The dress I bought to wear to a black and white ball when I cruised from New York to Southampton with my Grandad. Cost £200. Worn once. Cost per wear = £200. Ridiculously extravagant but I can't bear to part with it on eBay even though I'll probably never fit into it again. I often buy random bits of clothing in the sale and wear them once as bad it was a bad fashion choice, before guiltily stuffing them into a charity bag. Again, extoritionate. But if I buy a modestly expensive work dress (say £75-£100) and wear it once a week for a year, that's quite a good deal, isn't it?
|Finished cake - note the zest, poppy seeds and sugar topping|
Why did I choose Dan Lepard yet again? Well last week the Divisional Financial Controller popped up next to my desk and practically begged me for cake. For once, I didn't have any and so in a show of sisterly solidarity in the testosterone-fuelled environment we inhabit, I promised I'd bake a cake especially for her this week and she could choose what I made. She picked lemon drizzle. Not normally a problem, as I made a really good lemon drizzle cake. But if I was going to blog about it, I'd have to find yet-another-lemon-cake-recipe as I have baked, and blogged about, several different lemon cakes over the past few weeks and thought I'd exhausted the options.
Not so. I hadn't thought to try one of Dan's recipes before. He offered up two - one is a lemon butter cake, containing condensed milk and the other a lemon and poppy seed cake. I hummed and haaahed for a while as I couldn't really get my head round the idea of seeds in a cake. I then thought about making it without seeds, but where was the adventure in that. Re-reading the blurb before the recipe, I was sold on the line that this "the sort (of cake) you dream you'll find in a corner sandwich bar but never (OK, rarely) do". I had to test this theory.
The batter contains a whole host of ingredients. Fragrant lemon zest, the usual suspects of butter, oil, sugar, eggs, flour and baking powder. The ubiquitous poppy seeds (which make the mixture look like it contains mashed dragon fruit) and oatmeal. That's right. Finely milled oatmeal. This apparently lends a slightly chewy texture to the finished bake. To me, chewy usually means something that will give you jaw ache. That couldn't be further from the truth of this lovely, slightly crumbly, butter-soft cake.
|Holy speckled cake batter, Batman!|
Of course, the husband likes cake but regular readers will know that a couple of my baking attempts have received scathing reviews from him (Mary Berry's Hokey Pokey Coffee Cake and Nigella's Chocolate Cake spring to mind) but this cake has rocketed to the top of the lemon cake league and apparently I'm now only allowed to make this cake for him and nothing else.
Whether Sarah will get a piece of cake tomorrow is anybody's guess. It's packed in tin ready to take to the office, but I have a feeling that there may be a few pieces less in the tin by the morning. The recipe is available online and I suggest you give this a go. The seeds just work as part of the whole and so long as you check your teeth in the mirror once you've finished munching, there is zero reason not to include them.
* TLA - Three Letter Acronym. I work in IT. We adore TLAs and management buzz words.