Left to my own devices on a gloomy Sunday afternoon my attentions focus on baking, it’s also a welcomed distraction from doing my accounts!
Now, I’m not one for fancy cakes except for my Persian Orange Cake of course, I tend to opt for plain cakes such as this Lemon and Keralan Vanilla Drizzle Cake. So to brighten up my day I decided to make a lemon drizzle cake and as I’ve got an abundance of 1st grade Keralan vanilla beans, I couldn’t resist adding this spice to the mix. The results of which have been very satisfying.
So why vanilla pods from Kerala ?
Well when I visited a little while ago, I say a little while ago but my first encounter with Keralan Vanilla was while I was in Kerala 14 years ago. I thought the vanilla vines were most unusual just growing in gardens, certainly not the usual plant in the gardens of Wales, thats for sure. The memory has always stuck with me and so too my obsession for Kerala. Last year on one of my regular visits to the state, I was introduced to a spice merchant and somehow ended up returning home with 10 kilos of spice at no cost and 1/2 kilo Keralan vanilla pods at a ridiculously low cost. I was so struck but it’s quality, heady aroma and complexed flavour, I fell back in love with the spice that I had previously taken for granted using Madagascan varieties. I still have a fair bit of vanilla left and amazingly the pods are still sticky, plump, flexible pods with an intense in flavour and aroma.
Cooking time: 45-55 mins
For the cake
3 eggs, free range/organic
75g unsalted butter, melted
200gm vanilla caster sugar
75g plain full fat yoghurt
200g plain flour, sieved
1tsp baking powder
2 unwaxed lemons, juice and zest
1 Keralan vanilla pod, seeds
For the icing:
80g icing sugar, sieved
1/2 Keralan vanilla pod seeds
Preheat the oven to 160c if fan assisted, or 170c without a fan.
Grease and line a 1 pound loaf tin.
In a bowl add the lemon juice, sugar and vanilla seeds mix with a spoon to dissolve the sugar.
In a food mixer bowl add the eggs and whisk until a little fluffy, then add the sugar mix, melted butter and yoghurt, whisk again until combined.
Remove the bowl from the food processor and add the flour and baking powder, fold in gently with a metal spoon.
Pour the cake batter into the lined tin and cook in the oven for 45-55 minutes. Do the cake test with a skewer after 45 minutes, if it’s not clean, cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin
In a bowl combine the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice, mix until smooth.
After 10 minutes pour the icing over the cake, while it’s still in the tin.
Leave the cake to cool completely then remove from the tin.
If you would just like a lemon drizzle cake just leave out the vanilla.