Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Sweet and Lemony

Last Christmas, I treated myself to a copy of Life is Sweet, the latest
cookbook from the popular Hummingbird Bakery in London. My
husband got me the first Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook a few years ago and it's become one of my favourites, along with Mary Berry's
Baking Bible. 

Life is Sweet is a collection of baking recipes all originating from America. It's the sort of baked goods their bakeries have become famous for and they're introducing us to more of these American style baking with this new book. I was initially amused to find a recipe for 7-Up Pound
Cake and Chocolate Bundt Cake that uses mayonnaise instead of oil or
butter but I also found them strangely familiar somehow. Then I remembered having cake flavoured with Merinda, an orange carbonated drink, and also Sprite when I was a child. I also recall an auntie making chocolate cake with a dollop of mayonnaise. So I now realize that some of the cakes from my childhood were American-influenced and this shouldn't really be so surprising as the Philippines was once an American colony. I just haven't thought much about it before.

 I'd like to make these cakes one of these days just to give my girls
 a little taste from my childhood. I'm planning to substitute 7-Up with Fanta for that orangey flavour from a long time ago. I'll tell you more once I've made them. For now, though,  I'd like to share a recipe for Lemon Crumb Squares from the book. It's a little less exotic but it's definitely very tasty and you might like to give it a try too.

 *Lemon Crumb Squares*

Pre-heat the oven to 175°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Line a 9x13 inch tin
with non-stick baking parchment.

To make the base and topping, sift together 180g plain flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp baking power in a bowl and set aside.

Using an electric mixer or whisk, cream together 115g unsalted butter (softened) and 200g soft dark brown sugar for around 5 minutes on
 a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add 90g rolled oats and
the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and mix until it resembles 

Press half of this mixture into the base of the prepared tin and set
the rest aside in a bowl.

To make the filling, whisk together 370 ml sweet condensed milk,
140 ml fresh lemon juice and the zest of one lemon.

To assemble, spread the filling evenly onto the pressed base.
Sprinkle the rest of the reserved topping gently over the filling.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping begins to go brown.
Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes then in the fridge for
at least 1 hour. Cut into squares. 

This was so easy to make, I'm looking forward to making them
again with the girls. It's got a nice, crumbly base, a soft and gooey
middle that is both sweet and lemony, and a golden, crunchy topping.
 Actually we think it's like a traybake version of cheesecake
 but much thinner and with a condensed milk-lemon juice-zest filling 
instead of cream cheese. It's really good, especially with a hot drink.
I can see this becoming another family favourite.

Before I go I'd like to say thanks for all your comments and well
 wishes for last Monday. It went okey. The morning school run was
more chaotic than usual due to road works and closures around
the school but we made it on time and the girls came home in the afternoon very tired but happy. As back-to-school/nursery days go,
it was all right.

 Thanks again. Hope you enjoy the rest of your week.


  1. Yum, that looks delicious. I've got the first Hummingbird Bakery book so I will definitely look in to getting this one.

  2. Yum. I love lemony flavours, will be giving this a whirl! Thank you for sharing Marion X

  3. I remember drinking Merinda when I was travelling in Tanzania. Isn't it nice to remember our personal history through food? The lemon slices look just like cheesecake. I bet they were nice. x

  4. Mmm, I'll be trying this too. I love citrus flavours in cakes and this looks delicious. What a very lovely blog you have Marion.

  5. The lemon squares look delicious! I remember 7up cake and chocolate cake made with mayonnaise. I haven't thought about those in years. Oh the memories they bring back. It would be fun to make them again.

  6. Ooooh they sound delicious I love things that have different textures in the layers.

  7. These look like the perfect thing to accompany a cup of tea.
    What a lovely book, something which rekindles happy thoughts of your childhood.
    Lisa x

  8. I love anything lemony, so I am sure that I would enjoy these!! xx

  9. I love the look of those bars so much. I have that book but I haven't baked anything from it for a while - I must get it down and have a look through it again. Although I am trying to lose weight, so I might just bookmark a few recipes for future baking sessions!

  10. I love anything lemony, so I am sure that I would enjoy these!