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Friday feeling: lemon cake

Categories: Friday feeling

A beautifully balanced cake that is anything but a lemon

“It’s a bit unfair to associate lemons with adversity and misfortune in life,” says Cornel of ION Patisserie—referring to our use of the words ‘lemon’ and ‘sour’ to describe everything from a defective item to a grumpy person. After all, she points out, “many people prefer its sour and refreshing taste to the sweetness and richness of other desserts.”

It’s about balance: in life, the balance between sunny optimism and a healthy degree of realism; in patisserie, between butter, sugar, eggs, flour and the potent lemon zest and juice—sourced, in ION’s case, from “our friend in the Market, Jock Stark, whose fruit is always top quality.”

This lemon cake is as classic a lemon cake as you can hope for. There are no frills, no fancy bits, no sophistication beyond a good job well done, says Cornell. “Lemon cake is an old cake—probably as old as Borough Market.” Needless to say, the exact origin of this damp, sticky kiss of a cake remains lost in the sherbet-y mists of time.

What makes Ion’s version exceptional is the quality of its ingredients: not just Jock’s large, sunny Mediterranean lemons, but free range eggs and high quality butter, both sourced from the British Isles. The result is a soft, tingling sensation of a cake, “activating one’s salivary glands as only lemons can,” Cornel continues—lemons in the finest and most literal sense of the meaning.