Monthly Archives: March 2012

When life hands you Lemons…make Lemon Cake!!!

Well Mrs TramP started her job down in London a couple of weeks ago and I’ve been job hunting (anyone got an Analyst job going in London?). Last week I felt like baking after a hectic week of interviews but having left work and being home alone I decided against making a cake or cakes that I would ultimately have to eat all of myself. Luckily Mrs TramP is back for the weekend so I can bake, eat most of what I make and pretend she had at least half. As this week has been seriously hot I decided to make something at least a bit summery, and wasn’t in the mood for chocolate (what am I saying).

Lemon cake it was, but which one? Searching through a few of my many many cook books it came down to a battle between the French Men. Michel Roux vs Raymond Blanc. Both recipes are very similar, the main difference being the glazing technique they each use. Michel Roux made two smaller cakes and Raymond Blanc just one, as I had the correct size tin for Raymond Blanc’s recipe I opted for that one. So lets get down to business….

Lemon Cake!!!

  • 5 Medium Eggs
  • 300g Caster Sugar
  • 140ml Double Cream
  • Zest of 3 Lemons Finely Grated
  • 25ml Dark Rum (finding miniatures in Manchester was a pain in the arse)
  • Pinch of Sea Salt
  • 80g Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 240g Plain Flour
  • 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 50g Apricot Jam, warmed
  • Zest of 1 Lemon Finely Grated
  • 3tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 150g Icing Sugar

This is another cake that needs the oven heated to 180°C. Grease and line a 26x9cm loaf tin and set aside until ready to fill.

Grab a big bowl, chuck in the eggs, sugar, cream, lemon zest, rum, salt and melted butter. Whisk that all up nicely then sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk it up again until lovely and smooth. Basically that’s it, wasn’t hard now was it. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin you prepared earlier, level out the top and bang in the oven for 50mins to an hour. Once cooked turn out onto a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. This is where Raymond and Michel differ the most in this recipe.

Michel had an extra shot of rum that he sprinkles over the cakes as they come out the oven and then lets them cool down. He bangs the oven up to 240°C. Heats the jam up and covers the top and sides and leaves for 5 mins. Then mixes the icing sugar and lemon juice (no zest)  in a bowl to form a smooth icing and spoons over the top, he then whacks the cakes in the oven for 20 seconds to set the glaze.

As I said I chose to make Raymond’s cake so carried on with his technique which is a bit different. After the cake has cooled for 10 minutes, brush the cake with the warm jam then leave for 5 minutes to set. Mix the lemon juice and zest with the icing sugar and warm on a low heat to 35°C until smooth. Brush the icing evenly over the cake and leave to set again for  a couple of minutes. Bang the cake back in the oven on a baking tray but turn the oven off and leave for 3-5 minutes to dry the glaze.

Take the cake out of the oven, allow to cool down before slicing and enjoy with a nice cup of tea (I don’t actually drink tea).


Edinburgh, Dogs, Pandas and Deer

Well last week I went on a little trip to Edinburgh, Mrs TramP was on a course for a couple of days so I arrived on Thursday night when she had finished.

I think I have said somewhere on here already that I had returned to alcoholism and I’ve gotten into “Craft Beer” (I hate the term “craft beer” as well as the term “real ale” but I think I will save that for another rant), so while in Edinburgh a trip to Brewdog was in order, well it would be rude not to. It was a bit smaller than I was expecting, the toilets are very small, for some reason I decided to go to the urinal that was set back in the wall, I could only just fit my shoulders in. It has a nice style in there, exposed brick, girders, old gym flooring on the walls, pallets turned into tables, and a couple of big leather couches. Where do you get those from on the cheap? I need one in my house. Mrs TramP doesn’t really drink beer and has tried most of the beers I’ve drank at home but they didn’t have any cider so it was a couple of Punk IPAs to start off with. Besides me being a fan of Brewdog I knew they did food so that’s the other reason we went in. The pizzas were pretty good, I had a hot one and Mrs TramP had one with a garlic base. There was so much beer to choose from and so little time. Mrs TramP went for a 1/3 of Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus which apparently has 200g of raspberries per litre, it wasn’t like any beer I’ve had before. So I went for a Prototype 17.6, Brewdog’s raspberry beer. I liked the original Prototype 17 which had a 77 Lager base, raspberries and aged in a whisky cask, I disliked the next Prototype 17 that had a Trashy Blonde base, hardly any raspberries worth mentioning and no cask ageing. Prototype 17.6 has the same Trashy Blonde base but much more raspberries, this was better than the other Trashy Blonde version but still not a patch on the 77 Lager base one. Oh well, I needed to try it, next up for me was a Libertine Porter, nothing extraordinary, supposed to be hoppy but I can’t remember at the time thinking it was, but still a very nice porter. Last up new Dogma. Now I’ve only had a tiny taste of Dogma from someone else who was drinking it and can’t really remember what it was like, this new version was like the Scotch Ale Prototype but not exactly the same, I’d certainly drink it again though. And that was it for Brewdog Edinburgh, Mrs TramP couldn’t drink any more raspberry beer, were as I could have stayed there all night. Oh, I think I forgot to mention, Mrs TramP said if anything ever happens to me she knows where to get another one from, referring to the bar man with long hair and a beard who may well have been separated from me at birth. Well my Dad did have a bike.

The next day was the main event, a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. We have been there once before and it is easily the best Zoo I have been to. We had a long walk down the road works where they are putting trams in before we caught a bus to the Zoo. Pandas were booked for eleven and we got there at ten to. For some reason they had let about 30 people in the group we were in but the next group only had about ten people in it. If you are going don’t book on the hour. First up was the inside enclosure where the male Panda was having a kip. After ten minutes of having an old woman barge in front of me to see the Panda and then repeatedly walk into me when I was stood in the middle where you couldn’t see anything it was off outside to see the female. People are such morons, the outside bit has a two level viewing platform. We had hanged back to let the pushy idiots go first and then when I got round no-one had gone up to the second level where you had a much better view. The male Panda is apparently a very large example and the female is very small, you can see why, the male was having a kip, the female was doing laps of her enclosure. After another ten minutes of Panda watching it was off to the rest of the Zoo. It didn’t disappoint. The thing about Edinburgh Zoo is that most if not all the animals are out and visible. A highlight was seeing the Black Jaguar getting released into his outdoor enclosure, having a little lick of a chunk of meat that had been left out for him and then picking up a huge log in his mouth like it was a tiny stick and moving it away from his bed. I was a bit disappointed that the honey badger wasn’t there anymore or the ring tailed lemurs, but that was my fault for not checking before hand as I had with the polar bear which I knew was gone. The Sun Bears were slightly depressing, one was inside walking up and down a log and the other was outside walking back and forth about two meters. We went past twice and they were still doing it. But there was a Red-Bellied Lemur Mrs TramP fell in love with when he kept grunting and following us.

We had decided to go out for a meal that night, I had done a little last minute Google search for restaurants in Edinburgh before I got on the train and managed to book a table at The Grain Store Restaurant. It was really good to be honest, bit pricey but good. I had Pigeon for starters, Mrs TramP had Foie Gras. Mains consisted of Venison and Pork then desserts of Chocolate Fondant and Tarte Tatin. I had an Armagnac to end, they didn’t seem to get what I meant when I asked them to put it in a warm glass but I couldn’t be bothered sending it back a second time. All in all it was a nice end to a nice trip to, after only two visits might be my favourite City.