In went the chicken, along with a deconstructed cauliflower, some carrots, leeks and parsley root. For good measure and herbal aroma there was dill and parsley and I even threw in some smoked ham.
As if this pot of comfort was not enough, when it was time for healing I made a simple form of knodels straight from the Shtetl; mixture of egg, flour, pepper and some grated Parmesan mixed together and plopped by the teaspoon into a saucepan of boiling water.
Whilst the process was a source of comfort, by the end of it the cold was there and so was the crave for comfort. Am I immune to the powers of chicken soup?
Luckily, a Saturday Tchulnt provided me with the consolation I was looking for.
It is my personal belief that anything that plans to show up next to Tchulnt has to keep light, tart and zesty. Dessert is no exception and since lemons are in season, I decided to make a lemon drizzle cake from a recipe I bookmarked long ago from Coco & me, a blog written by Tamami who runs a chocolates & cakes stall holder at London’s Broadway Market.
I modified it slightly, based on my preferences and what I had in my pantry.
The cake turned out chewy, zesty, and all round lemony, with a pleasantly fresh tart frosting. If I’m to be honest, it was quite difficult to stop sampling it, which is why I always prefer to leave my cakes at others’.
Lemon Drizzle Cake with Lemon Icing
(20cm spring form pan)
Zest grated from 1 lemon
1 Tsp sugar
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon unrefined sugar
A pinch of salt
½ cup sour cream (I used heavy cream)
4 Teaspoon squeezed lemon juice
1 2/3 cup plain flour
½ Tablespoon baking powder
100g Ghee (clarified unsalted butter)
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon + 1 teaspoon unrefined sugar
For the lemon syrup to drizzle:
3.5 tablespoons lemon juice
60g castor sugar
For the lemon icing:
7 teaspoons lemon juice
200g icing sugar
For the garnish:
Roughly chopped pecan nuts
Chopped dried orange peel
Line the bottom of the baking tin with baking paper.
Butter the baking tin sides then move around some flour in it so that it clings to the sides. Tap out excess flour and store the prepared tin in the refrigerator until needed.
Grate 1 large unwaxed lemon and mix it with a teaspoon of sugar (remember not to grate the bitter white pith). Set aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a large steel mixing bowl, loosely whisk the eggs, using an electric whisk.
Put the mixing bowl above a pot with simmering hot water (bain marie) and whisk the eggs with the sugar for 5 to 10 minutes until light cream in color, and thick in texture.
The egg mixture should look like it tripled in quantity.
Remove the bowl from the heat source.
Put together sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt in a separate bowl and then whisk it into the egg foam.
Sift the flour and baking powder and fold into the batter.
Warm the clarified butter to just above body temperature.
Take a little of the cake batter and mix it in to the butter dish. This will ensure that the butter mixes in evenly & quickly.
Fold it into the rest of the batter and make sure it is thoroughly folded Pour the batter in to the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is in the oven, make the lemon drizzle syrup. Heat castor sugar with lemon juice in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and melted completely.
When the cake is ready quickly de-mold it from the tin and turn upside down on an oven tray so that the bottom is now the top of the cake. This way, you have a leveled top surface perfect for the flat icing.
If the cake has risen too much you can also level the opposite surface using a sharp knife, ensuring a flat base.
Place the cake-tin wall back around the sponge, keeping the hot lemon syrup from spilling everywhere.
Skewer the sponge and spoon the hot syrup over it. Let it soak in to the hot sponge.
For the lemon-icing place the icing sugar in a small bowl and pour in the lemon juice. Stir to a paste.
Place the cake on a level surface and pour the white icing in the middle, all in one go letting some drip to the sides.
While the icing is still wet garnish the top with the orange peel and chopped pecans.
For an extra glossy icing put the cake back in a pre-heated oven (230 degrees) for under 1 minute.
Wait for the icing to harden and do not try to move the cake while the icing is soft, as it will crack the icing surface.