Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Lesson of the Lemon Cake

The most poignant lessons in life usually flow from our mistakes. Last night I searched for a recipe for a lemon cake, as a kind neighbor gave me quite a few lemons over the weekend. Unable to find a simple recipe for a homemade lemon cake in any of my numerous cookbooks, and feeling in an experimental mood, I turned to the internet.

I found a recipe for one Lemon Drizzle Cake that appeared in an apparently British magazine. I converted the grams to cups and even found a so-called substitute for self-rising flour (frequently used in British kitchens but less common in the states). Several different sources claimed that this substitute could be created by combining flour with baking powder and salt.

What happened? The cake looked about half the size of the picture I saw when it came out of the oven, and the bottom was markedly over crisped. Did I drizzle away with the lemon glaze and eat it anyway? Of course! I’m no quitter, especially when flour, sugar and butter have been combined and sit in front of me begging to be eaten.

What has this experience taught me? Either my baking powder is flat, or the substitute is incorrect, or British magazine food editors don’t know what they’re talking about. But I still have lemons if you have a recipe to share with me!

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