Recipe of the week

The award-winning food writer Eleanor Ford shows you how to give cakes and desserts a bit of extra zing

This cake has it all: sweet, sour, fluffy, sugar-crusted crunch and luxurious filling. And then the sponge! Sunshine gold to lift any mood. My secret is ground turmeric in the batter, which also serves to echo the slight bitterness of lemon, offsetting the sweetness, while a generously juicy drizzle brings intense tang. The idea for the lemon mascarpone centre came from Tonia George, in a magazine cutting I have held on to for 15 years. I will be forever grateful to her, as this might just be my favourite cake.
Serves 8

  • 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100ml lemon juice
  • 75g granulated sugar
  • 125g mascarpone
  • 125g tangy lemon curd

1. Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line them with baking paper.
2. Heat the oven to 190C/170C fan/ 375F. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter with the lemon zest and sugar until softened. Beat in all the remaining cake ingredients except the flour. Once the mixture is smooth, gently fold in the flour.
3. Divide the mixture between the two tins and level the surfaces. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are browned and springy.
4. Leaving the cakes in their tins, prick the surfaces all over with a cocktail stick. Mix the lemon juice and sugar together briefly, then drizzle the liquid slowly over the two cakes, saving all the undissolved sugar to spoon over the top cake. Once the liquid has sunk in, remove the cakes from their tins and cool on a rack.
5. For the filling, swirl the mascarpone and lemon curd together. When the cakes are completely cool, sandwich them together with the lemony mixture, putting the sugar-crusted cake on top.
It is best eaten on the day it is made, but will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Cardamom, lemon and ginger drizzle: substitute the turmeric and poppy seeds in the sponge with the ground seeds of five green cardamom pods. Sandwich the cakes with a slick of ginger marmalade and a larger quantity of lightly sweetened whipped cream.

A Whisper of Cardamom: Sweetly Spiced Recipes to Fall in Love With, by Eleanor Ford, is published by Murdoch Books, price £26

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