I can’t believe it’s two months since I posted anything! My excuse is that we have been very busy. It’s not that I haven’t been baking, just that finding the time to blog about it has proved difficult.
We were back in the UK for a prolonged spell in June for the purposes of selling our house. When we downsized three years ago we anticipated spending most of our time in France. As it turns out we have spent more time in the UK than we expected and we’ve never really settled in the new house so we’ve decided to move – to upsize again. We don’t need a house as big as we had before but just a bit bigger. With a garage.
Getting your house ready for sale is a big job these days. I have to chuckle when I think of the differences between the French and the UK process. In France the agent turns up and takes the photos, just a few, and if your knickers are on the towel rail or the washing up is in the sink nobody bothers. Here in the UK you have to make the house look like a show house. It takes a Herculean effort to do all this and we did it during the heatwave in June!
The attitude of the agents we talked to varied. Interestingly they all came up with roughly the same valuation for the house which was encouraging, but one said we should go for the show home approach, even removing some small pieces of furniture, another said it was up to us and the third said that it wasn’t necessary because the potential buyers viewing the house should be able to see through all that.
In the end we went with the show house people. They sold our house last time and it sold in two days. Having done some house hunting ourselves, it’s sometimes hard to see past all the muck and junk and envisage the potential. Being intelligent people (I hope) you would think we could do that but without a doubt the houses we were most likely to consider were the neat and tidy ones.
Anyway, the house sold in four days and if you’re interested you can read all about it here. Unfortunately the sale has since fallen through because our buyer lost their buyer so it’s back to square one. We were not so lucky this time.
Whilst we were in the no man’s land of organising paperwork I had time to bake a cake. Nick is not fond of many cakes but he does like a ginger cake and I had a couple of lemons going spare so I made this lemon and ginger cake.
It was delicious with an excellent crumb. The recipe said to bake it in a loaf tin but I didn’t have one as big as stated so I used my Ikea tin and it was just right. Because of the shaping it didn’t seem appropriate to ice it. The flavour was more lemon cake than ginger cake and this is probably because the icing had quite a bit of ginger in it and of course I omitted it. So next time I would either use a different cake tin and ice it with the ginger icing, or put more ginger into the mixture. Either way, I will definitely be making it again. You can see the original recipe here. (It was better than the previous lemon and ginger cake I wrote about, which you can see here.)
200g golden caster sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
100ml double cream
200g plain flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground ginger
65g unsalted butter
4 tblsp lemon juice
For the icing
A few knobs fresh ginger*
150g icing sugar, sifted
1½ tblsp lemon juice
decorations of your choice
Melt the butter in a small pan or microwave and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 190°C / 170° fan / gas mk 5. Butter a 22cm (1.3 litre) loaf tin and line the base with baking paper. (Or use a suitable round cake tin of about 20cm dia.)
Using an electric whisk, whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl. Stir in the cream. Sift in the flour, baking powder and ginger and fold into the egg mixture. Stir in the melted butter and 3 tblsp of the lemon juice.
Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and done. (Mine was done in 40 mins.)
Remove from the tin to a wire rack and sprinkle over the remaining 1 tblsp lemon juice.
To make the icing, squeeze the juice from the knobs of ginger using a garlic press. Beat the ginger juice and lemon juice into enough of the icing sugar to get the roughly the consistency of double cream and pour over the cooled cake.
*I had never heard of this way of using fresh ginger before and think that instead I would probably use a tblsp or so of ginger syrup from a preserved ginger jar, as I always have that in the house but don’t always have any fresh ginger.
Cuts into 8-12 slices and keeps well in an air tight cake tin.