I am a bookworm, well and truly. Ever since I picked up my first ‘proper’ book, Matilda by Roald Dahl (rather ironic I know!) I have loved books. I adore the escapism that reading provides; a good book can transport you from a dreary winter day in Northampton to a warm, sandy beach in Massachusetts where the breeze blows lightly and the sunlight shimmers across the ocean, or a bustling, noisy, chaotic city in the Far East which promises adventures and new experiences a plenty.
I adore cookbooks almost as much as fictional novels, poetry, plays or auto-biographies. I love the cool, silky pages of a new cookbook complete with mouth-watering photography and interesting information which promises to make you a better cook; I believe that turning the pages of a cookbook can also provide the same feelings of escapism and trigger a person’s imagination. I really cannot resist buying cookbooks, so much so that my shelves are bursting with them and I really do not have enough space for any more…..well maybe one or two more wouldn’t hurt!!!
As I have so many foodie books in my collection – from the informative ‘A History of Food’ by William Sitwell, to the baking bible every aspiring cook should possess ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson, the weird and wonderful in the form of ‘Heston Blumenthal at Home’ and recipe books picked up on my travels such as ‘Ambrosia; A Deep South Mixture of Home Recipes and History’ – a new cookbook really has to catch my eye to be added to my collection. A few weeks ago when browsing Amazon, Lorraine Pascale’s ‘A Lighter Way to Bake’ did just that, and I pre-ordered it immediately.
Low-fat cooking, on the whole, is relatively straight forward as oil and butter can fairly easily be excluded from the majority of recipes. Low-fat baking, on the other hand, is very tricky indeed and I have spent many a day in the kitchen fussing over a ‘lighter’ cake which is lacking in flavour, presentation, or both! I do not own any of Pascale’s other books however, I was familiar with many of her recipes so hoped that ‘A Lighter Way to Bake’ would not only provide healthier recipes, but ones that were simple and full of fresh flavours; it did not disappoint.
I absolutely love the combination of zesty, sweet lemons with the slightly bitter taste of blueberries that burst into your mouth so I knew I had to try Lorraine’s ‘Blueberry & Limoncello Drizzle Cake’ straight off the bat.
Lorraine Pascale’s Blueberry and Limoncello Drizzle Cake
125g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
100g Full-fat Greek Yogurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250g self-raising flour
4 egg whites
2 tsp baking powder
Half tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
50g icing sugar
2 tbsp. limoncello
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Grease and line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the caster sugar, butter and yogurt into a bowl and beat well until combined.
3. Add the whole eggs and half of the flour and continue to beat until all ingredients appear incorporated and the mixture looks smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until light and frothy. Gently fold the egg whites into the original mixture with the rest of the flour, baking powder, vanilla and lemon zest until smooth.
5. Finally, stir in half of the blueberries.
6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and arrange the remaining blueberries in a few lines across the top.
7. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until light brown and springy to the touch.
8. Whilst the cake is in the oven, mix together the icing sugar and limoncello until smooth.
9. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool. When you are ready to serve, drizzle the limoncello and icing mixture over the cake, allowing to drip down the sides.
Unfortunately, as I was not baking in my own home, I did not have any Limoncello but even with using simple lemon juice, this cake is utterly delicious. I also ended up using what I had to hand so used low-fat Greek yogurt and slightly less caster sugar than the recipe dictated. These substitutions were not detrimental to the taste and texture of the cake at all; it was impossible to tell that this cake was low in fat, it was so moist and bursting with lemon-ey flavour.
I would urge anyone to purchase ‘A Lighter Way to Bake’; it is packed full of simple, light recipes that are truly divine which you can enjoy almost entirely guilt-free! Not only does the cookbook contain cakes, it also features savoury recipes such as quiche and bread, as well as ideas for Christmas and tea-time treats. This book will definitely not be disappearing from my groaning shelves any time soon!