14 September 2009



Not everything has to have a story. Some things are begotten, not created. This cake is somewhere in the middle. The flat that Tim and I currently live in used to be home to an ex-colleague of mine, from my program team at work. On the night of her farewell party, another colleague in the heat of the moment gave me two sample sachets of Barkers lemon curd. I don't know where she got them from or why they were bestowed upon me. She didn't say. We certainly haven't mentioned it since. Lemon curd is hardly an illicit substance, but I don't expect to have it conspiratorially pressed into my hand late at night and I could never quite figure out a way to bring it up again without sounding strange. Or at least stranger than usual.

The sachets sat undisturbed in my handbag for a while - a good month and a half after the farewell party of the person whose house we now live in. This is just how I roll. Things sit around forever. But while the sachets began to irritate me with their presence I couldn't quite work out what to do with them. It was around this time that another Wellington-based gal I know began a blog and posted a recipe for, of all things, lemon curd cake. I made it. I tasted it. Everything suddenly made sense.

Seriously, this is a really nice cake. Just thinking about it is making me wish people thrust preserves upon me more often of an evening. I have to be really frankly honest here - Barkers lemon curd isn't my first lemon curd of choice. I think there isn't anything nicer than homemade stuff, and Barkers can be a little too sweet and viscous. However it was absolutely perfect stirred into this cake batter. This might also be nice if the lemon curd was replaced with jam, or marmalade...

Lemon Curd Cake

Thanks to Olivia at Berry Bliss

  • 170g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 100g lemon curd
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add each egg one at a time, beating between additions. Add the zest and juice of the lemon. I didn't have a lemon on me but instead I added 2 teaspoons of Boyajian orange oil just for kicks. It added a subtle fragrant intensity to the finished cake. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and fold together. Add the lemon curd and mix. I mixed it in quited well but not completely incorporating it. Pop into a 22cm lined and floured cake tin and into the oven at 180ÂșC for about 1 hour or until a knife comes away clean.

I overcooked it slightly and was a little worried by the look of the brown exterior, but it was gloriously sunshine yellow within and still tasted fantastic. All cakey and tangy on the inside but with this sugary-chewy crust which was so good. I'll definitely be making this again.

Bonus cake!

It was Tim's birthday on Friday night and at his request I made him Nigella Lawson's chocolate Guinness cake. I suspect this cake has magical properties. Recipe here.

We went out for breakfast first thing the morning of his birthday (before I scooted to work) and I presented him with tickets for ex-Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. Who is not related to Joe Cocker, but they're both from Sheffield! That night we had dinner at Sweet Mother's Kitchen -(where the slab of cornbread comes with a slice of butter the same size - I'm home!) and played card games in the corner while eating pecan pie. Then we went to see The Soloist using some vouchers we had. It was pretty lovely - Jamie Foxx did a great job and Robert Downey Jr, my latter-day crush, is doing well for himself these days - although it did feel a bit heavy handed in places and a bit "trying really hard to be Oscar worthy". We then hung out all night at various classy bars and people watched (and on a Friday night, there were most definitely people putting on a show for the watchin') and finally came home at 4am. Easily the first time we've done so all year. It was an excellent night.

It's Mum's birthday today, (Feliz cumpleanos!) and I couriered up some of Nigella's gingerbread muffins for her afternoon tea party she was having yesterday. It's quite fun sending food through the mail, I felt like some benevolent far-off mother from What Katy Did or a jolly Enid Blyton novel.


The title of this post is brought to you by: Lynyrd Skynyrd's FREEBIRD. It's a beauty. For those of you who have been living inside a cockerel's boot, they also do Sweet Home Alabama. You know, that song from the Forrest Gump soundtrack.

On Shuffle Whilst I Type

Yellow House by Grizzly Bear. Ange came round and gave it to us to listen to, am liking what I hear but suspect I would be stupid not to.

