Friday, January 11, 2013

Treat me: Date and lemon cake

We have a little lemon tree
Nothing does it bear
Not a silver nutmeg, nor a golden pear
Our lovely neighbour Jacqui came to visit me
And said, if you want some of our lemons, do feel free!

Our neighbours have the most fantastic lemon tree across the fence and they are very generous with its fruit, which is just as well because our tiny specimen is taking a while to get going. I'm hoping we'll be able to reciprocate in due course. In the meantime, I'm planning to make them a cake that uses every last bit of the lemon except the pips.

Date And Lemon Cake

Date and lemon cake
When we were going through my mother's recipes this was the one I was most desperate to find. During my 'between food processors' phase I developed a terrible craving for this cake, because it's really hard to make without one. It's not impossible, but it's much easier with Mr Magimix or whoever doing the heavy lifting.
There's a chance this could be an Elisabeth Pedersen recipe, based on the newspaper font and age of the clipping, but in Mum's book it's just called 'Mary's Date and Lemon Cake'. Mary, wherever you are, I salute you. I've also rewritten your recipe to make it easier to follow and I'm making this my entry in January's citrus-themed Tea Time Treats, a bit o' blogging fun organised by Kate of What Kate Baked and Karen of Lavender and Lovage.

1 lemon, quartered, pips removed
1 cup dates, roughly chopped
100g soft butter
100g caster sugar
75g brown sugar
2 eggs
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sour cream

Heat the oven to 180C and grease and line a 24cm tin.
Put the dates and lemon in a food processor and whizz until they form a finely chopped mushy mass. Warning: this will be noisy. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
Sift the flour and baking soda together and set aside.
Put the butter and sugars into the processor and whizz until light and fluffy. With the motor running, crack an egg through the feed tube and whizz until well combined. Stop the machine, scrape down the sides, and repeat the procedure with the second egg. Add the sour cream in the same way, then add the date and lemon mixture. Lastly, add the sifted flour and baking soda and pulse until mixed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 35 minutes, until a skewer plunged into the middle comes out clean. Let it sit in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it out on a rack to cook. Ice with Lemon Sour Cream Icing (recipe follows).

Lemon sour cream icing
This is absolutely addictive. I've scaled back the original amount, but this is still enough for a generous coating (which is to say, you can eat a few spoonfuls and the cake won't suffer).

2 Tbsp soft butter
1 2/3 cups icing sugar
2 Tbsp sour cream
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon juice (or more, according to taste)

Put all icing ingredients in the (rinsed out) processor and whizz until smooth and fluffy.

Have a great weekend, everyone x

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  1. Mmmmm, lovely and I did enjoy the poem :)

  2. How fantastic, dates and lemons sweet and tart. A great cake and I always favour a sour cream icing, gives such a smooth finish :)

  3. This sounds delicious. I love all things lemon and combined with dates, well, divine. Mouth-watering cake swoon.

  4. This sounds excellent but not something I'd try without the processor. Making a mushy mass noisily is exactly my kind of baking.

  5. Lemon trees take a while to get going. Do you wee on it? It helps!

    1. A lot of people have suggested that, but given the facts that a) our lemon tree is in full view of some other neighbours and b) our strawberries are planted underneath, we haven't been particularly keen on trying!

  6. wow, what an amazing sounding cake (and icing). And what a wonderful neighbor you have!! i mostly have to buy lemons, so i am supremely envious of both of you.

  7. The landlords (who live above us) have a lemon AND a lime tree out back that always bear loads of fruit in summer. But they never use the fruit! Think perhaps its time I go 'foraging' again. :-)

  8. YAY! I can comment again after being banned by blogger! I LOVE this Lucy, it is MY kind of cake and I LOVE all citrus fruits in all cakes and bakes! THANKS for your LOVELY entry into Tea Time Treats! Karen


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