Lemon Velvet Squares

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Want something to brighten your cold, dreary, bleak February day? Well I have the solution for you, these citrussy little slices. They are lip puckering lemony and so light and velvety like the name implies.

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I love baking with lemons all the time but never more so when they are in season. I bought two massive nobbley lemons from the market and two seasonal oranges for these. The bigger the better I say!

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These fruits instantly make me think of long, hot summer days when the sun is high in the sky and not a cloud is to be seen. Funny how they are predominantly a winter fruit.

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This recipe is the third I’ve baked from Great Cakes – Carole Walter. The book is part of a baking group that I participate in each month called The Cake Slice Bakers. We are currently baking our way through this book and the way the group works is that we get given four recipes each month  that we could end up baking, we then vote on them and the winning one is the one we are to bake and reveal on the 20th of each month.

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These Lemon Velvet Bars is the winning recipe for February and is the one I voted for. I tweaked the recipe slightly to give it a little extra flavour. How did I do this? I added not one but two glazes on top! Yes two!!

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You may think that two glazes is a bit over the top but I promise you it’s not, it really adds that extra depth and an extra layer of flavour to these up-lifting bars. We’ll come back to this later, let’s talk about the cake first.

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The basic cake itself is wonderfully light and voluptuous. As I was spreading the batter into the baking tin I knew these little cakey bites were going to pillow-y light like a summer’s day candy floss cloud. The secret is in the mixing, get it right and your guaranteed an ethereal light cake but get it wrong and you will be in for a flat, structureless cake. No-body wants that!

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I’ll guide you through the cake preparation, it really couldn’t be any easier than the following. Start by adding softened butter and the zest of one lemon and an orange to the bowl of a food processor and mix for a couple of minutes to incorporate. Now slowly add your caster sugar a little at a time making sure the sugar gets mixed in properly before adding the next spoonful. Once all the sugar has been added don’t stop the mixer. Keep on mixing until you have a fluffy, light-colored mixture. This step is crucial in getting a nice light cakey slice. Lemon Velvet Squares 9

Next add your eggs, one at a time mixing well after each one has been added. Combine the juice of lemon and orange along with water and this will make up the liquid components. Cake flour makes these very light, sift this with baking powder and some salt. Now alternate the dry with the wet ingredients starting and ending the dry and make sure you don’t over mix the batter. Add soon as the dry ingredients have disappeared add the wet and vice versa. Scrape your full and voluptuous batter into your pre-paired cake tin and bake.
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Now we come to the glazes. As I mentioned before I topped this cake with not one but two glazes. These glazes aren’t complicated or time-consuming so don’t worry, they won’t take you forever to do. The first one is a simple syrup. My simple syrup consists of sugar, lemon juice and orange juice. Heat this all together over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. This gets brushed over your cake whilst it’s still warm.

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The second glaze gets drizzled over the cake when it’s cold. This glaze is really quick easy milk icing. Sift some icing sugar into a bowl and add lemon zest for a zingy kick, add a splash of lemon juice and some milk to make a thick, but pourable consistency. Now drizzle over the top of the cake. For an extra little dazzle I added some edible glitter in a nice spring yellow shade.

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These are so airy , it doesn’t feel like your eating a slice of cake, more like a cloud. My partner took these into work and everyone loved them, bake a batch today and let some citrus inspired warmth into your kitchen.

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Yields 24 Squares

Ingredients

{cake}

  • 270 grams (2 1/4 cups) Cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • 110 grams (1 stick) Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest and Juice of 1 Orange
  • 270 grams (1 1/3 cup) Caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs

{simple syrup-glaze one}

  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) Caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of Lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of Orange juice

{lemon icing – glaze two}

  • 90 grams (3/4 cup) Icing sugar
  • Zest 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • Milk, enough to make the icing pourable

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190C, 170C(fan), 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch cake tin and line the bottom with parchment paper, set to one side.
  2. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and add the salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food mixer with a paddle attachment set to medium speed, add the butter and both the lemon and orange zest and mix for two minutes to combine. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, making sure each spoonful is mixed thoroughly before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula as you go making sure everything gets incorporated. Once all the sugar has been added continue to mix until fluffy and light in colour.
  4.  Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition. Scrape down your bowl with your spatula.
  5. In a small jug mix together the water and the juice of your lemon and orange.
  6. With the on low add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until it just disappears. Add 1/2 of the liquid and mix until it just disappears too. Continue to do this until everything has been mixed together.
  7. Scrape your batter into your cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake come out clean.
  8. Once out of the oven, it’s time to make your first glaze. In a small pan set over a low heat add the sugar, lemon juice and orange juice. Heat whilst stirring until the sugar dissolves. Prick holes all over your cake using your cake tester and brush the simple syrup all over your cake. Leave to cool on a wire rack completely.
  9. Once the cake is cold it’s time to make your second glaze. Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl add the lemon zest and lemon juice then add enough milk to make the consistency thick yet pourable. Now drizzle all over your cake, sprinkle with the edible glitter if you wish too and slice into little squares.

If you want to see what the other bakers of the group produced then click the link below.


  Notes

* Recipe adapted from Great Cake – Carole Walter

* The edible glitter is completely optional, anyone who loves glitter won’t be able to resist.

* This cake will last for up to 3 days stored in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.

* Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

22 thoughts on “Lemon Velvet Squares

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