March 10, 2011

Lemon cake with caramelized lemon peel and almonds

After succeeding with Tamami-san/Coco & Me's cheesecake recipe, I decided to try her famous lemon drizzle cake recipe. I'm a huge lemon fan but have had only mixed results with the other recipe that I've been using to date (the lemon syrup cake from Nigella Lawson's How to be a domestic goddess). (Tamami-san is also working on a Coco & Me cookbook so I am eagerly waiting its release since both recipes I have tried from her blog have turned out very well for me!)

Tamami's method is slightly unusual as it requires you to whisk the eggs and sugar into a foam in a simmering bain-marie (almost like making a sabayon), but it does result in a light but airy cake. I'm guessing that heating the eggs here has a similar effect as doing the "cooked dough" in choux pastry recipes - it forces the dough to rise due to the egg content and steam.

Recipe: Lemon Drizzle Cake from Tamami-san at Coco & Me.


Stick to the recipe.
The recipe looks a bit fussy and overly detailed (rather than my usual "mix dry ingredients; mix wet ingredients; combine both; bake) but it makes a HUGE difference in what comes out of your oven. You get a proper delicious cake made with care and love instead of something that's too mushy, too dry or too tasteless!

Scale the amounts to fit your pan.
I scaled the ingredients to fit a Japanese no. 5 / 15 cm / 6" round cake pan. I also had enough batter and icing left over for two "tester" cupcakes (shown above).

Line both the sides and bottom of the cake tin.
Instead of just lining the bottom of the tin and flouring the sides, I lined both the bottom and the sides of the tin (I had some pre-cut tin liners that I bought from the Jusco $10 store here in Hong Kong. Side note: Jusco is seriously my favourite baking accessories shop as they sell cheap cake liners, tins, chocolate moulds, ribbons, trays, decorative bags/boxes and more. I highly recommend it if you happen to live in Hong Kong.)

Almond powder/ground almonds?
I substituted ground almonds for almond powder with excellent results.

Use an electric hand mixer.
Instead of whisking by hand, I used the electric mixer to whisk the eggs. I started off with a manual whisk but my wrist quickly started to hurt. So, make sure you use the electric mixer!

Cut off the muffin top.
The only thing is that my cake was not flat (it had a muffin top) so instead of turning it upside down as instructed in Tamami's recipe, I just lopped off the top. I found that removing the top actually made it easier for the lemon syrup to penetrate and soak the cake. Being a greedy pig, I then ate the top with a bit of leftover lemon syrup - the cook's privilege! I now feel a bit sick from eating a giant piece of cake, but I don't regret it for a second! :)

Try different kinds of garnish.
Instead of using chopped-up pistachio and sugared lemon peel as a garnish, I used flaked almonds and browned/caramelized lemon peel. (To make the caramelized lemon peel, carefully cook the lemon peel strips in sugar water in a saucepan on low heat until it turns brown and sticky. Then remove from heat and add warm water to "shock" and melt the caramel syrup. You should strain the peel (which should be caramel brown) in a sieve to remove excess water and de-tangle the lemon peel strips.

This also works for cupcakes as well as regular cakes.
The cupcakes turned out pretty cute. I think I'll use this recipe for little cupcakes to bring to the office next time.

I am so pleased with this recipe, even though it's more complicated, I think this will replace the Nigella Lawson one that I've been using for the past couple of years.


  1. This looks delicious! I enjoy eating lemon cakes, always so light and yummy :).

  2. Thanks!

    I think actually the icing was a bit too sweet for my liking; but my boyfriend ate half of the cake by himself and said it was pretty good so I guess it might just be a matter of personal preference.

    I might make it with a whipped cream or cream cheese filling with less sugar next time, but over all I was pretty happy with how this cake turned out.