(Hot) Lemon (and Poppyseed) and Honey Mini Cakes

This is definitely cold season. Everyone (myself included) seems to have some sort of cold/sore throat/ cough or is just a bit generally run down.

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Everyone knows that the best (and probably only) way to truly combat a cold is a big mug of hot lemon and honey. Not only is it yummy and warm, but honey itself is also very good for soothing even the sorest of throats. There are also a whole host of other health benefits of drinking hot lemon and honey- it promotes weight loss, aids digestion and gives skin a healthy glow.

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These are the cake alternative. I wish I could say that they had as many health benefits as the liquid counterpart, but, alas, the amount of butter, sugar and flour in them probably cancels out any good that the honey and lemon might do.

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But they are yummy! So if you are feeling a bit under the weather- have one anyway, it will definitely perk you up. And maybe have a cup of hot lemon and honey on the side too…

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Lemon Poppyseed Cakes with Honey Icing

For the cakes:

225g butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs

225g self raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

6 tablespoons milk

zest and juice of 1 lemon

50g poppyseeds

Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Then stir in the milk, followed by the lemon juice and poppy seeds. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases or a greased muffin tray. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees celcius.

For the honey icing:

140g butter

280g icing sugar

about 2 teaspoons milk

about 4 teaspoons honey

Beat the butter and icing sugar together, then add the milk if needed to loosen the mixture. You don’t want it to be too runny so only add it if you think you need it! Then stir in the honey. Add more if you think it needs it, but use some caution- you don’t want a really sickly sweet icing!

I cut my cakes in half and sandwiched icing in the middle, or you could dollop it on top instead!

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Candied lemon to decorate (optional):

1 unwaxed lemon

about 1 cup of sugar

about 1 cup of water

(with both the sugar and the water, you don’t need to be very precise, so just use a normal size mug for these measurements- or don’t measure at all! You just need roughly the same amount of each.)

Boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has completely dissolved. Cut the lemon into thin slices, and put in the boiling sugar and water mixture. Simmer until the lemon pith has gone translucent and the whole thing is fairly soft.

Take the lemons out of the water and cover in some dry caster sugar, then leave, ideally overnight, to cool and harden completely before using. They will keep for about a week in an airtight container.

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xxR

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Blueberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Poppyseed Icing

One of the best things about going back to America is our visit to Maine. Our house is absolutely tiny- it was once a chicken coup that was bought over on a boat from an island. My father inherited it from his grandmother, and it’s certainly not without its quirks, but we love it. It’s tiny, there’s no wifi or phone signal so it’s a perfect break from the real world.

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We spend our time hiking and walking on beaches and swimming in quarries. It’s pretty idyllic.

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Up the road from our house is a wild blueberry baron, so blueberries feature pretty heavily in our Maine diet, from blueberry pancakes to cornbread to pie. The kitchen in our camp (‘camp’ in Maine terms refers to a small summer house, usually on the coast) is tiny and very old, and well stocked with things we inherited from my great grandmother. My dad swears that the spatula we have there is the best spatula in the world, wafer thin and perfectly pliable- the ideal utensil for blueberry pancake making.

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Wild blueberries are completely different to blueberries you buy- they’re much much smaller, for a start, but also much tastier. My great grandmother (who left us the house) was a Mainiac through and through, and she lived to the ripe old age of 95. She lived off a diet of fresh lobster and wild bluebs and we are quite sure that was the secret to her longevity, and she continued to hand pick blueberries herself right up until her death.

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This cake is a celebration of the blueberry. It’s maybe a tiny bit more refined than the usual baked goods we eat in Maine, but it’s all Maine in spirit.

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Blueberry Lemon Cake with Lemon Poppyseed Icing

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190g butter

190g caster sugar

190g plain flour

3 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

25ml plain yoghurt

blueberries

zest of 1 lemon

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Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure you beat well after each egg. Sift together the flour and baking powder, then fold into the mixture. Add the yoghurt, then fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.

Spoon into a greased and lined cake tin and bake at 170 degrees Celcius for about 1 hour.

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For the icing:

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140g butter

280g icing sugar

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

juice of 1 lemon

Beat together the butter and icing sugar until pale, then add the milk to loosen the mixture. Mix in the poppy seeds and lemon juice.

When the cake is baked and cooled, cut in half and spread the icing in the middle. Decorate with a few more blueberries on top, then eat immediately and dream of the Maine coast.

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xxR