Thursday, May 20, 2021

Passionfruit and Lime Drizzle Cake

There's a slight irony in that I was looking for a cake to bake because I was seeing a very good friend inside for the first time in over a year, and found the recipe in Signe Johansen's 'Solo: The Joy of Cooking for One'. To be fair I'm not quite sure how a recipe that makes 12 muffins ends up in a solo cookbook because although this cake is so good that eating it all myself wouldn't be a particular hardship it's not a good habit to get into. 

It is at least a fairly modest sized cake, I don't think the muffins would be especially big ones, and it's adaptable. I used a 2lb to bake it in but that was on the large size, next time I make this I'll use a 1lb tin, or even a modest sized springform tin - the oven temperature is low enough to be forgiving, just keep an eye on the cake whilst it bakes and check it when it starts to look done.

It's also a reasonably quick and easy cake to make with a whole range of possibilities about it. I wanted something that used passionfruit because I live near a Marks & Spencer's where they sell really handy little packets of passionfruit insides for £1 - I'm not sure how many fruits the packet equates to, it says it's equal to 1 of your 5 a day, but it's also 90g in weight. It looks about the same amount I'd expect to scrape out of 3 or 4 fruits, so despite the air miles and the plastic these have become a favourite. 

When the weather is good, as it was this time last year, a mix of passion fruit and lime over ice and topped up with sparkling water is a really lovely long drink (add a dash of sugar, or sugar syrup if you want something a bit sweeter, but I like this really tart). The weather is not currently good, and iced drinks are not appealing when you come inside after a walk through a hail storm though so cake made more sense. 

The recipe I adapted from Solo is an adaptation of Felicity Cloake's Lemon Drizzle Cake in the Guardian. I'll be sticking closer to Johansen's version because it uses a bit less sugar. The only real change I made was to substitute a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt (didn't have any in my fridge) for a dessertspoon of milk. 

You want 175g of unsalted butter, softened, 150g of golden caster sugar, 1tsp Vanilla extract, a good pinch of finely ground salt, 3 eggs at room temperature, 125g of self raising flour, 50g of ground almonds, a little milk (or a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt), 3 ripe passionfruit (or handy sachet), the grated zest and juice of 2 limes, and 50g of demerara sugar.

If you have a stand mixer put the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract into the bowl and whisk it for a good 5 to 8 minutes so it gets really airy and light, then line your tin of choice, gather the other ingredients together, and pre heat the oven to 170 C/ Gas Mark 3. If you're using a hand mixer make sure all this stuff is done first. If you're mixing by hand you deserve every crumb of the cake that comes out the oven.

Add the eggs a bit at a time with a spoon of flour to try and stop the mix curdling. Fold in the rest of the flour, almonds, and the milk or yoghurt, put into your tin and then the oven. Muffins will take 15 to 20 minutes, a loaf cake more like 45 - 55 minutes.

Just before it's ready to come out mix the passion fruit and lime in a bowl along with the demerara sugar. When the cake is out of the oven stab it all over with a skewer and slowly pour this mix over it, giving it time to soak in nicely as you go along. 

What you get is a beautifully light and fluffy cake that would be smart enough for a pudding with crème fraiche on the side, or makes an excellent mid morning or tea time treat. If passionfruit and limes aren't available, lemon is obviously an excellent alternative, and if I ever have a spare Seville orange I'd use it for this too.

Signe suggests omitting the drizzle and adding fruit or spices to the batter, and for more information on that Solo is now out in paperback. It's a really useful book, full of Scandi inspired flavours and other nice things which are excellent for inspiring the solo cook - it's also a lot easier to scale recipes up than down, but most of these will make at least enough for 2 anyway so this is great for anybody who isn't cooking for a large family and wants grown up food that finds a happy balance between mostly healthy, occasionally indulgent, and always good.  

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