Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lemon cake with Greek wild thyme honey glaze and pistachios

Since last week, the weather has taken a turn for the worse and it seems that spring is playing hide and seek, which I don’t mind at all. I don’t know why, but I’m not eager for the cold weather to go away just yet.




I’m still in winter mode and the weather conspires in my favor with heavy rain, howling winds and skies that have the most beautiful shades of dark blue and grey. Staying inside, watching movies and cooking was the perfect way to spend the weekend.



A cake felt necessary somehow.




I have baked this one numerous times. It is so good. It’s irresistible, even for a chocoholic like me. It’s a lemon cake with a Greek wild thyme honey glaze and pistachios.


The cake has the full flavor and aroma of the citrus fruit, it’s very moist and buttery, with a soft and dense crumb yet still very light. The glaze has the sweetness and fragrance of the thyme honey and is creamy and smooth, with the chopped pistachios on top adding texture.


It is perfect as a light, low-profile dessert after a big meal, or served thinly sliced with a cup of tea or coffee.









Lemon cake with Greek wild thyme honey glaze and pistachios
Adapted from Patisserie made simple by Edd Kimber

I don’t usually mention it in my recipes, but whenever I use lemon zest, it is from organic, unwaxed lemons. Unless you have picked the lemons yourselves from your backyard lemon tree (I have many of those in my home in Greece – sigh!), then please use unwaxed.

If you don’t have or can’t get hold of lemon extract, grate the zest of one extra lemon.


Yield: 1 cake / 8-10 pieces

Ingredients

for the cake
115 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
250 g caster sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, grated
1 tsp lemon extract
4 large eggs
220 g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
125 g sour cream (or full-fat Greek yoghurt)

for the glaze
160 g icing sugar
75 ml (5 Tbsp) cream, full-fat (35%)
1 Tbsp Greek wild thyme honey (or a floral honey if you prefer)
Pinch of salt

A handful of shelled, unsalted pistachios, chopped

Special equipment: stand or hand-held mixer, jug, sieve, loaf pan (23 x 9 x 8 cm), baking paper


Preparation

for the cake
Butter the bottom and sides of your loaf pan with butter and line it with baking paper.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl), add the softened butter, the sugar, the lemon zest and lemon extract, and using the paddle attachment (or your hand-held mixer), beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, for about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs into a jug and beat them lightly with a fork. Add the beaten eggs to the bowl in four additions, beating well after each addition to fully combine them.


Sieve together in a separate bowl the flour and baking powder. Add half of it into the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add the sour cream (or yoghurt) and beat on medium until fully combined. Then add the rest of the sieved flour and baking powder into the bowl and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Don’t overmix the batter or the cake will be tough.

Empty the cake batter into your prepared loaf pan and straighten the top with a spatula or the back of a spoon.
Place the pan on the low rack of your oven and bake for 35 minutes. Then transfer it to the middle rack of the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.


Once ready, take the pan out of the oven and place it on a wire rack. After 15 minutes, remove the cake from the pan, lifting it up from the baking paper and allow it to cool completely on the rack.

for the glaze
In a medium-sized bowl add all the ingredients for the glaze and using a hand whisk, mix them well until you have a smooth glaze.


Take the cooled cake, remove the baking paper from the bottom and place it on the wire rack. Using a spoon or a spatula, glaze the cake and top with the chopped pistachios.

You can keep it at room temperature, covered, for 4-5 days.


19 comments:

  1. How can this cake know my name? I swear it was calling out for me ;-) Looks so good.

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  2. This looks delicious Magda! Love that glaze on top. I too am hoping that winter/spring lasts a little longer over here. It's raining on and off but I think in a few weeks the weather is going to change from winter right to summer as it normally does!

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    1. Thanks Christina! Yes, the same as in Greece. One day it's winter, the next it's summer. Hope it lasts a little longer here too though as the winter has been weirdly mild.

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  3. The cake looks lovely! I think it would taste as good with kumquat zest instead of lemon! May I ask where you got this gorgeous plate from? Love your blog!
    Chrysa

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    1. Hi Chrysa. Thanks! I got it from a second-hand store here in The Hague.

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  4. I lost sleep from the howling wind - it's been intense! We've been baking + movie-ing over here too. Looks like this could be a next weekend winner. Wonderful.

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    1. Yes! It's been crazy, but I like it. Hope you like the cake if you do make it Francesca. :)

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  5. Magda this is a beautiful cake. I particularly love the icing and the pistachios on top and the sound of the flavours together!

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  6. Beautiful photos and even more tasty recipes!

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  7. As a fellow chocoholic, I have to say that my preferred dessert is actually something lemony. This cake would be just the thing for me - and I think Mark would love it, too. It won't go with our new diet, but maybe for a weekend treat? Have a lovely weekend. I imagine you are in the throes of preparing for Easter next weekend - can't wait to hear what you will make!

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    1. Enjoy your Easter David. Ours is next week and I indeed have many things to prepare.:)

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  8. I made your lemon cake yesterday. Since I was making it for Easter, I increased the recipe to make 2 loaves plus (unsure of my math skills) a small cake to taste. It was wonderful with the perfect amount of lemon flavor. I am kicking myself because when I was last in Greece and visiting a monastery I almost bought their honey. Thinking that if anything would break open in my luggage it would be the honey, I bought some Holy Cards instead. So I'll have to use plain Texas honey in the glaze. :( Thank you for your blog. I really enjoy your writing and your recipes.

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    1. Hi Ren and thank you for your kind words! I'm so glad you enjoyed the cake. As for the honey, you could have brought some back wrapped in lots and lots of bubble wrap. That's what I always do :)

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  9. Hello Magda! I've been admiring your Instagram feed for many moons now and have finally followed the breadcrumbs to your blog here. I just adore it! First this cake looks divine and second your photos are simply luscious! Thanks for sharing. I look forward to dropping in regularly.

    Emily
    www.hungryinlove.com

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    1. Hi Emily! I'm glad you found your way here to my blog. Thanks!

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