when life gives you lemons….
Everyone knows that old saying. Lemons are a good analogy for life’s challenges because in their natural, unadulterated state they are sour and unpleasant. The saying continues by instructing us to make lemonade — turning bitterness into sweetness, which on the face of it is a good thing. But the truth is, making lemonade isn’t everyone’s natural reaction.
Different people have different ways of dealing with the lemons that life throws. Some people chomp on the raw, unsweetened slices, wallowing masochistically in the sourness as a sign of toughness or self-pity. Some add lemon juice to hot water, knowing that it’s good for them in the long run but not enjoying the taste at the time. Some people ignore the lemons for so long that they go bad, and taste even worse than before. Some people add so much sugar to their lemons that the lemony flavour is lost entirely.
I know I’m guilty of all those things at times. But for me, lemonade isn’t right either; I find it — the standard shop-bought varieties, at least — far too sweet and artificial for my tastes. If I’m honest with myself, I don’t want my lemon sugar-coated. I don’t want to avoid bitterness only to end up with diabetes. I want to taste its tartness just enough to learn from it and grow from it and let its unique flavour shine through, but with enough natural sweetness to curb the sharp edges. And I want it to be in cake form, because that means I’ve chopped, grated, squeezed and cooked those lemons down to size. Plus, cake is cake and even bad cake (this isn’t bad cake) is still cake. And a slice of cake with a cup of tea is sometimes all it takes to make lemons that little bit more bearable.
- 2 cups ground almonds/almond meal
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup + 2 tbsps honey
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- zest of 2 lemons + juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (140 fan). Line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper and grease with butter or coconut oil.
- Throw all the ingredients except for the extra 2 tablespoons of honey and juice of the lemon into a food processor and pulse until totally combined. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 45 mins to an hour. It is best to cover with foil for the first 40 minutes of baking and then uncover for the last 10-15 to get an even bake.
- Once out of the oven, and still in the tin, stir together the lemon juice and 2 tbsps of lemon juice. Prick holes in the top of the cake and pour over the lemon and honey mixture so that it soaks through to the cake.
- Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and slicing.
Inspired by Cookie + Kate’s almond cake and Madeleine Shaw’s sticky toffee pudding from her cookbook Get the Glow.