Monday, 31 December 2007

Something Special

When I was little, a year seemed like the longest time in the world. Birthdays and Christmas were particularly elusive, but even something like 'see you in a month' was, to me, the equivalent of, 'NEVER SEE YOU AGAIN, MOO HAR HAR'.

This year seems to have gone bizarrely fast, so I can only conclude that, as a seventeen year old, I'm officially Getting Old.

This was one of the puddings we had for Christmas last week, but it seemed right for a New Year post as there's something very fresh and -- well, Nigella Lawson describes it as 'sing[ing] with springtime and Easter hopefulness'. Alright, so it isn't Easter, but I think the same description applies ( DOES). While my version is a little more ramshackle (it adds charm!) than Nigella's, my coming year will probably be similar, haha.

Lemon Meringue Cake

From Feast by Nigella Lawson

Makes 1 8-inch cake.

125g butter
4 eggs
300g caster sugar
100g plain flour
24g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
zest of 1 lemon
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp milk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
150ml double or whipping cream
150g lemon curd

1. Preheat oven to 190C (my mother insisted I put it at the top of the Roasting Oven in the Aga, which is why it's burnt on top --ooh, I'm so resentful). Line two 8inch cake tins.

2. Mix the egg yolks, 100g of the sugar, the butter, flour, cornflour, baking powder, bicarb and lemon zest together (in a Kitchen Aid, is the unspoken instruction after this) until pale. Add the lemon juice and milk and mix again. Divide the mixture between the two tins - there isn't a lot of it. Spread & smooth down with a spatula.

3. Whisk the egg whites and tartar until peaks form then slowly whisk in the rest of the sugar. Divide these between the two tins, spreading over the cake batter. Smooth one flat with a spatula, and use the back of a spoon to peak the other. Sprinkle 1 tsp sugar over the peaks and put in the oven for about 20mins.

4. With a skewer, pierce the flat-topped cake to check it's cooked through; no sponge mixture should stick to the skewer. Let both cakes cool in the pan on a wire rack.

5. Nigella says calmly at this point, 'unmold the flat topped one onto a cake stand or plate, meringue side down'. Ignore her; unmolding these buggers is easier said than done without crushing all the meringue - not a problem for the flat one, but definitely for the peaked one. This involved three of us, all with fish slices, to get the cakes unmolded. I hope you have help and fish slices to hand.

6. Whisk the cream until thick but not stiff and set asidde. Spread the flat sponge surface of the first cake with the lemon curd and then spatula over the cream and top with the remaining cake, meringue uppermost.

Ramshackle appearance aside, this cake is beautiful and was a massive hit at Christmas (although I admit I dusted it with icing sugar rather than parade the burnt bits, so I can't exactly say there's a story with a moral or anything coming up). And I think I definitely prefer it to lemon meringue pie, just because it's a bit different, and there's something special about it.

If I was in a cheesy mood, I'd finish with, 'I hope 2008 also has something special in store for you', but that's just a bit vile.

...On the other hand, I'm getting ready to go out for a New Years party, and time is of the essence. I hope 2008 is special for you, all over the place. XD



Cakespy said...

What a gorgeous, gorgeous cake! Thank you Nigella!! :-)

Great blog!

Anna said...

Cakespy - thanks very much! Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just discovered your blog and I like it already, haha!
The cake looks D E L I C I O U S!

Anna said...

Hey Isa, thanks for commenting! Hope to see you around in the future ^__^

Pixie said...

Your cake looks delicious, great photos. Thanks for stopping by and the aubergine serves 4. :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

you are NOT helping my NY diet! looks great...

eatme_delicious said...

Yum that cake looks so good! What an interesting idea.