Tuesday, 6 May 2014
Lemon moon cake
American cops - or, more accurately, American cops in American movies - are renowned for their great love of doughnuts. The Danish police force, on the other hand, are synonymous with the more romantic-sounding lemon moon cake, or citronmåne. To be fair, it's a cake that's most readily available in long-life form on supermarket shelves, but even still, the flavours are a little more complex than deep-fried dough (much as I love a doughnut). It's citrussy and lightly sweet and in colour, pale gold, like the Scandinavian sun.
When I came to Copenhagen I wanted to learn how to cook something Danish. And one night, in Hellerup, in the cosy kitchen of a lovely Danish family, I was taught how to make this cake. Like a lot of Danish desserts and baked goods, it's made with marzipan, something I'd previously only associated with the icing on wedding cakes. Though you can get it in Australia, I tucked a small package of it in my suitcase to take home with me, just in case. Because I needed to have this cake again. It's that good. This recipe comes from the organic bakery chain emmerys, whose wares I sampled widely while I was in town. The quantity makes one large cake, which traditionally are cut in two to make half-moons, hence the name. Each half moon easily feeds six people, or (as the joke goes) one Danish policeman.
Lemon moon cake
Recipe adapted from the emmerys cookbook - Den Økologiske Bager by Nicolai Halken Skytte - as translated for me by the lovely Caroline
I made only a half quantity of the lemon paste and had enough left over for another two cakes at least.
180g raw sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of one lemon
80g lemon paste (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 170 deg C.
Blend marzipan and sugar well. Add the butter in small pieces. Add the eggs one by one and mix well. Sift the flour and baking powder in and turn the dough carefully. Finally, add the lemon paste and lemon zest. Bake for 40-45 minutes and let cool in tin for ten minutes or so before turning out onto a wire rack.
Once cool, frost top with icing sugar mixed with a little lemon juice and zest, if desired.
600g oranges or lemons
200g raw sugar
Wash the lemons and cut off the ends. Chop into pieces and blend in a food processor until mixture is relatively smooth. Place in a saucepan with the sugar and bring to a boil. Cook the paste for 15-30 minutes til it has the consistency of marmalade. Let cool before use.