Valentines feast and a very lemony birthday cake

Although we don’t really “do” Valentine’s day, it is quite a good excuse to have a nice meal and spoil ourselves a bit. I realise that I’m a control freak, as does Jake, so it wasn’t really going to be anything other than me cooking dinner, I’ve embraced the inner control freak in me…

For starters we had scallops, the only form of “fish” that jake will eat. Here’s the recipe from BBC Food.

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Main course, it had to be steak. I love steak. And this was the perfect excuse to buy some really nice steak. Fillet steak in fact. Mmmmm. No recipe, just steak chips and salad.

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Aaaand for pudding. Chocolate pudding courtesy of Nigella. You can count on Nigella for indulgence. These are basically just a very chocolatey, very runny cake that you don’t let cook all the way through. Very quick and even more yummy. Some form of ice cream or creme fraiche is compulsory though, as they are very rich.

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Next up, birthday cake! I do love a birthday, a perfect occasion for a big layer cake. I went lemony, with lemon sponge, lemon syrup and lemon curd buttercream, all dairy free of course! Luckily lemon cake was the birthday girl’s favourite.

Ingredients
250g self raising flour
250g butter or Trex
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
grated zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1
dribble of milk/almond milk
 
For the syrup
juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp caster sugar
 
For the lemon curd buttercream
120g butter or Trex
375g icing sugar
150g lemon curd
 
100g flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins. Beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Mix in the flour, baking powder and lemon zesr. Add the lemon juice and mix until it is a nice smooth batter. If it’s looking a bit stiff, add a dribble of milk/almond milk. You want it do be a consistency that holds its shape but just drops off a wooden spoon.

Divide between the two tins and bake for 25-30 mins.

Just before the cakes are finished cooking, make the syrup but heating the lemon juice and sugar together in a small saucepan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, prick them all over and pour the syrup over them. Leave to cool.

To make the buttercream, beat together the icing sugar and butter and when it will no longer beat, gradually start adding the lemon curd a tablespoon at a time. This will loosen it and make it beatable again. Beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, add some almond milk if you think it’s too stiff.

Once the cakes are cooled, place one on a plate or cake stand, spread with about a quarter to a third of the frosting, place the second cake on top and cover with most of the remaining frosting. Start spreading the frosting over the top of the cake and dragging out over the sides. Apply more frosting where necessary to cover the sides. Now you need to pat, throw, sprinkle or squash the flaked almonds around the sides of the cake, however you can get them on there!

Enjoy!Dairy free lemon cake

Dairy free lemon cake

Dairy free lemon cake

 

 

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