Inspired by a very tasty lemon curd muffin I got in the Kinsealy garden centre last week, I decided to make lemon buns and curd to go on top of them.
For the buns I used the recipe for lemon drizzle cake and spooned it into 15 bun cases and baked for about 20 minutes until set.
Happilly my net of lemons contained three, so after adding one the cake mix, I had two to make the curd. I had never made curd before, so I ended up scaling down Nigel Slater’s recipe and reducing the sugar for extra wince-inducing tang.
Juice and zest of two lemons
90g sugar (even with 100g it will still be tangy)
One egg and one egg yolk
Set up a pot of simmering water with a bowl set over it so the bottom doesnt touch the liquid. (Lacking a proper sized bowl, I drop a tall cookie cutter into my smallest pot and balance my pyrex jug on top). Put the juice, zest, sugar and butter in to melt while you separate and beat the eggs. When the butter is fully melted, add the eggs, and stir with a whisk.
Stir regularly and cook the mix for about ten mins (according to Nigel, I ended up going closer to fifteen) until the mixture starts to thicken (like custard) and “coats the back of a spoon”. Then pour into a jar and leave to set, stirring occasionally.
Sadly mine was a little runnier than I’d have liked, but hopefully with enough time in the fridge, that won’t matter too much. The plan is then to smush it on to the buns and delight my lab colleagues tomorrow.
Yesterday I brought a delicious Victoria sponge loaded with strawberries and cream to college. Needless to say it didn’t last long, us sciencey folks need cake to keep the research going…
I found the recipe in the Ballymalloe Cookery Course (big book by Darina Allen, great for the basics). Ideally you need an electric whisk for this recipe.
3 eggs, separated
225g caster sugar
140g flour, sifted
1tsp baking powder
Icing sugar for dusting
Tasty fillings of choice (for me it was jam, cream and strawberries)
Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
Line two 20cm baking tins (don’t grease them, try to get the paper to fit as well to the edge as you can, you can use a knife to separate the sides if your tin isnt nonsticky. When recipes don’t contain much fats, and use whisked egg whites, it’s best to avoid greasing the tin).
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Set aside.
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar for two minutes, until they turn pale.
Whisk in the water, whisk for ten minutes until it becomes light and airy.
Fold in the sifted flour and baking powder.
Fold in the eggwhites.
Divide between the tins, and pop into the oven for 20mins.
Turn out on to wire racks and think about filling the cakes.
First, I decided which end of the cake was the bottom and put it on the plate it was to travel on, then I whipped cream and set it aside. Spread jam on either side of the sandwich (to stop the juice soaking into the sponge and also, I like jam). Then quartered (and removed the green bit) of loads of strawberries and put them on the bottom of the cake, then lathered on the cream and put the top on. I dusted the cake when I arrived in the break room (the icing sugar sometimes sweats and looks less fancy after a few hours, so pop a sieve and the icing sugar in the bag with the cake, or you can get them nice icing sugar dredgers).
Sadly, there are no photos of this masterpiece, but there are a few researchers who can attest to it’s tastiness…