I admit, it might be a little early to be thinking about Christmas; but the red cups at Starbucks have arrived, the John Lewis ad has been released… just waiting on the Coca Cola truck to roll on by and we’ve got a full house. Christmas is well and truly on the way folks. In fact as I sit here typing (in Starbucks enjoying one of their festive drink creations), a mother and daughter sitting next to me are discussing when they are going to get their Christmas tree. I’m glad it’s not only on my mind already.
Weeks have recently blurred together with a mixture of activities including weekly swimming lessons for Seb, a return for me to the gym and catching up with friends that have recently become mums.
Our husbands seem to think we cleverly timed all being on maternity leave at the same time with a group of university friends having babies within 8 weeks of each other this summer. If only it were true! I think we all just got very lucky which we obviously only discovered once we announced we were pregnant to each other early in 2014.
It’s meant maternity leave has been filled with lunches at each other’s houses or out and about causing kiddie chaos in the local restaurants. It’s definitely made those sleepless nights a little easier to handle when you can ‘whatsapp’ a friend at 3am to ask ‘why won’t they sleep now?!! Don’t they know when they’re teenagers we’ll be dragging them out of bed!”
Next week a university friend (who actually had her gorgeous little girl a couple of years ago) is hosting a lunch with the offer of a homemade soup which with this cold weather now here for the foreseeable future, sounded just perfect. I obviously put my hand up to bake a cake so that we weren’t totally virtuous and it gave me an excuse to bake when often I find it difficult to justify baking a whole cake for just me and Will. Although Will’s work colleagues might disagree as there have been complaints of a lack of leftover cake coming into the office on a Monday morning.
I’d been eyeing up the lemon streusel cake recipe from the ‘Topped with Cinnamon’ cookbook. In fact I’ve been regularly flicking through the cake and cookie section trying to decide which recipe I could try out next. I’ve always been a huge fan of a lemon cake, so I’m open to trying variations on it and Izy Hossack has been more than reliable in producing great tasting sweet and savoury dishes, of which many I’ve sampled so far.
I’ve had a bit of a thing for blueberries of late adding them to my morning Greek yoghurt, pancakes or porridge, so I had planned to adding them to my cake batter seeing as lemon and blueberries normally work well together. Plus I love the sourness of lemons and blueberries against a sweet sponge so I decided ‘why the hell not chuck a load in?!’ But then I totally forgot! I had them there sitting on the side and then forgot to sprinkle them in. Next time.
What can I say…I’ve totally fallen in love with this cake. It’s immensely tangy with layers of lemon shining through from the bottom layer of sponge, the kick of lemon curd in the middle and then more lemony sponge sitting on top. I was interested to see how the addition of oats might deliver on texture in the sponge and can only sing the praise of the humble oat. It delivers a bit more bite to the sponge and a lovely crunch to the top. And don’t forget of course, the addition of oats makes this totally acceptable to devour at breakfast.
This recipe has definitely been added to my favourites list and it’s a great twist on the usual simple lemon cakes you normally encounter. Definitely worth a try and with no unusual ingredients, you’re probably only an hour away from a little bit of lemon heaven. Go on, give it a go.
Triple lemon streusel cake
Taken from ‘Topped with Cinnamon’ cookbook
2 tbsp demerra sugar
30g plain flour
2 tbsp rolled oats
2 tbsp unsalted butter
110g unsalted butter
150g granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
150g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
60g rolled oats
75g cream cheese
4 tbsp lemon curd
100 g blueberries dusted in plain flour (optional)
70g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
For the topping
Get started with the topping ingredients by adding them all into a bowl. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you’ve got a crumbly texture – just how you would make an apple crumble topping for example. Set the bowl aside.
For the cake
Grease and line with baking paper a 20cm square cake tin – or as similar tin that you’ve already got in your cupboard.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Begin by melting your butter in a saucepan over a low heat or in the microwave if you prefer. If you’re using a saucepan, remove the butter from the heat.
Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and add the sugar, lemon zest and juice followed by the buttermilk and stir through. Beat your eggs in next and then stir through the flour, baking powder, salt and oats until well combined.
The oats will obviously prevent you from having a totally smooth batter, so don’t panic.
For the filling
In a new bowl, stir together your cream cheese, lemon curd. Don’t over stir it as you don’t want the cream cheese to become runny.
For the assembly
Spread a third of the batter into the prepared tin. You don’t have to be totally precise but make sure you’ve got a nice layer as this will be the base of your cake and you don’t want the filling just to sink straight through.
With the remaining 2/3 of batter left in the bowl stir through your flour-dusted blueberries (optional).
Spread your filling over the surface of your batter (base layer in the tin), careful not to disturb the base layer too much.
Cover the filling with your remaining batter and smooth it out evenly.
Next sprinkle your topping over the batter.
Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Finally combine your glaze ingredients and drizzle over the cake to your creative desires.
Best served with friends near by to enjoy it with.