But as usual, when faced with a theme I'm very familiar with, I said to myself, "Find a new recipe."
I leafed through my go-to baking books and found Lemon Walnut Tea Bread, looked at the ingredient list, added a lemon to my grocery list (can you believe I had walnuts lying around, begging for a purpose?) and, later in the day, started baking.
Notice how I said I didn't actually read the recipe? Because I didn't.
Despite being in the "Buns and Tea Breads" section of the cookbook, despite being loaf-shaped from baking in a loaf tin, it's a sponge cake. After all the struggle I went through with my failed petit fours I don't think I'm going to forget learning to make sponge cake.
My cookbook tricked me!
Lemon Walnut "Bread"
(adapted from Complete Baking)
- 4 oz (1 stick) butter, softened
- 3.5 oz sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature, separated
- grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 7.5 oz all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 fl oz (1/2 cup) milk
- 2 oz chopped walnuts
- 1/8 tsp salt
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix well, then add the lemon rind and juice.
In a small bowl, sift together the flour and the baking powder.
Blend the flour mixture into the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk (ie, flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.) Fold in the walnuts.
In yet another bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula (not the mixer!) fold the egg whites into the batter until the mixture is just uniformly blended.
Spread evenly in the prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.