How would you normally make a butter cake? Butter cake and pound cake are usually prepared by creaming softened butter and sugar together until they are fluffy and pale in color. If we were to use a simple recipe which consists of only fundamental ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs and flour, the next ingredients we should mix in would be the eggs. An important point to take note here is that, the eggs must be at room temperature and should not be cold. This is crucial to ensure that the eggs and butter mixture can be properly emulsified to form a smooth batter.
For the Weekend Citron Cake here, however, we are not going to start off by creaming butter and sugar. Instead, room temperature eggs and sugar are whipped to ribbon stage, followed by folding in the flour. The melted butter will be added last. At a glance, the steps look pretty similar to that of a Genoise sponge, but what sets them apart is the ratio of ingredients. Do you notice that the ratio of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour for a Weekend Cake is still more or less 1: 1: 1: 1? That’s why the cake is basically on a denser side, compared to Genoise sponge, and taste much buttery.
Some recipe might ask you to place the mixing bowl, with egg and sugar in it, on a hot water bath, and whisk the egg mixture to reach about 40 degrees Celsius. By doing so, the bubbles form really well and the batter is stable. Personally, at my home kitchen, I would skip this step. Eggs at room temperature and sugar will be beaten straight away without bringing them to 40 degrees Celsius. It would take slightly longer time to whip though. So, it is entirely up to you whether to heat it up first or not.
By making the Weekend Cake, I learned a new mixing technique for butter cake. It is equally soft, moist and fluffy. I trust that you will love this cake as much as I do. So, let’s get ready the ingredients and tools to make a French weekend cake now:
Ingredients: (yield: 1 loaf and 1 cupcake)
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon
- Sugar 80g
- Whole egg 110g (~2 no.)
- Honey 24g
- Cake flour 120g
- Baking powder 1 tsp
- Melted butter 100g
- Icing sugar 30g
- Lemon juice ~ 2 tsp
- Prepare a loaf pan, the size is about 17cm X 8cm X 5.5cm. Line the pan with baking paper. Preheat oven at 180 Celsius degrees.
- Get lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice from one lemon. Set aside for later use.
- Take 1 tablespoon of sugar from the total 80g sugar, and mix it with the lemon zest.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs together with sugar and honey, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Then, add in the lemon zest sugar and continue to beat to ribbon stage. (Ribbon stage: The batter should fall back to the bowl in thick trails. The ribbon lines will stay suspended on top of the batter, remaining clearly visible on the surface for a few moments before slowly disappearing.)
- Fold in the sifted cake flour and baking powder gently in 2 additions. Stop folding when no lumps or dry powder is visible to the eye.
- Take a few dollops of batter and add to the melted butter. Mix until they are well emulsified and well combined.
- Pour the butter mixture back to the bowl of batter. Fold gently and mix well.
- Transfer batter to loaf pan, and fill to about 80% full. Pour the remaining batter to a cupcake paper mould if there is extra batter.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180C for 20-25 minutes. Remove cake from loaf pan and let cool completely.
- Before serving, mix icing sugar with lemon juice into a smooth glaze. Pour icing glaze onto the cake as decoration. Slice and serve.