About a week ago, a friend of mine shared a recipe from a site she follows on Facebook. It was for Lemon Brownies, and they looked delicious. I had never come across a Brownie recipe that wasn’t chocolate before – let’s be honest when you get as far as chocolate you don’t go out of your way to look much beyond it! The recipe was from an American site, but the measurements look easy enough, and so I decided to give it a go.
What can I say? They were awful! I followed the recipe exactly, with the only translation I needed to do being the oven temperature was in fahrenheit and I needed it in celsius, but other than that, I did what they told me. I used my faithful measuring cups – but I do think weighing things is far more accurate when baking, and mixed it as they told me. It was a beautiful looking batter that I put in my brownie tin – everyone should own a brownie tin, as its such a great size when you don’t need a huge baking sheet in the oven – mind was perfect from the day I got it, but that was because it was a freebie with some butter I bought! I baked it for exactly the time stated at the temperature they said. The recipe said don’t over cook or they will be dry, so after they had cooked for the specified time I removed them from the oven – I should have switched on common sense at this point and realised they could do with longer, but a new recipe needs following before tweaking. I poured over the glaze once the cake had cooled and set aside. When I went to cut them to serve, it was like going through treacle they were so sticky, but brownies are meant to be gooey. Then I bit into it to try it, and spat it back out as quickly. It was like eating a soggy bath sponge and what was worse was they weren’t really lemony enough! I asked everyone to try them and they opinion was the same, they were terrible! I threw them out for the birds this morning, and they are still sat in the garden, not even the seagulls have cleared them!!!
I wont be trying that recipe again! It is however a lesson learned – a mistake is only a failure if you don’t learn from it has long been a motto of mine, in that following a recipe exactly is all well and good but it can’t deter from years of experience!
I had promised the kids lemon cakes and they weren’t happy not to get it. I therefore had to look out my faithful recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake. This recipe has never failed me. It is great for a quick cake, as its great served warm or cold, its great as a pudding as works really well with custard, and it also holds up well enough to be a base of a birthday cake as its so moist. It’s also great for a change to make it with oranges or limes, or a combination of fruit!
175g caster sugar – or the alternative in sweetener
3 lemons – juice and zest
175 g self-raising flour
260g icing sugar – well sifted
Prepare your tin by lining it with greaseproof paper – this helps with the soaking after its baked. I use a 2lb loaf tin, but make it any shape you like!
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs and 2/3 of the lemon zest – I do mine really fine as the kids don’t like the pieces but if you like texture use a larger grating.
Fold in the flour.
Pour into the tin and bake at 180c for 35 minutes, until the cake is springy.
While the cake is cooking heat 2/3 of the lemon juice with 100g of icing sugar in a pan, and simmer for a couple of minutes to make a syrup. Allow to cool.
When the cake is cooked remove from pan and place on a cooling rack with a tray under it. Using a skewer or fork make lots of little holes all over the cake – but not too many you damage it, and carefully spoon the syrup over the cake allowing it to soak in – work carefully to make sure all of the cake gets some of the liquid. Allow to cool.
Remove the lining paper, and place cake on a serving plate.
Put the remaining icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Add water a tiny drop at a time until you get a runny – but not too runny, icing. Pour over the cake, allowing it to dribble down the side a little – no reason other than it looks really nice!
Decorate with leftover lemon zest.
While you can substitute the sugar in the cake for sweetener, you really need the sugar for the syrup and the icing, so this isn’t one for the diabetics or those watching their weight.
This is the recipe I will stick to in future as it always works, and it stopped my boys being grumpy creatures after my previous disaster.