I want to see your handwriting. I want to see whether it is joined up in fancy curls or written in no frills print. I want to know whether your letters tilt just slightly to the right or to the left and whether you always remember to dot your i's and cross your t's.
Mine is scrawled and messy, always hurried even when I am not in a hurry. I am a teacher's nightmare, a cross of joint writing and indeschiperable blur.
I think, like your favourite flavour of cake, you handwriting says a lot about you. I think that if you fancy this cake you like your life to be clean and simple, but aren't afraid to splurge on a little bit of luxury when you feel like you deserve it.
Adapted from a John Waites recipe
For the candied lemon - make the night before if possible
175g caster sugar
For the cake
125g margarine, softened
125 caster sugar
125g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
zest of 2 lemon
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
For the filling
200ml cream whipped to soft peaks
zest of lemon
150g icing sugar, sifted
1. For the candied lemon use a sharp knife or peeler to cut lengths of peel from the lemons. Use the knife to scrape off any white pith, but no need to be too fussy,
2. Place the lemon peel in a saucepan with 200ml of the water. Bring to the boil, then dump out the water. Add another 200ml of water, bring to the boil then drain and repeat one more time. You should have brought the mixture to the boil 3 times in total.
3. Place 100g of sugar and the 100ml of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lemon and simmer for 5 minutes.
4. Meanwhile place the remaining 75g sugar in a shallow bowl and have a sheet of greaseproof or non stick paper nearby. Drain the water off the lemon peel and then place the lemon peel in the bowl. Toss well so that the sugar sticks. Transfer to the greaseproof paper after knocking off excess sugar and leave to dry for a few hours. Overnight is best.
5. For the cake, beat the margarine and sugar together until pale. Add the lemon zest and beat on high for one minute. In a dry bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
6. Whisk the eggs in a cup very lightly. Add a good dash of egg with a heaped tablespoon of flour to the margarine mix and beat well. Repeat until all the egg is used up.
7. Fold in the remaining flour and baking powder. Finally gently fold in the lemon juice.
8. Grease and line 2 20 inch round cake tins. Divide the mix evenly between the tins and bake at 180oC for 18-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
9. Allow the cakes to cool completely. When completely cold cut the cakes horizontally to create four layers.
10. To make the icing beat the mascarpone until very soft and pliable. Add the lemon zest and beat for another minute. Sift over the icing sugar and beat well for 2 minutes. Fold in the cream gently with a big spoon.
11. Pipe or spoon the frosting onto the first layer of cake, building the layers and finishing with a layer of frosting on top and the candied lemon zest.