Friday, 18 February 2011

Lemon cake and meeting our neighbours

It can be a difficult thing to meet your neighbours in this city. I always think that when you move in your neighbours bake you cakes and come over to introduce themselves and say 'Welcome' to the neighbourhood/the floor/the apartment block. In this crowded city I realise that we live pretty close with our neighbours. With one set of neighbours we share the cries of their baby through our wall, early in the morning and late at night too. To the other side, we share the TV with our elderly neighbours. They are hard-of-hearing so they turn up the TV rather loud.

To give them credit, they share our life too in a sense. Our big dinner parties on Tuesdays, our video nights with friends on Thursdays, our 'bricolage', handyman work which happened late Wednesday night last week to fix our bedroom curtains. We know each others' rhythms pretty well without knowing names. 

I decided to change that.
Our neighbours recently moved from apartment #3 to apartment #4. Just next door. Nice work. I baked them a cake to feed them and to meet them. We already know their baby's cry, thought it would be good to know their names too.

This cake is delicious. It's from Nigella Lawson. I'm sure she won't mind me sharing it with you. I didn't change anything - it's so good just like it is. You should make and take it to your neighbours if you don't know them. You might just make a friend, who can lend you some milk when you run out. Neighbours can be handy like that.

Nigella's Lemon and Almond Cake

225g butter
225g sugar
4 eggs
50g plain flour
225g ground almonds
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
,5 tsp almond essence (optional - I usually don't use it)

Preheat oven to 180°.
Line a 21-23cm cake tin with baking  paper.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each egg. 
Once incorporated, gently stir in the ground almonds. Then add the almond essence, if using, lemon zest and juice.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Bake for approx. 50mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out with only a few crumbs attached. 
Everyone's oven varies so you need to watch the cake towards the end. If your cake is becoming too golden on the top simply cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking until done. 
Turn it out of the cake tin to cool. 
Nigella suggests wrapping it in aluminum foil for a couple days to mature but I personally have never left it that long and it disappears with 48 hours usually.

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