Monday, 18 November 2019

Lemon Loaf Cake

Every time I need a lemon I fall into the trap of buying a bag of them - partly because unwaxed lemons don't seem to be sold singly, and partly because each lemon works out cheaper.

However, if I don't use the lemons fairly quickly, it's a false economy, but that's not difficult to do as I love a lemon cake.

Dan Lepard calls this recipe a lemon drizzle cake, but whenever I make it the drizzle sets to a proper glacé icing. This doesn't bother me, as I don't like too much drizzle, but I don't feel happy calling it a drizzle cake, either.

This recipe really is delicious; there's the zest of 2 lemons and 75mls of juice to make it really lemony. Additionally, ground almonds keeps the cake moist and the addition of a little cornflour keeps the crumb really tender and delicate.

I don't deviate from the recipe in any way, but after adding up the weight of the ingredients, I bake it in a 2lb (900g) loaf tin, even though the recipe suggests a small tin should be used.

I'm still using the whole almonds, which were ground with the skins on (which explains the speckly appearance of the cake).

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Cherry Cheesecake Brownies

I've made these Cherry Cheesecake Brownies once before; an attempt which was delicious, but not altogether successful, because the cherry jam sank through the (reduced fat) brownie batter, and ended up in pools on the liner of the baking tin.

This time I went back to my favourite brownie recipe, made with butter. It's the one I've been using for more than 20 years, with a small reduction in sugar being the only modification I've made to the recipe in that time.

This time the recipe worked perfectly! The swirls of tart cherry jam balanced the sweetness of the cheesecake and both were a good contrast to the dense, chewy brownie.

Which makes it all the more annoying that I didn't get any photographs before some of the brownies were eaten, and the rest distributed between my children, for them to take home after dinner. I was left with this one portion for myself - a remarkable feat of restraint on my part!

Brownies: 140g butter
140g plain chocolate - about 70% cocoa solids
300g light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
160g plain flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
Cheesecake: 180g full fat cream cheese
50g caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Plus: 125g cherry jam

Line a 20cm(8") square baking tin with baking parchment. Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan.

To make the brownie batter: Melt together the butter and chocolate in a large bowl, over a pan of simmering water. Cool to around 40C if necessary (so that the eggs don't start to cook) then mix in the sugar and vanilla extract, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Finally sift in the flour and cocoa, and fold in until thoroughly mixed. Put 3/4 of this batter into the baking tin, reserving the rest for the swirls in the topping.

For the topping: Beat together the cream cheese, caster sugar, vanilla extract and egg until smooth. It will be quite runny. Pour this over the brownie layer in the baking tin. Dot the cherry jam over the surface, about a teaspoon at a time, then do the same with the reserved brownie batter, putting the blobs between the areas of jam. Use the handle of a teaspoon, or something like a chopstick, to swirl the jam and brownie batter blobs into the cheesecake mixture - you get a better pattern if you swirl deep enough to get into the lower brownie layer just a bit.

Bake for 40 minutes until just firm, then cool in the pan before cutting into the desired sizes. I cut into 16 squares, but less greedy people might prefer smaller bars.