One of my favourite little 'Me and Sam time' treats is every fortnight, when I take Ben and his friend Euan to their evening drama class. I pick them up, too, so there simply isn't enough time to go home inbetween. Sam and I (well, mainly 'I', clearly) have developed the habit of driving to a retail park near Cardiff City Stadium, where there just happens to be a really nice Costa Coffee, and a large branch of Hobbycraft. I get to browse the baking and craft goodies, and then, as it is approaching bottle time, we head over to Costa to take care of business. Once done, we get to have a good old chat (ie play) and mummy gets to look a bit of an idiot as she makes endless faces and funny noises to delight a six month old baby.
Of course, you can't go in to Costa without ordering something. So mine is always the same. A diet coke (for thirst), a regular cuppucino (for taste and that 'ahhh' feeling), and a slice of their lemon layer cake. I love lemon cake and Costa's lemon layer cake is pretty fine. It's just the right balance for me of sharp and sweet, and the buttercream icing is to die for. It's definitely one of my favourite cakes, and I guess I am a little surprised I found it in a chain like Costa.
I've been searching for a recipe that comes close to the taste. I think I may have found it in this week's Bake Off challenge, organised by the lovely Amy, who chose Mary Berry's Lemon Yoghurt Cake. As my kitchen is now nearing completion enough to work in, I was ablke to take part this week. Oh my, was I so glad to get back to baking! And what a cake to start off with.
The recipe comes from '100 Cakes and Bakes', which is our Bake Off Bible.
It's actually quite a simple cake, not many ingredients, but ones which really deliver on flavour. The main one being a generous dosing of Greek yoghurt, which alongside the lemon, enhances the sharpness of the cake. It's a dense sponge, which stays lovely and moist but you do need to keep it in the fridge. The simple icing glaze, made with lemon juice and icing sugar, really balances out the sweetness of the cake, and you can, of course, make it as sharp or sweet as you like by just tweaking the proportion of sugar to juice.
300g caster sugar
50g softened unsalted butter
3 large eggs, separated
225g Greek style yoghurt
zest of 1 lemon, grated
175g self raising flour
Preheat the oven to 160 fan / 180 conventional / gas 4.
Grease and base line a 20cm (8 inch) deep cake tin.
Crem the butter and sugar, then add the egg yolks and beat until smooth.
Add the yoghurt and lemon zest and mix well, then fold in the flour.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then fold into the mixture.
Make the icing glaze. I used approximately 150g sifted icing sugar and then lemon juice to taste, and to the consistency you like. I then used some lemon zest strips sprinkled over the top as decoration. But you can do pretty much anything. Some of the other entries used some lovely sugar flowers, or decorative piping. Why don't you check out the Bake Off page and have a look?
|Excuse the lighting - taken at night while I had the whole cake|
|In the morning it resembled Pacman!|