Vanilla, Lemons, Apples and Spring.
It's officially spring, or at least on some days it feels like it is and with the days getting warmer and sunshine becoming more evident, I'm all for embracing the lighter, fruitier cakes. I seem to have fallen into a sort of rhythm of late, needing to break the mid-week monotony with some after-dinner baking.
I think, much to the chagrin of my housemates, I spend far too much time trying to decide on what to bake - often going through page after page of recipes online before settling on something. I did, however, find a simple, basic vanilla cake recipe which is brilliant as a starting point for a fruit-fueled cake.
Taken from Anela's Lemon Cake with Lemon Filling and Lemon Butter Frosting recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celcius and grease one 8 inch pan.
Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy before beating in the eggs one at a time and stiring in the vanilla.
Add flour mixture in alternately with milk, mixing until incorporated.
Pour batter into the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out completely clean.
I love fiddling around with the recipes I stumble upon - a little modification here and there and wait to see what happens.
Adding the juice and finely grated zest of one lemon gives you a bright, zesty dessert while the addition of one apple, chopped finely, and a dash of mixed spice gives you a warm, moist apple cake that goes perfectly with some cool custard. It's important to keep in mind however, that adding ingredients to the basic recipe does change its cooking time a little. For example, the denser apple cake would need about 50 minutes in the oven. Relying on the 'skewer test' (rather than just the timer) always works for me and if you're afraid that the top of the cake would brown just a tad too much, cover the top of the pan with some foil once you've achieve the desired shade of brown.