Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Lemon, Elderflower and Mascarpone Cake

My blog's had a make-over! What do you think of Doodles and Daydreams new look? Personally I love it. It's a lot cleaner and hopefully more professional, plus I've organised my posts into different categories so it will be easier to navigate. I've still got some changes to make but we're getting there!

So it's officially autumn. With the pretty poor summer we had this year, I'm not really sure how I feel about the fact that any chance of hot sunny weather has pretty much disappeared now. I'm still yet to get into the autumn frame of mind, so here's a nice summery bake for you!
After the super indulgent chocolate and honeycomb birthday cake I made for Reiss a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to try something a little lighter. When I visited Halwyn's Tea Garden in Cornwall, I fell in love with their deliciously soft raspberry and elderflower cake, and have wanted to bake my own ever since. Knowing my mum's love of elderflower as well as lemon drizzle cake, I decided to grab the chance and combine the two, making her a lemon, elderflower and mascarpone cake for her birthday. It may be autumn but who can say no to these summery flavours?
Rather than adding my own usual twist, I decided to just follow this recipe as it is. Sometimes simplicity is best. Much to my relief it was actually incredibly easy to make and all went very smoothly. That is until it got to the baking part. I'm aware that my oven does get very hot, and I usually have to bake my cakes for a shorter time than stated in the recipe, however I really do think that 45 minutes in the oven is too long. I ended up cooking both batches separately due to a confusion with my tins, which may have contributed to the results due to the lack of heat distribution, but after around 35 minutes my first sponge was majorly overbaked, dangerously veering on the burnt side. For the second batch I turned the heat down to 170'C and left it in the oven for around 30 minutes, which came out a lot better. So my advice is, if you're going to follow the cooking instructions on the recipe, just make sure you keep a close eye on your cakes whilst they're in the oven! No-one likes a burnt cake.
I've never made mascarpone icing before, so I didn't really know what consistency it had to be, especially as I was beating it all by hand (no modern tech in this kitchen!). I think perhaps I could have made it a bit mousse-ier, but overall I was pretty pleased with the results. Plus is tasted DELICIOUS. Light, creamy, with a subtle hint of elderflower - yum! As with most recipes though, it made far too much, even with a generous layering on all sides. I also tried my best to do a smooth covering on the cake rather than my usual messy textured look, and although it wasn't quite as smooth as I would have liked, I was still pretty pleased with the outcome. I kept the decoration minimalist by just piling up some fake flowers on top - simple yet effective!

Overall, I was very pleased with how the cake turned out, even with slightly overcooked sponges and wonky layers. Mary Berry wouldn't be impressed. I also think I would put a little bit more elderflower in the sponge next time, as the lemon seemed to overwhelm it. But despite all that, it tasted amazing, with incredibly light yet zingy flavours, and, most importantly, my mum loved it.
Have you ever used elderflower in baking?

Love, Beth xxx