Tag Archives: lemon

Apple and Ginger Cakes with Lemon Icing

24 Jan

As soon as I got my baking book, I knew I would have to make these.  However, the long list of ingredients put me off for a while. This weekend, the siren song of Tate and Lyle’s Golden Syrup was too strong, and I stickily succumbed.

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.


250g butter, softened

1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark sugar

3 eggs

1/4 cup golden syrup

2 cups plain flour

1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp ground ginger

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 cup grated apple (1 medium apple)

2/3 cup hot water

For the icing

2 cups icing sugar

2 tsp butter, softened

1/3 cup lemon juice

Method (makes 12):

1. Preheat oven to 180 oC. Grease two large 6-hole muffin pans.

2. Beat butter and sugar in small bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beat until well combined between additions. Stir in syrup.

3. Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Stir in sifted dry ingredients, then apple and water.

4. Divide mixture among pans.

5. Bake about 25 minutes. Stand cakes in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool.

6. Meanwhile, make icing by sifting icing sugar into medium heatproof bowl; stir in butter and juice to form a paste. Place bowl over small saucepan of simmering water; stir until icing is a pouring consistency.


I declared the recipe halved, and lo, it was.

Wadda ladda baddah.

I finally got my hands on some genuine-goodtime-family-fun brown sugar (so long demerara!). I was surprised at how damp it seemed – like wet sand.

Creaming the butter and sugar. It smells so. good.

But looks like a sinus infection.

Srp. Whenever I see a lion, I think of this one:

He’s the Maiwand Lion, and is actually a war memorial in Reading. I’ve never been to Reading, and the only reason I know about the lion is because it’s an example of doing it wrong.

Look at the lion’s gait. Now imagine a lion actually walking like that. He’d look ridiculous. The sculptor, George Blackwell Simonds, was rumoured to have committed suicide when some wag was kind enough to point it out.

EDIT: The infinite wisdom of Wikipedia tells me I’m wrong!

Rumours persist that Simonds committed suicide on learning that the lion’s gait was incorrectly that of a domestic cat. In fact, he made careful observations on lions and the stance was anatomically correct despite various African ex-pats disagreeing. He also lived for another 43 years, enjoying continuing success as a sculptor going on to create a statue of Queen Victoria (1887) and a statue of George Palmer (1891).

So there we go. I should probably stop telling that story.

It’s a little bit like a tin of wood varnish.

In fact, sorry to go on about this Golden Syrup, but it’s all rather interesting. Those eagle-eyed among you will notice that the logo on the tin looks a lot like a dead lion, surrounded by flies. Delicious. It is a dead lion, but it’s actually surrounded by a swarm of bees. And it’s from The Bible! (via Wikipedia):

In the Book of Judges, Chapter 14, Samson was travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle at a wedding: “Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” The last seven words still appear on tins of Golden Syrup. Abraham Lyle was a deeply religious man and may have intended to refer to the strength of the company or to the strength of the tin.


If this isn’t what Conrad meant by The Heart of Darkness, then I radically misunderstood the book.

Sieving the dry ingredients (including yummy ginger) into the wet mixture.

Grating an apple is not like grating a carrot. For one, it’s a lot jucier. For two, it goes everywhere – including your eyes. Perhaps that’s where the expression “apple of my eye” comes from?

One of your five-a-day. Probably.

I kept filling cases 2/3 full until I ran out of mixture. I had enough for 9 in total.

I was a bit slapdash putting the mixture into the cases – hence the splashes (slap+dash).

It smells incredible when it comes out of the oven.

Something went a bit wrong with the glace icing. I don’t think I used enough icing sugar – a whole cup seemed excessive. Also, I didn’t heat it very much, so it’s very runny. Due to the domed shape of the cake, it runs off a little. Still tastes good though.

Paper case removed – it looks a whole lot better.



Spicy and sweet. The tangy lemon icing is a nice contrast to the richer ginger flavour. The cake is spongy and light, but has a nice deep scent, and the apple adds texture.

