Luscious lemon cake, along with tea, makes for a tasty pre-bedtime snack. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

Luscious lemon cake, along with tea, makes for a tasty pre-bedtime snack. (Emily Hanson/Peninsula Daily News)

THE COOKING HOBBYIST: Lemon cake pairs well with evening tea

HAVE YOU EVER been to or hosted a real tea party?

I don’t mean those silly tea parties little girls in fancy dresses are rumored to have in sunshine-filled backyards with nothing but air in their cups and teddy bears at their sides.

I mean a real, true tea party with wonderfully flavored tea and delicious treats to go with it.

I recently experienced high tea at Pippa’s Real Tea in Port Townsend and I’m now fascinated with tea parties.

I’ve delved into the realm of loose-leaf tea and even have an infuser teapot.

It’s purple and adorable and keeps the leaves out of my cup.

On a recent trip to Port Townsend with my mom, she bought me a little book called “Favourite Teatime Recipes: Traditional Home-made Cakes and Pastries” compiled by Carole Gregory and published by Salmon.

Within this small, oldtimey book (that doesn’t have a copyright year on it anywhere) is a recipe for luscious lemon cake.

I absolutely love lemon in baked goods. It doesn’t matter if it’s Girl Scouts Savannah Smiles cookies, lemon bars or a sugar-free lemon cake, if there’s lemon in it, I’m going to eat it (with the exception of cleaning supplies, of course).

I impulsively decided to bake this little treat the other night. It was easy to put together and even easier to devour.

I say impulsively, however, because I had to buy ingredients for it right before coming home to bake it. And then, halfway through putting together the ingredients, I had to go out and buy flour when I realized I didn’t have any.

This recipe had the added challenge of using ingredients I had never heard of before.

Mystery ingredients

For example, what on Earth is caster sugar?

A simple internet search explained that caster sugar is a superfine sugar, far less coarse than what I usually use in recipes. I managed to find some at Country Aire in Port Angeles, but I also found directions on how to make your own at home.

If your recipe calls for caster sugar and you can’t find any, simply combine sugar and powdered sugar, working in half-cup increments.

Place a half-cup of sugar and half-cup of powdered sugar into a blender or food processor and then use pulse-blend in a few bursts until they’re combined into a superfine consistency.

Easy enough, but I’m still glad I found caster sugar I could buy.

In regards to the flour I needed, the recipe called for self-raising flour, which I’ve never heard of.

Making the flour

My mission to buy anything labeled self-rising flour failed but the internet once again provided steps to make it at home. It’s simply a combination of all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Blend together 1 cup of all-purpose flour with 1½ teaspoons of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt.

Here, I made a little goof and used baking soda instead of baking powder. The cake still tasted fine and it rose alright, so that wasn’t a very big deal.

As the luscious lemon cake cooled, I brewed a pot of loose-leaf, caffeine-free tea for a pre-bedtime snack.

Luscious lemon cake from “Favourite Teatime Recipes”

Cake:

1/2 cup soft margarine (I used one stick of butter)

3/4 cup caster sugar

2 large eggs

3/4 cup self-raising flour

Zest of 1 lemon

4 tablespoons milk

Syrup:

3 rounded tablespoons icing sugar (I used powdered sugar)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Set the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and bottom line a 2-pound loaf tin. I used a 1.5 liter glass loaf pan that worked just fine.

Cream the margarine and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, flour, lemon zest and milk. Mix well to a soft, dropping consistency.

Put into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. I have a finicky oven and baked for 37 minutes. In retrospect, I probably should have gone the full 40. You’ll know the cake is done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

For the syrup, mix the sifted icing sugar (again, I used powdered sugar and didn’t bother to sift it) and lemon juice together in a bowl and pour over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.

Leave in the tin until completely cold.

________

Emily Hanson is a copy editor/paginator for the Peninsula Daily News. She is also a beginning baker and clumsy cook. She can be reached at 360-452-2345 ext. 560-50 or [email protected] dailynews.com.

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