Today is World Baking Day, a day to step out of your comfort zone and bake something that you have never baked before. In honour of today and its challenge I thought I'd share with you a twist on one of the easiest and most basic bakes I know and that I have (literally) made countless times. When guests arrive at Pilgrims Nook for their stay we usually greet them with a handmade wooden trug of Pilgrims Nook grown vegetables and homemade preserves (usually whatever is seasonal) but during the Winter months, or when there is as not as much fresh produce to go around we fill the trugs with baked goods. The two most popular treats with both us in the kitchen and our guests are the vanilla cupcakes from Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery (some weekends I thought I was going to get repetitive strain injury frosting those things!) or Mary Berry's Lemon Loaf Cake from her Ultimate Cake Book (the book I learnt to bake from, incidentally!)
While they were originally destined for (and some did indeed end up as) lemonade, when I took a picture on Instagram of how huge the local Fresno lemons I picked up at the farmers market were, every instantly said lemon cake to me. So, I emailed my mother for the recipe which she dutifully sent me (thank you Mummy!), but then I realised I was not going to get very far with it. While I may be a massive butter snob, as demonstrated in previous posts when I have explained countless times my love for unsalted French butter, I have learnt from Mary Berry that when making deliciously light sponge cakes, using margarine is actually the way forward. Problem is, you can't get Stork (the only brand I consider) margarine in America, and frankly some of the margarine type butter products in the American supermarkets scare the hell out of me. So, world baking day is about stepping out of your comfort zone, right? While I'm totally confident with cooking the cooking alchemy of changing around ingredients, it was time to start messing around with the cake batter to try and make our beloved lemon loaf, but in the form of cupcakes as light as if they were made with margarine, but only made with real butter. The resulting recipe makes 18 cupcakes.
Look at the size of this lemon, compared to your average British supermarket fare. I have not seen these so big since I was in Sorrento!
- 1 Lemon
- 60g (1/4 cup) Butter, softened
- 60g (1/4 cup) Greek Yogurt (I use Total 0%)
- 240g (1 cup) Plain Flour
- 120g (1/2 cup) Caster Sugar (Granulated if you are in the USA)
- 115g (4oz) Granulated Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 120ml (1/2 cup) Milk
Pre-heat the oven to 165 Celsius (325 Fahrenheit). Beat together the butter, yogurt and caster sugar until you have a smooth batter. Add the eggs and beat until smooth again. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and the zest of the lemon to the mixture and beat until combined. (You could do all this beating in a food processor if you wanted.) Add the milk and beat until everything is mixed together and smooth. Half fill 18 cupcake cases with batter and bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes, until you can stick a cake tester in and remove it with the metal stick still clean. You can get these for literally about £1 on Amazon, or just use a wooden toothpick. Remove from the oven and make a couple of holes in each cake. Mix together the granulated sugar and the juice of the lemon in a small bowl and drizzle about two teaspoons of the syrup over the top of each cupcake. Allow to cool, and enjoy!
While the resulting cupcakes are not as light as the Mary Berry loaf, the cake is a bit denser, they are not at all heavy as provide the perfect slightly sticky, slightly tangy afternoon treat. I hope you enjoy them and hopefully make them today if you have a lemon on hand! Just a side note though, while the original lemon loaf these inspired will last a couple of days (if it has not been eating right away, that is!), but these cupcakes are best eaten the day they are made. What other recipes are you trying for World Baking Day?