Do you ever put your cake in the oven with a heavy heart, certain that what you’ve made is a disaster, only to be pleasantly surprised when serving up?
Last week I was baking a cake for my hubby’s birthday. He’d requested lemon. “Great, I love lemon cake.” I thought to myself. However, it turned out things weren’t going to be as simple as I hoped.
- Problem #1: It’s the middle of summer here in New Zealand and lemons are ludicrously expensive. $9 for a bag from our budget chain supermarket, Pak ‘n’ Save? No thank you! I ended up stealing some from my parents’ fruit bowl. Mwah ha ha.
- Problem #2: It was going to be served to the rest of his family, including gluten-intolerant and coeliac in-laws.
- Problem #3: My darling doesn’t like nuts, so that ruled out the classic citrus and almond meal gluten-free option. Normally I wouldn’t pander to his silly nutty preferences (seriously, nuts = good!), but seeing as it was for his birthday, I thought I should probably oblige him this time.
So, after a brief google search, I found a promising looking recipe on Jamie Oliver’s website. Amazingly, I had xanthan gum, so I was feeling pretty positive. Until I encountered….
- Problem #4: We don’t seem to have golden caster sugar here in New Zealand. Our main sugar supplier (Chelsea Sugar) recommends making a substitution by pulsing raw sugar in a food processor until the grains are finer. Unfortunately my food processor is pretty pathetic, so this didn’t work overly well. End result: gritty sugar in my batter. Boo.
- Problem #5: While preparing my cake I realised that my baking powder contained gluten, so all these struggles were for nothing, they weren’t going to be able to eat the bloody thing anyway!!!
Anyway, I proceeded to make the cake and serve it up, and it turned out pretty well! I was pleasantly surprised. So much so, that I thought it was worth uploading…
Obviously, the minute amount of gluten was still a slight problem, but most of us could enjoy it. I made a few modifications. It didn’t need to be dairy-free, so I used butter instead of margarine. Also, I made more of an icing than a drizzle. To do so, I just kept combining icing sugar and juice until I got the consistency I wanted. I think it would have been about 200-250g of icing sugar.
Gluten-free Lemon and Orange Cake
- 300g butter (at room temperature)
- 300g gluten-free plain flour
- 300g golden caster sugar (or raw sugar pulsed in the food processor)
- 4 eggs
- 2 lemons (zest of 2, juice of 1)
- 1 orange (zest of 1, juice of 1/2)
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
- ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
- 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
- 1/2 orange (zest and juice)
- 200g icing sugar (or enough to make the icing to the consistency you desire)
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
- Prepare a square 20cm cake tin with baking paper on the base and greased sides, dusted with gluten-free flour.
- If you don’t have golden caster sugar, blitz raw sugar in a food processor to get the grains a bit finer.
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add zest and mix.
- Sift in flour, baking powder and xanthan gum, and fold together until just combined.
- Add the juice and combine until smooth.
- Pour into tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden and skewer comes out clean.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make icing, sift icing sugar into a bowl and add the zest. Add lemon and orange juice until you get the desired consistency. Pour over cooled cake and top with a little extra zest.