This recipe is from the second series of Raymond Blanc's Kitchen Secrets, recently shown on BBC TV. Raymond Blanc has come across as a very likeable personality during these two series, and a lot of the recipes, especially from the second series, haven't seemed too daunting for a home cook.
Poires au Chocolate, which mentioned lemon juice added to the cake batter. As I only had three lemons in total to play with, I decided to add the zest of all three, plus the juice of two, to the cake batter and use the juice of the third lemon, and no zest, in the lemon glaze.
The ingredients of the cake are a little unusual, but the method is very simple - whisk everything but the flour and baking powder together, then fold in these last two ingredients. I chickened out of using all the batter in my loaf tin, as my instinct is to never fill a cake tin more than 3/4 full. The cake didn't rise a lot, so I think I could have got away with putting all the batter into the tin - instead I ended up with 6 extra cupcakes! The unconvention of taking the cake out of the tin as soon as it came out of the oven required a leap of faith, but all was well!
The only letdown was the complicated method of glazing the cake. After all the fiddling around with warm apricot glaze and warm sugar syrup, when the cake went back into the oven to dry out, most the glaze just ran off the cake and ended up on the baking tray. I think it would be better to build up thin layers of the glaze on the warm cake, letting each one set a bit before adding the next. Fortunately I had some glaze left over and was able to improve the appearance of the cake a little.
This is the sort of lemon cake you would add to an old-fashioned afternoon tea spread - perfect texture, delicate flavour; nothing too extreme to put people off - not too sharp, or moist, or dry, or sweet - a good balance of flavours. For my taste it was a little underflavoured - I like my lemon cakes to sing with sharp lemon flavour, but anyone a little wary of too sharp a lemon flavour will love this cake!