An Ode to my beautiful Mama with her favourite Lemon Cake on her birthday! ❤
My mother is my favourite person. I know I’m stating the obvious. But, it’s true. When I first stepped into Kindergarten at the age of 3, I cried buckets. Not because I was afraid of being bullied. But because somehow I knew that life would never be the same again, simply because I couldn’t spend every waking moment with my mama.
Years passed. School was still insufferable. The evening tea/coffee and mother-daughter chats were the highlights of my days. Somewhere between eating cutlet filling straight off my little palm, walking into the kitchen and gorging on tomatoes as mom chopped them and our long chats, she became my best friend.
It’s been a few years since we’ve been in the same country to celebrate my mum’s birthday. And though that’s the case this year too, we had a mini, pre-birthday celebration this past weekend, before she flew home. Needless to say, we celebrated her 50th with her absolute favourite, Lemon Cake!
I baked my first Lemon Cake years ago. I was inspired by Masterchef Australia’s Julia who whipped up a stunning Lemon Syrup Cake! But my first attempt bombed. The syrup was too sweet and the cake was drenched and soggy. While the rest of us at home had written off the Lemon Cake, mom fell in love with its flavour. She suggested that probably straying from the syrup cake route would help. So, I substituted the vanilla in my favourite Vanilla Cake recipe with Lemon Zest and Lemon Juice, and it was a hit!
I’ve experimented with lemons quite a bit! I particularly love the Lemon Blueberry Cake and the Citrus Raspberry Cake. But my mom is a no-frills, no-nonsense kind of person. (Probably what I admire most about her!) So when she asks for a Lemon Cake, it’s one without frosting/icing and without any additional fruit/flavour combinations. Just an elegant lemon sponge that can hold its own; one that is determined to take your breath away! 😀
Here’s what you need:
- Unsalted Butter – 150 g, at room temperature
- Caster Sugar – 140 g
- Eggs – 3, small
- All Purpose Flour – 150 g
- Baking Powder – 1 tsp
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- Juice of 1 Lemon, freshly squeezed
- Water – 1/2 cup, at room temperature
Here’s how you make this FAAAABulous Lemon Cake:
- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius/340 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a hand/stand mixer until creamy. Add in the eggs and blend until the mixture is fluffy, about 3 minutes. If the batter looks a tad bit separated at this stage, don’t worry. The addition of flour will help.
- Add in the flour and baking powder. Mix until well incorporated.
- Pour in the lemon juice and zest and beat for a minute.
- Add in the water, and using a spatula, slowly fold it into the batter to avoid any splashing. Then beat it with the mixer until the batter is light and airy; for 2-3 minutes. Avoid over-beating as it could end up deaerating the batter.
- Once your batter is ready, pour it into a greased and lined 8-inch round baking tin. Tap the filled cake tin on the counter a couple of times and then pop it into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes uncovered; then cover with parchment paper and bake for another 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- When the cake is baked through, take it out and leave to cool completely. Then grab a fork and DIG IN!
As the cake bakes away in the oven, your home will be filled with the wonderful aroma of citrus-y lemons, complemented by the sweet notes of butter. (I reckon the aroma is better than that of any air freshener!) And when it comes out of the oven, looking like sunshine and smelling like heaven, you just know you’re in for a treat! 🙂
This cake is just so moist, fragrant and flavourful that it really doesn’t need that extra something from frosting or syrup. It has a soft crumb, that is baked to that perfect stage of not-too-gooey-yet-breathtakingly-moist! The hit of lemon-y goodness lifts this cake up to a pedestal from where it looks down upon other cakes which require the flourishes of frosting, filling and sprinkles. Because, it really is THAT awesome! 😀
If your mama loves lemon-y desserts as much as mine, this is the perfect Lemon Cake to bake for her birthday. Or any day. Or today. Or NOW! 😛
To my darling mother, here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday! Thank you for making life so wonderful by just being by my side always. Just as I cried all those years ago in Kindergarten, every now and then a tear trickles down my cheek; I still wish I could spend every waking moment with you. ❤ I love you. ❤