We have managed to rustle up a FEW presents while being quarantined and will try to get our hands on a few more. But this letter is about her CAKE!
A Dondie lemon cake. The most delicious cake ever with just a few whole and simple ingredients. And we’re making it EXTRA big (2 layers instead of one). For the large cake you will need 2 lemons (we are lucky to have Tamsin’s home grown lemons!!), 2 cups of sugar, 16 ounces of butter (that is 4 conventional sticks, we like to use salty), 8 eggs, vanilla, and 2 cups of flour. You need to make the flour self rising by adding 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup.
If you want to make just a single layer cake, split everything in half.
So, leave everything out on the counter for an hour before you bake so that everything is the same temperature. If you forget (I often do), you can put your butter in your back pockets (these Moussy jean pockets work perfectly. The slight stretch is invaluable.), and the eggs in your bra (8 eggs didn’t fit in my bra so once the butter was softened I also had to use my jeans pockets. Front and back. The Velma is perfect for this). It gets them to the right temperature quite effectively in about five minutes. You might as well turn the oven on now. To 350 F. Then zest your lemons on the small side of a box grater. Set that aside and save your lemons because you will need the juice later!
In a large mixing bowl, add your butter (it should be SOFT, not melted.) and sugar and mix mix MIX vigorously with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and creamy. The vigorous mixing can get quite hot which is why my shirt is tperfect. It is very thin with unobtrusive sleeves and extremely easy to remove. Then add the eggs, one or two at a time, mixing vigorously after each addition. (Now, this is where my batter looks like it splits sometimes. I just ignore it, it may be because my house is hot or my ingredients are not the same temperature. But it always seems to smooth out when the flour is added and the cakes are always DELICIOUS.) Then add the vanilla. I normally pour conservatively for about 4 seconds which may come out to about 2 or 3 teaspoons.
In a smaller bowl, add your two cups of flour and four teaspoons of baking powder and mix it well. Then slowly add the flour to your sugar mixture and mix it nicely. I like to continue using my wooden spoon because I find them to be very effective. At the end, add all of your lemon zest and the juice of one of your lemons and mix it in well. You should have a very smooth and delicious smelling pale cake batter. (Mine was NOT as smooth as I would have likes. I dont know why. But I ignored it and stuffed them into the oven as quickly as possible.)
You should have 2 cake tins. Grease them with butter or cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan. Split the mixture evenly between the two cake tins. Then put them in the oven! For about half an hour.
For the icing, I would use about 2 generous tablespoons of soft butter and then add as much confectioners sugar as you need and the juice of the other lemon. Mix until it is smooth and not too thick.
Let the cakes cool a bit and then ice them in a thin layer of icing. YUM!!