Recipe cons:

It involves a lot of ingredients. Though that’s not totally a bad thing – I now have the equipment to make it again.

Recipe pros:

The flavours all work very well together. Plus, Golden Syrup. Huzzah!


Sultana and Lemon Scones

6 Jan

It was bound to go wrong sometime. Emboldened by my previous successes, I realised I already had all the ingredients to make scones. Who doesn’t love a good scone? Sweet, filling, and a conversation-starter (How do you pronounce it? /skoʊn/? /skɒn/?) The Americans call it a biscuit, but we won’t get into that here.

This recipe is taken from the Australian Women’s Weekly Complete Book of Cupcakes and Baking.


4 cups self-raising flour

2 tbsp icing sugar

60g butter

1/2 cup sultanas

2 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup water

Method (makes 20)

1. Preheat oven to 220 oC. Grease a baking tin, or cover with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift flour and sugar into a large bowl; rub in butter with fingertips

3. Add sultanas and lemon zest.

4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mix; add milk and water. Use knife to “cut” the milk and water through the flour, mixing to a soft, sticky dough. Knead dough on floured surface until smooth.

5. Press dough out to 2cm thickness. Dip 4.5cm round cutter in flour; cut as many rounds as you can from the dough, Place scones side by side in baking tin. Re-knead dough and repeat.

6. Brush tops with milk; bake for around 15 minutes or until scones are browned and sound hollow when tapped on the top with fingers.


I halved the recipe to make fewer scones.

This is my Mason Cash bowl. I love it. I picked it up in Sainsbury’s while on a bread-making-related supermarket-sweep, and it’s the perfect thing. The Lakeland website tells me it’s a classic. I saw the exact same one on the BBC adaptation of Nigel Slater’s autobiography, “Toast”. If it’s good enough for Nige…

I started this recipe before realising I didn’t have a biscuit cutter. But I was already too full of beans to stop. A cutter? Who needs it? I just pulled out my jigger. “A jigger?” you say. Yes, I reply with a knowing look. It’s a bartending tool used to measure spirits.

And look! As if the cake/cocktail (caketail?) gods were smiling down on me, the jigger was exactly the right size.

Sieving. And making the most of my camera’s delay-shot button. I’m going to pretend this worked on the first attempt, instead of the fifth or sixth. A word of warning when sieving icing sugar – powder goes everywhere. I looked like Lindsay Lohan by the time I’d finished.


Baldy lemon. After I tried to zest it. Using a cheese grater. For some reason, it reminds me of a partially-shaved cat.

The disaster-zone. Do not try this at home.

Having a ruler in the kitchen is proving invaluable today.

The jigger in action. It is a slightly flawed (and sticky) system. Besides, I thought this recipe was only supposed to make ten scones. There are hundreds coming out of this. I run out of space after using up two baking trays.

Hmm, they don’t look like much do they? So tiny. This can’t be right.

The recipe says to brush the tops of the scones with milk before putting them into the oven. This is my cooking paintbrush. Actually, it’s a regular paintbrush from a pound shop. Iit was part of a set I bought when Pete and I needed to varnish a table. I’m almost certain this isn’t dangerous to use as a cooking implement.

For some inexplicable reason, despite halving the recipe, and making over 20 teeny tiny scones, I’m left with this fist-sized amount of dough. For an equally inexplicable reason, I’ve chosen a pair of scissors to give you some idea of the scale. But what to do with this useless dough-fist?

Ahoy! Skull and bones… or Bull and Scones? That can’t just be a coincidence.

Fresh from the oven. They’re small but perfectly formed. Like cakes for children. Or cats.



Lovely. Crisp on the outside and soft in the middle. The lemon zest adds a certain lightness which counteracts the dough. They taste good even without butter and jam.

Recipe pros:

Easy to follow. I already had all the ingredients, and I like the idea of being able to make breakfast/an afternoon nibble in under 30 minutes.

Recipe cons:

I’m still confused about the vast number of scones I managed to make using half the ingredients. And why are they so small? On the plus It’s the recipe that keeps on giving.