Saturday, October 19, 2013

Lemon Yoghurt Cake

An extra opportunity to Bake with Mary this month as I organised and hosted a baby shower for my good friend today.  I was pretty glad to turn the page from last time's Battenberg and discover that the next recipe was nothing more complex than Lemon Yoghurt Cake with a fairly basic icing topping.  Phew!  It's been an incredibly busy week here, so I was certainly grateful for a more gentle recipe from Mary.

However, there's no accounting for the unexpected disasterettes that can befall an inexperienced baker even if they are following a reputable recipe book.  It's my experience that recipe books rarely take into account the lack of basic knowledge and skills that some bakers are bringing to the mix.

For instance, just with this one recipe:
  • I had quite a stress in Tesco standing in front of the yoghurt fridge as I suddenly realised I wasn't sure whether fat-free yoghurt would be ok.  I know you can't get away with using low-fat spread instead of proper butter (or similar) because the cake needs fat, which obviously isn't in the fat-free stuff.  But is it the same with yoghurt?  In the end I did go with the fat-free yoghurt and the cake seemed to turn out ok so I'm guessing it doesn't matter!
  • I was supposed to whisk the egg whites separately to form stiff peaks and then fold them into the batter. Well, try as I might, I couldn't get those egg whites to foam up at all, despite some lengthy and intense whisking from both me and OB - they just lay there, all liquidy and runny, mocking me. I have since been told that this is probably because I didn't make sure the beaters were completely clean before I attacked the egg whites with them (I'm a pretty lazy baker so I just gave them a vague wipe when I'd finished using them on the batter and plopped them straight into the egg white).  The completely liquid egg whites were actually pretty difficult to blend in with the rest of the batter.  This whole thing probably explains why the cake didn't rise so much and was quite dense.  I like a dense cake, personally, but . . . .
  • The cake was supposed to bake for 60 - 75 minutes, until it was 'golden brown' and 'springy'. A fifteen-minute margin of error is way too much for me.  I had a look before we went upstairs to do OB's bath and it was nowhere near done.  When I came back down, in the warm light of the oven, it definitely looked golden brown.  Once I had it on the counter, in the cold light of the kitchen, it definitely looked what I'd call 'a bit burnt'. And the top was more crusty than springy.

Ah well, in the final analysis it was a pretty decent cake.  It tasted lemony (not burnt, thankfully!) and was moist, as promised by the recipe.  As I said, it was a bit dense, but I tend to prefer a good heavy cake so I was happy with that.  There wasn't much left at the end anyway, so that'll do for me.  And if nothing else was good about it, at least my Grandma's beautiful plate looked gorgeous!


Oh, and I did a few cupcakes as well, for good measure!



Disclaimer: Looking for baking tips?  I'm afraid you won't find them here - my efforts are definitely for amusement value only and oughtn't to be seen as something to be emulated :-)

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