recipe without too much mixing, whisking and folding.

DONNA HAY’S LEMON YOGURT CAKE (Original recipe here.)

INGREDIENTS

  • 90 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 140 g thick-set natural yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  •  192 g castor sugar
  • 150 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

METHOD

  • Preheat the oven to 180 C
  • Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and make sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
  • Put the oil, egg, yoghurt, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl and whisk well till evenly combined.
  • Sift the flour over this mixture,  stir as you sift so there are no lumps. Stir till you get a smooth, glossy batter.
  • Pour into a loaf pan or baking dish and bake at 180 C for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Makes one 9 inch loaf.

Dense and pale lemony yellow!

Dense and pale lemony yellow!