You can call this my “lemon addiction”. Since it’s lemon season here in Cyprus I decided to bake my favourite lemon cake and eat it almost by myself over a cup of tea. I was gathering my ingredients while humming Ed Sheeran’s “photograph”, when suddenly there I was, face-to-face with one of my worst nightmares: NO VANILLA EXTRACT! I remained quite calm, considering the seriousness of the situation, and then suddenly it hit me: Mastic! The unbelievable aroma and taste of mastic works so well with the lemon and almonds. Of course, you can use vanilla if you can’t get a hold of mastic but if you can, give it a try.
This cake is not overly sweet and it has the most amazing glaze. It’s almost invisible to the eye, since it has less confectioner’s sugar, than the usual quantity in a white, cake glaze. When it dries, it creates the most delicate coating which keeps the cake really moist and so, oh so lemony! Don’t even think of not using the glaze. It’s what makes this cake seriously addictive.
- 180 gr unsalted butter
- 1 cup + 2 Tbs sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 large mastic tears, crushed to a powder in a mortar and pestle with ½ tsp sugar (or use 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt, rounded
- 3/4 cup sour cream (195 grams)
- 1 ½ tbs lemon zest (one medium-large lemon)
- ½ cup almonds (80 grams), roughly chopped
For the glaze
- 1 cup icing sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 175C. Butter and flour a 23cm (9 inch) cake pan with a hole in the middle.
In a bowl of a stand mixer cream butter and sugar until creamy and “white”. While butter and sugar mix, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Set aside until needed.
Add eggs one at a time in the mixer bowl beating well after each addition. Mix in mastic or vanilla and zest. Add sour cream and beat until combined.
Add flour mixture and mix on low speed just until combined. Don’t overbeat. Add almonds and mix.
Pour cake into prepared pan (mixture will be fairly thick) and level the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 45 minutes.
Leave cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes while you prepare the glaze. In a bowl mix together the icing sugar and the lemon juice. Invert cake on a platter and brush all over with the glaze. Don’t worry too much if some of the glaze drips on the plate. Keep brushing until all the glaze is used. Leave the cake to cool completely before serving.