There are recipes that are intrinsically American to me, chocolate chip cookies, Carrot Cakes, Muffins and now these Lemon Squares. I was always intrigued by Lemon Squares, the idea of something so sweet but at the same time with the sour tang of lemon juice seemed delicious. Reading about the not only the contrasting flavours but also the contrast in textures between the chewy edges and the almost lemon curd like centre and I was in.
I am always looking for recipes that will result in gluten free cakes that are moist and light, not dense, heavy and dry and these were beautiful. The stages of the bake were new to me, the shortcake base and the topping that was more of a custard than a batter resulted in something sweet, tart, chewy and moist, in flavor this was almost the cake equivalent of a Refreshers Lemon Chew, candy like and delicious.
I found this recipe when I fell down the rabbit hole that is Joy The Baker’s blog , one linked recipe led to an afternoon of reading through articles bookmarking recipe after recipe,while these weren’t gluten free there are gluten free recipes on the blog but celiac or not I would recommend this blog to everyone.
Joy the Baker Lemon Cake Bars adapted for Gluten Free
4 ounces of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of caster sugar
Zest of one lemon
3 tablespoons Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, this took three large lemons
Preheat oven to 180/ Gas4/ 350f.
Line and butter the base of sides of an 8×8 inch baking pan, I ran out of baking parchment and used tin foil instead, it worked well and may have made it easier to lift the baked lemon cake out of the baking pan.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat together, scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
- Beat on low speed until you have a sot dough, if it doesn’t come together in a smooth dough then use your hands to mould the dough in a ball.
- Press the dough in to the prepped baking pan, use the palm of your hand to press the dough evenly so the base is the same thickness over the base of the pan.
- Place on the centre rack of the preheated oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until just the base is browned around the edges. The base will looked bubbly and soft, don’t panic.
- Lemon topping
While the base is baking make the topping.
- In bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the batter has thickened and is pale.
- Add the flour, lemon juice, and zest and whisk until fully combined.
- Remove the baked base from the oven and let sit for five minutes then very gently spoon the topping over the baked base. The base will be very soft so if you pour all the batter over it will most likely split the base and settle on the bottom of the baking pan. Be gentle and patient and everything should be fine.
- Return the pan to the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and no longer jiggling in the center.This cake has an odd texture so it won’t feel completely firm to the touch.
- Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once cooled loosen the foil or parchment from the pan with a knife, then carefully lift the cake from the pan. Peel back the parchment or foil away from the sides of the cake. To peel the foil from the base I dusted a sheet of cling film with icing sugar and gently laid the cake on the cling film, then I could take my time peeling back the foil without worrying about the top sticking. I then used the cling film to flip the cake back on its base on to a cutting board. Slice the cake in to squares, I made my squares about 1.5 x1.5 inches.
Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and serve, the base and edges all be chewy and the top like a lemony baked custard, these are sweet and light and perfect served with tea or prossecco!
To store keep the slices in a airtight container and layer the slices with baking parchment so they don’t stick together.