My daughter is aged 14. She’s a mathematician by ability, and a baker by design. She relaxes by baking; when she first went to senior school, you could tell how stressed or happy she was by how often she came home and baked. That first term, I think we ate a thousand butterfly cakes and a whole realm of sponge cakes in various colours. She loves adding strange colours to her sponges, so at any time you may be eating a purple, blue, pink or green cake. Purple and pink are not that bad, but blue and green just looks wrong. Don’t ask.
This week’s recipe is one of her favourites, and one of the family’s favourites to eat when we have family-hygge in an evening. That’s when there’s a decent programme on that we all love, and we all sit together in the living room to watch. I’d love to be all Boden Mother-ish and tell you that screens are banned, but I’m more Matalan so they’re not. The boys will have their computers on their laps, doing homework, playing a game or watching videos, Sarah has her phone and (I blush) I will probably have something electrical going as well.
Top hygge programmes are anything period drama, like Victoria or our current favourite, Poldark. We used to love Downton Abbey and made an effort every Sunday to get the tray out, the teapot and cake and have Proper Afternoon tea (at 9pm!) while we watched and laughed our way through Lady Violet’s witty epithets and Carson’s problems. How we miss Downton.
Other top family-hygge TV for us is Doctor Who… sadly not on this year, except for the Christmas Day Special… and Great British Bake Off. This week’s cake will be made tonight for tomorrow, as we watch eagerly to see what week it is on GBBO. And The Apprentice makes for top family hygge, we love watching to see the teams be all lovely-dovey during and straight after the task, only to rip themselves apart after the result. You can’t beat a good argument for family hygge, especially when it’s not the family arguing!
I have to use her recipe; it’s simply one of the best and easiest around. Click on the title to go to the website recipe, or follow it on down here.
- 225g (8 oz) butter , softened
- 225g (8 oz) caster sugar
- 275g (10 oz) self-raising flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons milk
- finely grated rind of 2 lemons
- 175g (6 oz) granulated sugar
- juice of 2 lemons
You will need a traybake tray or roasting tin approximately 30cm by 23cm
Cut a rectangle of non-stick baking parchment to fit the base and sides of a traybake tin or roasting tin, 30 x 23 x 4 cm (12 x 9 x 1 ½ inches). Grease the tin and then line with the paper, pushing it neatly into the corners of the tin. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas 3.
Measure all the ingredients for the traybake into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until well blended, an electric mixer is best for this but of course you can also beat by hand with a wooden spoon. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin, scraping the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula to remove all of the mixture. Level the top gently with the back of the spatula.
Bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the traybake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger in the centre and is beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
Allow the traybake to cool in the tin for a few minutes then lift the traybake out of the tin still in the lining paper. Carefully remove the paper and put the traybake onto a wire rack placed over a tray (to catch drips of the topping).
To make the crunchy topping, mix the lemon juice and granulated sugar in a small bowl to give a runny consistency. Spoon this mixture evenly over the traybake whilst it is still just warm. Cut into roughly even squares when cold.