Tag Archives: dessert

Gâteau au Citron

May your apartment possess a powerful air conditioner; may your evening be filled with the best of company, and may your cakes be always light and lemony.
~ Molly Wizenberg, Orangette

Cakes have personalities. You get motherly carrot cakes; seductive chocolate and berry cakes; dreamlike chiffon cakes… you catch my drift? According to Molly Wizenberg (and I am sure others would agree), this type of [yoghurt] cake “is an old classic in France, the sort of humble treat that a grandmother would make”… I am inclined to nod and go one further – it’s the sort of humble treat that warm and beautiful grandmothers with good humour would make… also, it’s not a cake I’m prepared to wait till I am grandmother-age to bake and serve!

Like a few other recipes I’ve tried from Molly’s impressive repertoire, this cake is at once down to earth and beautiful. Nothing immediately fancy; patient, accommodating. Happy to be served alone, or adorned with fancy hats of berries/icing/whatever. Yet it’s timeless, classy – Coco Chanel in cake form.

I served it unadorned save a light brushing of lemon glaze and dusting of icing sugar. Oh, and yes, with cups of tea.

    Gâteau au Citron or French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon
    Recipe adapted from Orangette
    For the cake:
    1/2 cup Greek honey yoghurt
    1 cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    3 jars unbleached all-purpose flour
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp grated lemon zest
    1/2 cup light olive oil
    For the glaze:
    juice from 2 lemons
    1/4 cup icing sugar
    Preheat the oven to 176°C.
    In a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring until it comes together to form a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.
    Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.
    When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.
    Serve at any time of the day.

PS. See Molly’s quote above? I am happy to say that came true for me… I ate slices of this cake with friends in our house, and left the heater off. :-) A nice feeling indeed!

Rich simplicity is.

So last night, I got to use ELECTRIC BEATERS… woo! Sure beats having to whip those egg whites into shape by hand (which is what I used to do in my electric-beater-less kitchen in Wellington). I felt alive at the end.

Need a recipe for tiramisu?

Pain d’epices au chocolat

Words are the voice of the heart.
~ Confucius

I am now reading my 8th book since September. It amazes me, the world of books. You think you know how to speak and write reasonably well, and then you chance upon all these books that use the same words and punctuation marks as you know… and yet… paint a picture you never could have created, show a world entirely foreign to your own, hint at possibilities you never would have considered.

Lately, I’ve been reading poetry and prose that have left me gobsmacked, retreating rapidly along a sentence and reading it again. Or laughing at jokes which have somehow spanned four chapters, building on and rolling off each other, funny as hell!

I guess I’ve answered my own question as to why, in a world already swarming with books, there remain books to be written (so many worlds to discover, minds to read). Everyone who wants to write a book should probably write one.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading a marvellous book that’s had me giggling on the bus and smiling inside my stomach – David Lebovitz’s “The Sweet Life in Paris”. I can’t hope to write a decent review about it, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be rushing to your kitchen midway (perhaps multiple times, as I have)… and if you live in New Zealand, you’ll be pretty grateful for our more generous kitchen areas too. I think you’ll be struggling not to fall into an entirely different world while reading it, looking up in time to feel amazed that you are not in fact right next to David, drinking amazing hot chocolate or struggling to set up a bank account in France. David also has a fantastic website, which I have mentioned before in previous posts.

So, in short: read the book! Visit the website!

Two days ago, I decided to make pain d’epices au chocolat – chocolate spice bread – from his book (page 119). I did use a mixture of muscovado sugar and caster sugar, as well as substitute the anise seeds with unsifted chinese five spice powder, using what I had on hand. I can still label it as neither cake nor bread, but in this instance, it doesn’t matter – all you need to do is (1) cut it into wedges and share it with your friends, and (2) cut yourself a neat slice, open your mouth and eat! Sweet and dense, the chocolatey taste and soft texture of this is all-encompassing; the proportion of spices is just right to give it a warming twist – like a firm whisper, if I may put it that way.

(It is also very fun and simple to make – what a bonus!)

Oh, and this picture? I was proud of how pretty my sink looked then – what do you think? Heheh!