Friday, 12 August 2011

Hello festival/hello lemon, ricotta and poppy seed cake

Lemon, ricotta and poppy seed cake

Well, what can I say; it’s festival time here in Edinburgh again. The world’s largest arts festival is on my doorstep, literally, Boy don’t I know it. The price of a pint has doubled and walking down the road seems busier and more touristy than the face painting stall at Disney Land. The poncho brigade is out in force.

Despite all my dour negativity I am actually hugely excited about this year’s festival mainly owing to the fact that some of my very closest friends back in the city for a little while. It’s nice just to know they are about and not hundreds of miles away in different cities and countries. I feel so lucky to have such awesome pals. It is making me smile just thinking about them and the things we have planned over the next few weeks.

Another benefit of the festival is that in amongst the dross there are some real gem performances out there. Here is a list of the events I’m going to, my Edinburgh Festival 2011 recommendations if you will.

Ben Howard – folksy, finger picky guitar on communion records (08.08.11 – been and gone)

The Animals and Children Took to the Street – 1927 Theatre Company (19.08.11 – 28.08.11). Eerie animation come cabaret come awesomeness. Stylistically and thematically impressive. The guardian describes it as “restrained malevolent tastefulness”.

The World According to Bertie – Andy Jordan Productions (11.08.11 - 29.08.11). This play is adapted from an Alexander McCall Smith book. I know it is going to be amazing as it has one of my amazingly talented friends in it.

Sold – (12.08.11 – 29.08.11). Devised theater based around human trafficking. It is supported by and features the smart graduates from Central School of Speech and Drama where Laurence Olivier and Judy Dench studied.

Andy Parsons - (20.08.11-28.8.11) Comedian with a funny voice.

Part of living in Edinburgh is finding your self extremely popular during the month of August. We have been hosting A LOT this week and have wheeled this cake out on a couple of occasions. This is the best lemon and poppy seed cake recipe I have ever tried. Hand on heart. This cake is wonderfully light, rich but still tart.

Lemon, ricotta and poppy seed cake (adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days)

For the sponge -
190g caster sugar
190g butter, at room temperature
3 large eggs
190g plain flour plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 tbsp poppy seeds
zest of 2 lemons
25 ml milk
80g ricotta

For the lemony syrup –
juice of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

Preset the oven to 170 degrees C.
Grease a loaf tin with butter and dust with flour.

With an electric whisk cream the sugar and butter together for a few minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one.
In a separate bowl add the flour, salt and baking powder together.
Add a 1/3rd of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir in.
Add a further 1/3rd of the flour to the mixture and stir in.
Add in the milk and stir.
Add the remaining flour and into the mixture and stir.
Add in the zest and ricotta and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin and cook for about 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponge comes out clean.

While the cake is cooking you can get started on the lemony syrup.
Add the sugar, lemon juice and 100ml of water to a small pan.
On a medium heat bring to the boil and remove from the heat when the syrup has reduced by half.

When the cake is cooked, leave to stand for a good 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cook completely.
Add the syrup whilst the cake is still hot.



  1. Oh boy this looks good. What a beautiful photograph.
    I would love to visit Edinburgh! (Hopefully not be too touristy!!!)

    Enjoy the performances,

    xo Emily Lynne

  2. This cake look deliciously moist and light. I love Edinburgh during the festival - have only been once to see my brother in a show a few years ago, but hoping to go again soon!

  3. Like the sound of the ricotta and lemon combination. Love the atmosphere in Edinburgh during the festival. Events sounds great, hope you have fun!