It’s been a while since I baked a cake. A good, rustic homemade style cake. That is to exclude all the cake baking that I did at my recent baking class at Tott Store, which was such great fun! Partly because the students got to learn all the fancy cake decorating techniques and brought home ( each one of them!) a decent sized black forest cake, as well as made fluffy brioche dough and some gorgeous madeleines, using The Cooking Doctor own range of mould!
In case you didn’t know, or have not been a reader for long, I occassionally conduct baking classes at least once a month. Pure fun, and also keeps me on my toes when it comes to baking professionally. This is my opportunity to meet the other aspiring bakers, the enthusiastic bunch, always keen to learn and always happy to sacrifice their weekend mornings baking. I only take weekend classes due to real job commitment ( and on calls!) . Together we would bake and no matter how diverse the group is for each session we would always end up closer at the end, all in the name of baking spirit.
But when I come home after those hours of teaching and baking, all I wanted do is bake some rustic cake for the family. Without any fancy schmancy sugary frostings. I recently discovered spelt flour, mostly I bought it for baking bread but with its unopened bag screaming my name from the dark pantry ( total exaggeration! And I am not hallucinating! ), I just had to bake. Not bread this time.
A spelt cake it should be. With lots of nuts.
But wait! I had brought home a lot of lemons back from the class, with all the zest and peels taken by the students for their madeleines. Surely those peeled naked lemons deserve better than the bin! Lemonade was on the agenda, but lemon drizzle cake sounded more enticing to my manic brain. Hence this gluten-free lemon drizzle pistachio spelt cake was born! Out of the whim, longing and the greater need to be better with my disposals.
The cake was shared with friends. A slice was kept for mom who savoured it few days later. It was still good thanks to fridge chilling. Even the fussy tot enjoyed her slice without much fuss! The highlight of this cake is the spelt flour, which gives the nutty edge to the cake, and surprisingly light. I had expected a heavier, dense cake so half way through baking I did the cardinal sin that no baker should do I skewer test the sponge! The beautifully risen cake plopped in front of my eyes within minutes….leaving the centre more sunken than earlier. The cake was too good that I still want to share the recipe, with a BIG tip to you. DO not prick it with a skewer. To check for doneness, the edge should be slightly shrunk, leaving some space from the baking pan edge. That is when you know it’s done, and it will be nicely golden too.
A little bit about spelt flour..
This is a flour choice which can be used for breads, pancakes or even cookies.. Do bear in mind that spelt still contains gluten, and it is a cereal whole grain in wheat family, so it is not gluten-free. It has lower calories and higher protein than wheat flour. With regards to this cake, the outcome was such a pleasant surprise as compared to regular all-purpose lemon drizzle sponge. The cake is light and fluffy, which mkes spelt a better substitute for all-purpose flour than whole wheat flour. I also noticed that spelt flour require more leavening than all purpose, so I have added slightly more baking powder than usual for the cake.
If you are new to spelt flour, I think this cake would be a great one to try out. I had so much fun styling the shot with Rekha, who is such a genius with her ideas. Thank you darling! When two bloggers meet, this is what we do, coffee time and shooting food are much sweeter with 2 heads than one.
p/s: In case you are curious, The Cooking Doctor silicone bakeware range is on sale as part of Great Singapore Sales. Limited to Singapore for the time being, more info please visit here.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 180g castor sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g spelt flour
- 2 tbsp milk
- ½ tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 55 g pistachio for topping
- Zest from 1 lemon
- For the lemon drizzle:
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 4 tbsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 180C,
- Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla, lemon zest and eggs, beat for few more minutes until the batter is well combined.
- Sift the spelt flour, baking powder and salt together.
- Add gradually to the batter, alternating with the milk until all is combined.
- Pour the batter to a greased and lined 8 inch baking pan.
- Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top appears golden brown.
- Whils tthe cake is baking, prepare the lemon syrup.
- Simmer the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is fully melted and the syrup thickens slightly.
- Once cake is out of the oven, drizzle the lemon syrup on top.
- Serve warm.