It was the simplest of ideas. To meet of a summer’s evening, drink tea and eat cake.
Gisela, from Life is a Festival, who organised yesterday’s Dublin Tea Up, asked only that you bring yourself, your favourite mug and a baked contribution if you were so inclined (and yes, as you’ll see later, I was).
The result was an Irish teatime gone into overdrive – currant scones and butter, rhubarb tart, swiss roll, iced buns, treacly flapjacks and more. There was even a lady who, in true Mrs. Doyle style, would (go on, go on) offer you one of her baked treats (you will, you will) until such time as you took it (which I did, I did).
And there was tea, of course. A summer berry iced tea and some lovely loose leafed varieties dispensed by Dairine of Clement and Pekoe.
But more than cake and more than tea, there was chat (and even a tune or two). This was a diverse group of people from the arts, who, by and large, had not met before, except in the internet sense of the word. But it turns out that we had plenty to talk about over a cuppa (or several). It was the kind of gathering that, despite involving neither pubs nor alcohol, could actually catch on.
Lemon Cake With Redcurrants
This was one of my contributions to yesterday’s feast of tea and cake. It’s adapted from a recipe entitled Lemon Crusty Cake in Sue Lawrence’s lovely book, On Baking. I adore the original – tart, sweet and moist all at the same time – a zesty lemon cake drenched in a mixture of lemon juice and sugar as soon as it comes out of the oven.
For a different, but equally tart effect, I have replaced the lemon zest in the cake with redcurrants, which are enjoying their short but glorious season. Raspberries would be an equally good choice.
- 175g plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 150g unsalted butter
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tblsp cream
- 150g redcurrants, washed and stalks removed (or substitute raspberries)
- juice of 2 large lemons (about 100ml)
- 100g demerara sugar
You’ll also need:
- A shallow-ish rectangular baking tin, mine was about 27cm x 18cm x 4cm deep
- Preheat your oven to 180C, grease your tin and line with greaseproof paper.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- Cream the butter until very soft, then add the sugar and continue creaming until pale and smooth.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, folding in a spoonful of the flour after each addition.
- Fold in the rest of the flour and then gently stir in the cream and the redcurrants – the mixture will have a stiff dropping consistency.
- Bake for around 25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out fairly clean.
- While the cake is baking, combine the lemon juice and demerara sugar. Pour this mixture over the cake immediately it comes out of the oven. Allow to cool for about 30 minutes in the tin, then cut into squares and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. It’s very moist and lovely with a cup of tea or as a dessert served with yoghurt or sour cream.
- If you’re making this later in the year, it might be worth trying cranberries in place of the redcurrants or raspberries. You can also leave out the fruit if you like and just add the zest of a lemon to the cake mixture (which makes it very similar to the original recipe).
- Make approx 24 x 4cm-ish squares
These are the most gorgeous lemon cakes/bars I’ve ever seen. The vibrant colors are breathtaking and so tempting.
I got to try it first out of the oven and it was very yummy. Redcurrants were a lovely tart contrast to the sweetness of the topping.
Your lemon cake with redcurrants is so lovely! What a perfect treat to bring for tea and perfect, I’m sure, with that summer berry iced tea. I think StreetFeast sounds like a wonderful idea and will definitely keep it mind.
I had to look up Mrs. Doyle; after reading, I’m just glad you were denied neither tea nor more treats! 8-)
MMMMMMMMM,..this lovely cake with red curra,ts is looking so appetizing, my friend!!
Yummmmmmm,…each year, my mom makes about 25 to 30 little pots of red currant jam!!
Memoria: why thank you, I find it quite tempting myself :)
Ange: couldn’t agree more…
Tangled Noodle: ah, Mrs Doyle is practically an Irish institution – she captures some quintessentially Irish behaviour (when it comes to tea at least!) and would, I suspect, be an essential part of any properly Irish StreetFeast :D
Sophie: ah, love me some redcurrant jam too – just finished making my annual batch of redcurrant jelly yesterday (not quite as many as 25 to 30 pots, though :) )
lovely. my next lemon cake will be this one, as soon as the currents are ripe. patiently waiting.
Why is it by Friday, after a week of 300 calorie per meal, no caffeine, and weekend alcohol limits does that photo above want to send me running down my street screaming for FOOD like I see- I am making me some scones, New Jersey blueberry scones to appease hubby’s taste buds as well!
Thanks for coming along to DubTeaUp and for bringing along those super delicious cake creations! I was thinking the same re no alcohol, really didn’t look like anyone missed it. Looking into making the tea gathering a regular event…
Kristen: enjoy :)
Chef E: After the amount of baking (and eating) I’ve done this week, I feel like I could do with a week of 300 calorie, caffeine and alcohol-free meals myself!
Life is a Festival: thanks so much for organising – definitely think there would be takers for a regular tea event
What a beautiful cake! We are trying to grow blackcurrants and this would be an awesome way to use them if they produce this year.
Hey Phoo-D – would love to try this with blackcurrants myself, hope they come good for you this year!
What a wonderful gathering, and I can attest it is truly a special experience to meet the person behind the blog. This meet up sounds wonderful. I’ve been very bad lately, but would usually organize a monthly afternoon tea for a good group to gather and chat, so this special even has extra appeal to me.
Your cake looks amazingly inviting. I just love the flavor that lemon imparts to baked goods so I have no doubt that this is yummy beyond compare.
Love the street food idea. We have a Bay Area food bloggers group where we try to do the same thing and it is a lot of fun.
Wow this is one of the greatest cakes I’ve seen lately! I love such tart cakes – lemon pie is one of our family favourites, and this one with redcurrants sounds incredible! We don’t have redcurrants here yet, but I’d love to try your recipe when they’re in season.
OysterCulture: +1 for baked goods containing lemon (in fact, it feels like I’m putting lemon in just about everything these days!) and a big thumbs up for afternoon tea and street feasting :)
Alina: Thanks so much for dropping in – I’m so glad that you like the look of the cake! Hopefully you will get to try it out when redcurrants are in season with you.
Brought some of this into work today! A huge success… lot’s of people wanting the recipe!
Hey Margaret, that’s great to hear – just send them all my way! :)
I just stumbled across this recipe and had a go at making it…and I’m very glad I did!! Very moist, very tasy and the beautiful redcurrants make it look very appetising. Thank you! We have lots of redcurrants left, so I’m sure I’ll be making another cake :)
I just made a variation of this yesterday, which turned out really well! I transformed the ingredient amounts to US measurements (and adjusted based on what I had in the house!). Wanted to post a comment for anyone else who stumbles across this post seeking a recipe to use currants in.
1.5 cups plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup salted butter (which was really 7 tbs butter, 1/3 cup olive oil)
2/3 cup ultrafine sugar (normal white sugar that I ran through coffee grinder)
3 tblsp milk
currants (red & white — about a pint-ish)
bake at 350 for 40 minutes
When done, pour juice of 1 large lemon + lemon zest over it and let cool