When I’m living in my teeny-weeny London flat, with an accompanying tiny kitchen, it makes me appreciate how much easier it is to cook in other circumstances. Not only the issues of space, but that of ventilation, temperature and even the equipment available.
Lately, my London kitchen has been as hot as a furnace. It retains heat like metal to a magnet. Baking (being the delicate diva it is) doesn’t like the temperatures at all, making itself harder work than usual. I see why baking is more popular in colder climates!
Although I’m not fond of using lemons in baking, everyone around me seems to love them, so I had a go at a lemon sponge, sandwiched with lemon curd and lemony mascarpone cream. It’s based on the victoria sponge method, as opposed to the more exotic methods of cakes I have been churning out lately, with good reason. It has a great texture and flavour, and honestly – the lemon yoghurt version wasn’t half as good.
The cakes didn’t rise a lot, given the clement weather within the kitchen, although I did my best to do some of the basic cake preparation work in a cooler room. However, the advantage of this was that they remained flat topped – no trimming necessary!
It went down very well, friends together on the flat balcony, enjoying the balmy sun.
- 3 eggs
- the combined egg weight in soft butter, caster sugar, and self-raising flour
- the zest of 2 lemons
- generous tablespoon of lemon curd
- 200g mascarpone
- zest of 1 lemon
- lemon juice
- icing sugar, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Grease and line 2 18cm cake tins. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, the zest of 2 lemons and flour together until just combined, then pour into the cake tins and bake for around 20 minutes until springy and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
Then beat the mascarpone until smooth, and add a little icing sugar to taste. Add the zest of 1 lemon, and a little lemon juice to loosen the cream if it is too thick. Spread half the mascarpone cream onto one of the cakes, and spread the spoonful of lemon curd in the centre. Do not spread too much lemon curd onto the cakes or it will leak out everywhere.
Spread the remaining half of the mascarpone onto the top of the other cake, and stack it on top of the other.