Friday, 11 April 2008

whoosh*

* that’s the sound of March flying past. And come to think of it, a good chunk of April as well.

I’ve been a very bad blogger these last few months, shame on me. Another whole month has passed without any baking or experimenting. The only action in the kitchen was that of an entire colony of mice, running around in plain daylight and eating everything in sight. Greedy little buggers. They’ve gone now; old-fashioned mousetraps with a bit of peanut butter did just the trick. I’m sure there were more than the four we caught, but the rest probably got fed up and decided to move somewhere else.

Also, last month S and I survived – barely – two very traumatic trips to Ikea. We’re scarred for life now, the mere mention of something blue and yellow Scandinavian and flatpack furniture reduces us to gibbering wrecks. Seriously, what is it with that store? Their website says everything you need is in stock, but the shelves in the warehouse are completely empty. And the personnel at the information desks think it’s much more important to chat with their mates and yell abuse at their co-workers than, I don’t know, helping out clients maybe? We did eventually manage to get an entire wardrobe puzzled together, miraculously nothing was lost when we had it delivered, we lived to tell the tale and our bedroom looks much tidier now. But those nine hours of our lives, we’ll never get those back.

Oh, and that long bank holiday weekend in March I had so many plans for? Three guesses how that was spent. Yep, even more DIY, resulting in lovingly restored sash windows, looking absolutely yummy. Sash windows aren’t edible though.

So I figured it was high time I put on my apron and baked something, before I completely lose skills like whipping egg whites. Or switching on the oven. And my good friend Claudia was just the woman to provide me with inspiration. I had been meaning to make her lemon and lavender pound cake for ages – in fact, it was the recipe that immediately caught my eye the first time I ever browsed through her book – but somehow I always got distracted trying other things. Not this time though.

The recipe is that of a very simple and basic pound cake – quite different from the one I normally make though, so it was a good ‘exercise’ to compare techniques and results. This one is certainly easier and a bit less work, withouth much difference in taste. I adapted the recipe a little bit: I omitted the lemon zest because I really don’t like lemon zest and cut down the quantities of the lavender quite a bit as I thought using the full four tablespoons might be a bit overpowering. The resulting cake was wonderfully moist and lemony with just a hint of lavender. I was convinced S wouldn’t like it, because of the lavender, but he obligingly tasted a little piece. And then… his eyes lit up, he started licking his lips and rubbing his belly, said ‘yum!’ and cut himself another piece. Maybe that 'whoosh' was also the sound of pigs flying past...

lemon and lavender pound cake
adapted from Claudia Fleming's The Last Course

200g butter
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon dried lavender

for syrup: 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice

Melt butter with lavender, leave to infuse for 10 minutes, strain, discard lavender, and set aside to cool.
Beat eggs with sugar until thick and pale. Sift 1/3 of flour into egg mixture until thoroughly combined. Fold in rest of flour in 2 batches. Whisk one cup of batter with vanilla extract and melted butter, then add this to remaining batter. Bake cake at 150˚C for 45 minutes.

Make syrup (bring to simmer in saucepan and cook until sugar is dissolved). When cake is ready, poke all over with skewer and brush with half the syrup. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, invert cake and brush bottom and sides. Reinvert and brush with remaining syrup. Enjoy.

8 comments:

Tartelette said...

Gee Wowan! I was that close to send in the search party or call Ikea to see if they were holding you prisoner?!! Glad to see you back,and with a wonderful cake I might have to bake soon :)
Missed you...please don't do it again!

Peabody said...

It certainly has flown by. I feel I will blink and miss the whole 2008 year!
A lovely little treat you have there.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Inne, it's great to see you back. And with these little beauties, you are so forgiven. :)

michelle @ thursday night smackdown said...

yummers. so spring-y sounding.

i'm sorry about ikea. i think i may be making as trip there in the next few weeks, and i'm trying to steel myself up for it.

Aran said...

This looks like such a lovely cake. I just found your blog through helen's blog and I am sooo glad. You have wonderful photos and recipes. I will come back for more!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

I just found your blog through Tartelette and am so happy I did! Your mini cake looks lovely and tasty too!

Inne said...

Wow, I didn't expect anyone to still read my blog - thanks for the comments! I did make it out of ikea in one piece (but only barely) and I'm not planning to go back there anytime soon. Now that the days are getting longer and we've got the end of all our DIY in sight (sort of) I'll try my bestest not to slack off again!

tammy said...

I just love these pics! YUM.