It seems astonishing to me that we’re already halfway through April.
Autumn’s slowly making its presence known with cooler nights, more frequent cups of tea and the deciduous trees of the neighbourhood transitioning to palettes of copper and carmine.
With the temperature dropping from its ghastly summer heights, I’ve also got another reason to rejoice – I can finally use my oven again!
Hard to believe but it’s been on hiatus for the past four months to prevent my apartment turning into a large-scale furnace in the midst of the summer heat.
Considering the amount of dishes I’d normally prepare that involve baking or roasting, it’s been very hard but thankfully the drought is over and I can go back to using my beloved oven without fear of perishing from heat stroke.
It was my mother’s birthday on Friday and in celebration I baked a simple but delicious lemon syrup cake.
This recipe resonates with fond memories, as my brother and I would often come home after school to find it freshly baked for our afternoon tea.
Mum received the recipe some thirty years ago from a colleague and in fact she still has the original piece of notepaper on which she wrote it, now dog-eared, browning and covered with cooking splatters – the marks of a tried and true favourite!
I’ve tweaked it a bit so that it’s gluten-free but you can always use plain flour in place of the almond meal and rice flour.
lemon syrup cake
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup almond meal
1 cup rice flour (or plain gluten-free flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
juice from half a lemon
zest from two lemons, finely chopped
juice from 2 lemons
zest from 1 lemon, kept in long reams
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a loaf pan with baking paper.
In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and creamy. On low speed, add the eggs, milk, lemon juice and zest, mixing until all the ingredients are combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until you have a smooth consistency. Pour into your lined loaf pan and place in the oven.
Bake for 45 minutes or until brown on top and a cake skewer comes out clean.
Whilst the cake is cooling in the pan, prepare the syrup.
Heat sugar, zest and lemon juice in a small saucepan until boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until the sauce is reduced and syrupy.
Pour syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in completely.
Remove from the loaf pan and serve slices of cake with a nice pot of tea.