Llewellyn from the album Straight Answer Machine by local bearded gem Samuel Flynn Scott and the B.O.P. Any song which includes lyrics about being "a custard pirate lost at sea" is clearly golden.

Diamond Dogs by Beck, from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. Obviously there's the David Bowie original which is fabulous, but this is quite the cover. Plus this soundtrack was my LIFE a few years back and that is not to be sneezed at. Is it bad that this is basically the only Timbaland-produced track that I like? (Yes, there is Come Around from M.I.A's Kala which is all well and good until his verse starts and it just gets awkward.) Well so be it.


Next time: I fail at gnocchi. I strain to remember ever making successful gnocchi. But still, at least once a year, I try it. This is me ticking the box for 2009.


  1. Love the title and totally missed the Free Bird pun (I'm embarrassed)thinking it was a pun on Free Rice or Free Flour....... duh!
    How times have changed when it's the daughter sending the mother food parcels and not the other way around.

  2. Yum, I love anything with lemon and that cake looks great. It has been a wonderful year for the lemon lovers among us and I have multitudes of home-made lemon honey in the fridge. Your mum, dad and bro came over for dinner tonight to celebrate her birthday. We had a lovely night. Maybe I will catch you next weekend when you are up this way

  3. Oooh, I've been on a big lemon curd kick lately (making about one batch a week - I may be going crazy) so this cake would be perfect! I was a bit perplexed at the idea of sample sachets of lemon curd... I had no idea such a thing existed (and I am having trouble picturing them in my mind!) Gorgeous though. And mmm SMK cornbread.

  4. I love food stuffs are pressed into my hand, conspiratorially or not. It looks like you've made good use of it. Also, that Guinness cake is perhaps my favourite NL recipe of all time.

  5. AHHH. My first linkage! *excited!*

    Glad you liked the cake, and you even used Barkers! OH home town.

    My flatmate makes lemon muffins and puts curd in it as a 'surprise'. Delish.

    I wanna make gnocci! But I"m very very scared.

  6. hey Laura, am back in comment mode, lol. Ha, I beat yr mother to get the title, got it the instant I read it, lol!!!. Sent bday msg to Tim via yr hotmail address and glad you both had a great day. Cakes all look lip smackingly good. Have made gnocci once - and I thought it was easy but prob recipe is back in a box in nz. Will scope the few books I have here. I particularly liked it - did a potatoe and fresh herb one and a pumpkin one - because the accompanied 'sauce' was melted butter and fresh herbs, need I say more. In fact I am thinking I may have cooked it more than once, lol. Am having butter flashbacks.

  7. PS. Sweet Home Alabama also theme song of film of the same name :).
    Have just heard the news re Patrick Swayze's death and feel a period of mourning coming on.

  8. Happy Birthday to everyone involved! I keep seeing this guiness cake everywhere... I am totally missing out :)

    Still think that the lemon cake looks great. I know it's weird that it's brown on top and yellow in the middle, but hey, taste is taste!

    And yup, when I read your post title I thought I was at a concert again... any concert in America, to be exact :)

  9. Mum: Oops. Also, yeah, I had fun sending you baking. Might have to do it more often!

    Viv: You should try this cake - it's very easy but tastes amazing! Hope to bump into you this weekend!

    Millie: I've never seen sachets like that either, I have no idea where they came from...Argh that cornbread I could live on it.

    Marc: Then you made a wise choice of NL favourite :)

    Livi: Woo! Glad to help out :) And thanks for the recipe :D

    Lynn: I think I remember making amazing pumpkin gnocchi with you one time at your place- have never been able to replicate it!!

    Adam: You should give the Guinness cake a go - it's amazing, and even better after a couple of days sitting round.

  10. Both those cakes look lovely Laura. The Guinness cake is one of my favourites and that pint glass of the black stuff looks rather inviting too ;)

  11. I really don't think lemon curd is at its best after being carried around in a handbag for weeks at a time. But that cake looks really good. And one day I will make the guinness cake.