Every year, our garden is home to nesting birds. We are happy that birds find our little backyard a safe haven to lay their eggs and nuture their babies. Every year we find bits of egg shells on the ground. Some make it through and fly away. Some aren’t so lucky and get neglected by their mummy birds.
The thick wall creepers used to be the favourite nesting spot until we had it trimmed. And so this year, the birds decided to nest on our very dense lemon tree that needs trimming soon. I managed to take a few sneak photos of the mummy bird in her nest! How cute This means that I need to pluck the surrounding lemons more carefully.
I discovered this nest while plucking lemons for this almond and lemon syrup cake that I was baking for Billy’s housewarming get together. Oh… and I had a little mishap while baking this cake. I swear I was following the instructions step by step but somehow got the sequence of step 3 and the ingredients mixed up! But it worked out in the end. Phew!
Recipe from Belinda Jeffery (Mix & Bake)
- 50g plain flour
- 200g almond meal
- 11/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 190g castor sugar
- 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature cut into large chunks
- 11/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4tsp of almond essence
- 11/2 large lemons finely grated zest
- 150g of castor sugar
- 2 lemons zest, cut into 1cm wide strip
- 125ml of lemon juice, strained
- 250ml of water
Please note – I did not have almond essence and did not like the taste or aroma of almond essence and so removed it. I guess it became less of an “almond” cake…. but I have no love for almond essence. Or could you tell me where I can get hold of some really good almond essence that does not smell or taste so overly sickening?
- Preheat oven to 160C. Butter a 20cm square cake tin and line the base with buttered line paper (I used a loaf tin as I did not have a square cake tin). Dust the tin lightly and set aside
- Put the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt into a food processor. Whiz them together for 20seconds, then tip into a bowl
- Add the eggs and sugar to the processor and whiz them together for 1 min or until they are light and creamy, Scrape in the butter and whiz for another 40 seconds. The mixture will look like curdle, but it is fine. Stop the processor, add the vanilla and almond essence and lemon zest and blitz for another 10 seconds
- Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in the food processor and pulse until they are mixed. Do not over pulse. Scrape the sides to make sure all is well mixed
- Scope the mixture and smooth out in tin. Bake for one hour or until a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Meanwhile, prepare the lemon syrup. Place all ingredients into a pot over a high heat. Stir until all sugar is dissolved. Then stop stirring and allow it to come to boil. Let it bubble fairly quickly for 10 – 12 minutes or until it looks thicker and like syrup. Then off heat and set aside. Keep warm
- When the cake is ready, cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 10mins. Invert onto the rack and remove the paper. Now brush half the lemon syrup. Reserve the rest of the syrup including the zest. Leave the cake to cool completely
- To serve, you may serve with double cream and the remaining lemon syrup and zest
- The cake can store well for about 1 week in the fridge. Warm it slightly before serving
The cake itself is quite dense but at the same time, very moist. I love the lemon syrup coating. It created a crunchy top that is seriously quite addictive. I heard praises from some of the people that tried it. So pretty confident that it is a good cake. And also all you need is a food processor! This is the time that I baked a cake with a food processor. I am sure that many of you had but I haven’t.
I am so making this again and next time I shall try hazelnut with orange syrup. Possiblities seem endless! What flavour will you pick?