eat in my kitchen

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Tag: tea time cake

Elderflower Lime Cake

Elderflower Lime Cake

Whenever I ride around the city on my bike at the moment I feel wrapped in the sweetest smelling cloud of elderflower, black locust (acacia), and chestnut flowers. I don’t know if it’s me – maybe I’m more sensitive this year – but as soon as I open my kitchen window in the morning until I close it at night, I’m mesmerized by the smell of early summer.

A week ago, we went on one of our Saturday escapes to the countryside. This time we chose Beelitz, outside Berlin, to spend a day far from noise and distraction. I wrote about this area two years ago, it’s a picturesque village surrounded by fields and dense woods and it’s famous for Germany’s best asparagus (you can see the pictures here). Last time we went a little earlier, in May, the asparagus fields were still covered in foil (white asparagus grows in the dark), but now, in June, the scene looks completely different. What used to grow under ground is now a filigree green plant blowing in a gentle breeze. White asparagus season in the forest of Beelitz is over.

After our 2 hour bike ride through forest and fields we deserved a break and enjoyed tender asparagus with Hollandaise sauce at a secluded restaurant, called Landgasthof Rieben. We chatted with the owner and learned that you can only grow asparagus on the same field for 7 years, then it needs a break, also for 7 years. The magic number.

One of the flowers that smell most captivating right now, are elderflowers and their season is almost over too. I love to use their sticky syrup for refreshing Hugo cocktails (you find the recipe in the link for the syrup), or to make caramelized onions or chicken taste even sweeter. But using it for baked sweets, is one of the best ways to enjoy elderflower on a Sunday afternoon. I baked a simple loaf cake intensely flavoured with lime, pricked the surface, and poured a wonderfully fragrant syrup made of lime juice and elderflower over the warm cake. Sometimes, these simple cakes are the best!

Elderflower Lime Cake

 

Elderflower Lime Cake

Elderflower Lime Cake

Serves 4 to 6

For the cake

plain flour 210 g / 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
cornstarch 70 g / 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
baking powder 3 teaspoons
fine sea salt 1/4 teaspoon
butter, at room temperature, 180g / 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
granulated sugar 180g / 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons
organic eggs 3
freshly grated lime zest 2 tablespoons
freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons
buttermilk 90ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon

For the syrup

elderflower syrup 100ml / 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
freshly squeezed lime juice 3 tablespoons

For the topping

a few elderflowers (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160°C / 325°F (preferably convection setting). Butter a 23 x 10 cm / 9 x 4-inch loaf pan.

For the cake, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. In a second large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg before adding the next one, and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and creamy. Add the lime zest and juice and beat for 1 minute. With a wooden spoon, fold about 1/3 of the flour mixture gently into the batter, followed by 1/3 of the buttermilk. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, folding just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden on top. If you insert a skewer in the center of the cake, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.

For the syrup, in a small saucepan, bring the elderflower syrup and lime juice to the boil and cook for 1 minute over high heat.

Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer and slowly pour the elderflower-lime syrup over the top. Decorate with elderflowers just before serving.

Elderflower Lime Cake

 

Elderflower Lime Cake

 

elderflowerlimecake7

 

elderflowerlimecake9

Blackberry Garden Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

My mother’s garden is set in the soft green hills of the countryside, it’s surrounded by high bushes and trees, spruce, birch and pine. The lush lawn winds around a curved patch of rhododendron that leads to a little pond covered with the most majestic blossoms of water lilies gently laying on top of waxy leaves. This was once the home to a school of glowing goldfish which, sadly, was discovered by a grey heron one summer. It had all started with two fish which I gave my mother as a birthday present many years ago, they must have really liked each other as it wasn’t long before their population grew rapidly. We enjoyed them a lot, it was such a perfect picturesque garden scene. I used to sit next to the roses growing at the stone steps at the water looking at the bright red fish swimming through their kingdom. But nature had a different plan.

The beauty of this garden, its peace and vastness, makes it one of my favourite places in the world. To see my mother working in her vegetable garden which is spread out on a higher level, to watch her picking weeds and choosing our dinner, is such a beautiful picture that I will always carry with me. We discuss the meal and she often teaches me the plants’ names which I, unfortunately, tend to forget most of the time. And there’s one thing that makes a day out there complete to perfection, a simple, scrumptious garden cake! Nothing too extravagant, a pound cake is always best, with some fresh fruits (preferably from my mother’s garden) and a luscious frosting, like my blackberry cake with lemon mascarpone. It’s simple enough to eat it with your fingers while enjoying your garden on a sunny afternoon, but then there’s the creamy icing which gives it a Sunday tea time touch. It combines everything a good cake needs in my eyes, the recipe is based on my apple cinnamon breakfast cake but the dark fresh berries turn it into a proper summer cake.

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

 

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

For a 24cm x 10,5cm / 9.5″ x 4″  loaf tin you need

plain flour 130g / 1 cup / 4 1/2oz
cornstarch 30g / 1/4 cup /1oz
baking powder 1 heaped teaspoon
a pinch of salt
butter (at room temperature) 160g / 2/3 cups / 5 1/2oz
sugar 100g / 1/2 cup / 3 1/2oz
organic eggs 3
blackberries 250g / 9oz

For the lemon frosting

mascarpone 230g / 1 cup / 8oz
icing sugar 55g / 1/2 cup / 2oz
heavy cream 90ml / 1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon
lemon zest 3 teaspoons plus 1/2 teaspoon for the topping
lemon juice 3 teaspoons

Set the oven to 180°C / 355°F (fan assisted oven) and butter the loaf tin.

Whisk the ingredients for the frosting and adjust to taste and desired texture. Fill in a bowl and keep in the fridge. This is enough frosting to cover the cake on its top and sides.

Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt. Mix the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue mixing for a few minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy. Mix in the dry mixture until well combined. Pour half the dough into the buttered form and arrange a layer of 7-10 blackberries cut in half on top, if the berries are small you’ll need 14-20. Set the remaining berries aside. Pour the remaining dough on top of the berries, spread it out evenly and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden on top. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before you take it out of the tin and lay it on a wire rack. When it’s completely cool, spread the frosting voluptuously over the top (and sides if you like), garnish with a few berries and lemon zest and serve with the remaining fresh blackberries.

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

 

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

 

Blackberry Cake with Lemon Mascarpone

 

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