Lemon-nut cake with lemon curd

With summer really starting to kick in, we wanted to go for something on the fruity side, something light and with a little zest. As we couldn't find poppyseeds on our trip to the supermarket, we decided to use mixed nuts instead.

Adapted from the Times' lemon poppyseed cake and ANELA's lemon filling recipes.

For the cake:
100ml milk

150g butter
150g caster sugar
½tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs (60g), separated
150g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
Small pinch salt
1tsp mixed spice
1tbsp finely grated lemon zest
4 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup cornflakes
1/2 cup mixed nuts

For the lemon curd:
1 tsbp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsbp cornstarch
6 tsbp butter
1/2 cup white sugar
3 egg yolks, beaten

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Bring milk to boil and set aside to cool.
Blend nuts and cornflakes.
Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well.
Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, salt and mixed spice, then fold in the lemon zest, milk, nuts and cornflakes.
Beat the egg whites until peaky, and fold through the mixture.
Pour into a buttered and floured 20cm diameter high-sided cake tin and bake for 40 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Lemon curd
In a medium saucepan, mix lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, butter and sugar, bringing the mixture to boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
Beat egg yolks until smooth and whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture.
Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, reduce heat to low, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens but do not bring to boil.

Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools.
Cool to room temperature and refridgerate for 3 hours.

As with most things in this house, the oven is slightly finicky - the temperature markers have almost been entirely rubbed off and the oven tray is sandwiched precariously (and tilted) between two metal grills. Little quirks which we never paid attention too (if it works, it works, right?) until 10 minutes into baking time when a little peek revealed that the cake, aside from having turned a lovely golden brown, had also become extremely lopsided.

Project Symmetry. With the analytic enthusiasm of an actuary, and the surgical precision of well, a surgeon, we tackled the problem of the lopsided dome.

Oh, how we tried, only to finally resign to the fact that as would-be-actuaries, we're not exactly the most creative when it comes to sprucing up a cake. Then again, pretty or not, the cake was quickly snapped up - delicious warm and with a generous helping of lemon curd.

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