Saturday, 1 March 2014

The Weekend Cake - Lemon Sponge with Marmalade Filling

Lemon Sponge with Marmalade Filling

The weekend is the perfect time to make a cake.  Someone might drop in.  You might invite someone over for tea.  You might, as we did, invite someone over for dessert after a meal out.  Having had a disappointing result when I tried a new recipe for a friend's birthday recently (the cake was too solid), I decided to revert to my tried and tested lemon sponge.  It's easy to make and almost never goes wrong.

There are two 'secrets' to a good sponge. Mary Berry would be horrified, but I always use soft margarine for cakes. It makes them lighter.  The other is to add a bit of liquid (one or two tablespoons) at the end (after the flour) to 'lighten' the mixture. Mary Berry might approve. It is important to  use butter for the icing.  You will be able to taste the difference. I used home made marmalade in the filling, but store bought is just as good in this recipe.
As this is the first weekend of spring, lemon cake seems entirely appropriate. It has just the right taste for welcoming spring.


For the cake:
8 ounces of soft margarine (Stork or Flora). These are the original ones, not the low cholesterol ones. They usually say 'Suitable for baking' on them.
8 ounces of sugar.
4 medium or large eggs. (I usually only have large eggs on hand.)
1 generous teaspoon of good quality Vanilla essence.
8 ounces of Self Raising flour, sifted.
A small pinch of salt.
Juice and rind of one lemon.
A little warm water from the kettle.

Beat the margarine until fluffy.
Add the sugar and cream the ingredients well, scraping the sides of the bowl to ensure they are mixed well.
Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each one.
Add the vanilla essence and the grated lemon rind. Don't worry if it curdles.
Sift the flour and salt and add to the wet ingredients, folding in gently.
Stir in the lemon juice and, if the mixture is too heavy, add a little warm water from the kettle.

Put the mixture into greased, lined 8" round cake tins and bake at 180C, 350F for 20 minutes.
The top of the cake should be springy when the cake is done.  Do not over bake it.
Leave 10 minutes then remove from the tins and cool the cake on racks.

For the icing:
2 ounces softened butter.  (I use lightly salted because I like the taste.)
8 ounces icing sugar, sifted.
Juice and rind of one lemon.
A little water, if needed.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the lemon juice and rind.  If the mixture needs thinning, add a little more lemon juice or a little water.

Assembling the Cake:
When the cake is cool, put the bottom layer on a plate and spread a little of the icing on it. This is to prevent the marmalade making the cake wet.
Spoon some marmalade on and spread it gently over the icing.
Place the other layer on top and spread the rest of the icing on it. 

A piece of cake on one of my late Mother-inlaw's lovely dragon plates.

Happy Spring.

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