Is it possible to make a cake as I make most of the savoury dishes on this blog: by assembling ingredients according to general principles rather than precise recipes? That is what I asked myself yesterday, when I fancied making a lemon cake (sometimes one gets these particular urges), but could find only recipes that were more complicated than appealed, and that involved ingredients I did not have.
Butter, sugar, eggs, flour: these are the basic ingredients. So: I creamed 50g of butter and 50g of golden caster sugar. I beat in three eggs, and added the zest and juice of a lemon, as well as a tsp of vanilla essence. I have noticed that some lemon cake recipes include cornflour, so I added a few dstsps of that. Then I added self-raising flour, dstsp by dstsp, until I arrived at that gloopy, "dropping" consistency. I poured the mixture into a buttered loaf tin, and baked it for half an hour.
It wasn't bad. It had risen in the centre, and cracked; and the consistency was somewhat dense, though not unpleasantly so. Perhaps I should have separated the eggs, beat the whites, and folded them into the mixture. Or perhaps a spot of baking powder would have helped. The cake was not moist and sticky, as the best ones are (thanks often to lemon curd, I believe).
If things are not right with savoury dishes, I usually know why. But I don't understand baking nearly as well.