Nonna Bianca's Lemon Cake

By Silvia Nacamulli, November 8, 2012
Photograph: Charles Taylor

Photograph: Charles Taylor

This is my favourite cake. It was a classic recipe of my late Italian grandmother. Part of its appeal is that it tastes great using both milk or parve — with white wine instead. The oil as an alternative to butter or margarine makes it moist. It is perfect for tea, breakfast or as a snack any time of the day. I also like to serve it as dessert with fresh strawberries and lemon or seasonal fruit.
Preparation time: 1 hour
Serves 8-10 as dessert

Butter or margarine to grease the baking tin
2 tbsp breadcrumbs or matzah meal to coat the baking tin
3 eggs
300g caster sugar
2 lemons, grated zest and juice (100 ml)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml of either white wine or milk
200ml of either sunflower, vegetable or corn oil
Pinch of salt
300g white flour (ideally 00 type)
1 tbsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Grease a 24 cm round spring-form tin lightly with butter or margarine. Cover the base with greaseproof paper.

Tip in the breadcrumbs or matzah meal and turn the tin to coat it thinly with them. Discard any crumbs or matzah meal that have not stuck.

Whisk the eggs and sugar with a hand whisk or ideally, an electric mixer.

Add the lemon zest and juice, the vanilla extract, the wine/milk, the oil and a pinch of salt and mix.

Sieve in the flour and the baking powder and gently fold to combine.

Pour the cake mixture into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes. A skewer or toothpick inserted should come out clean; if any wet batter remains, cook for 5 minutes longer and test again until done. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.

Last updated: 2:21pm, November 8 2012