Monday, February 25, 2008

Lemon 10-shilling cake

Ever heard of this cake? No? Really? All you fantastic cooks out there, you’ve never made this cake? Not even heard of it? Really? How very strange…

Ok, not so strange. Because I made it up  The cake is just a pound cake with the ingredients halved because I could not bring myself to use four eggs in one cake. Plus the cake would have been wayyyy too large, even with the kids at home. So, I reduced all the ingredients by half – basically making a half-pound cake.

Then where did the “10 shilling” tag come from, you ask? Aha. Therein lies a very sad little play on words – mmmm... shall we say that I coined it? Ahahahaha!

Ok, here it comes. I’m guessing most of you know that before British pound went decimal in 1971, it was divided into twenty shillings and each shilling was divided into twelve pennies or pence. Although those divisions may seem odd, in fact having a pound divided into 240 equal parts does mean it can be exactly divided into halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, twelfths, fifteenths, sixteenths, twentieths, twenty-fourths, thirtieths, fortieths, forty-eightieths, sixtieths, eightieths, and one-hundred-and-twentieths. A decimal system allows precise division only into halves, quarters, fifths, tenths, twentieths, twenty-fifths, and fiftieths.

(If you math buffs want more of this sort of drivel, you can find the rest of it

Guesses about the origin of the coined title, anybody? No? (I'm assuming no. I Want To Explain. I Have To Explain. How Else Could Anybody Appreciate This Exquisite Sense of Humour and Play on Words?) Ok, here's the explanation. A pound is 20 shillings, or used to be. Half of a pound is 10 shillings. Half of a pound cake, therefore, becomes...? Yes! A 10-shilling cake! Ta-DAAAA!

This 10-shilling cake was lucky to have come out as lovely as it did because in a fit of absentmindedness, instead of adding the butter to the bowl containing sugar (prior to beating the two till light and creamy), I plopped the butter into the bowl in which the egss were waiting to be beaten. Oooops!

Well, in for a penny, in for a pound (or a half-pound, or even 10 shillings! ahahahaha!), so I just tipped the sugar into the egg-butter mixture and beat the resulting mixture to within an inch of its life. It must have learnt its lesson, because the cake was light and crumby and delightfully lemony. Sometimes mistakes CAN be sammaLichufied (Tanglish - Tamil English - for "managed" or "made good").

Recipe for:
Lemon 10-shilling cake


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2cups sifted flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
Juice of one lemon


1 cup icing sugar
Enough lemon juice to make thick or runny icing as per taste


1. Preheat oven to 170C. Spray a small (6") bundt pan with Pam, wipe off the excess, and set aside.

2. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with sugar and eggs vigorously, until the batter is light and frothy.

3. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.

4. Add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk and lemon juice, beginning and ending with flour.

5. Spoon batter into prepared pan and bake at 170C for 55-65 minutes until cake is lightly browned, set, and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

6. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto serving plate and cool completely.

7. Mix icing sugar with lemon juice, then drizzle over the warm cake.

Let cool to set.


Kalai said...

Beautiful cake! And your Tanglish has me laughing! My husband says things like,"narukkify" for cutting or nasukiky for crushing. *laugh* :))

evolvingtastes said...

hahahaha - laughing like annnything - what a great post. The cake looks superb too. Mmm.

DEEPA said...

I have never made cake from star..just bought the mix and prepared it ..Your looks great and yummy

Mansi Desai said...

looks like a pound cake, and I can bet its tasty, just like your post Shyam:)

Anonymous said...

I love this cake. I am going to try this for sure. Thank you for posting. I wish I have this cake now.


sra said...

Aargh - to the maths! Thank God for simplification! Your cake looks really, really scrumptious. I esp like that kind of icing!

Shella said...

The cake looks perfect, sooo white in the middle n perfect brown in the crust..... the story is great....

sowmya said...

you have "sammalichified "beautifully, because the cake looks really beautiful!!

Purnima said...

LOL!!! Great post, yummy cake!!!!!!

Saswati said...

hi shyam!! my first time here and i am laughing..very enjoyable post and the cake looks perfect:)

Shyam said...

Kalai: Oh, it's not just Tanglish, I speak Hinglish too :D

Evolvingtastes: Thank you :)

Deepa: It isnt that difficult to make a cake without a mix. Try it! :)

Mansi: It's a half-pound cake :D

Ramya: Do try the recipe.

Sra: I do too! :)

Shella: Thanks :) I was trying out my new bundt cake pan. It's cheap but works well!

Sowmya: Thank you, I actually thought so too :D

Purnima: Thank you, thank you!

Saswati: Thanks for visiting all the way from Russia :) And also for your kind comments!

Suganya said...

I can't keep a straight face while reading this. Were you? I should install a hidden camera in your house :D.

perspective said...

And such a yummy looking cake...
I am still trying to bring myself to bake something...just cant seem to decide what... :(

any ideas?
Hate to go around getting many a ingredients...but love ...just totally love a good brownie... :)

Anonymous said...

Suganya: Actually, when I'm writing a post I dont find it funny. I have to ignore the post for a couple of days and then when I get back to it, I think "Did I really write that? It's funny!" :) Strange or what.

Lav: I've got a looong list of cakes you can try... but y'know what, I havent done brownies! :D

- shyam

sra said...

Shyam, I've tagged you for a 7-weird things meme, do it if you like, I'm sure you'll have us ROFL!

Anonymous said...

LOL@ the prelude to the recipe. You're too funny!


kasturi said...

looks awesome.

Easy Shopping Tips said...


Suganya said...

Shyam, You already have one down for your 7 weird meme :D

Indian Girl said...

Hey there !! Thanks for the yummy recipe...yours looks super good. I tried came out gr8 too except I have never baked a cake from scratch before and have no clue how to do the frosting. As you said I just mixed sugar with lemon juice and poured it over my cake....unfortunately the syrup was sooooooo lemony sour , it ruined my yummy cake beneath :(
You got any suggestions to combat this ?
BTW I have to tell you, how much I love all your recipe...especially the cakes and all the different kinds of chutney !!!
Love Ya !!!!

shyam said...

Hi there Indian girl

You can reduce the lemon juice to 1-2 tsp for the glaze/icing, adding 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1-2 tsp melted butter to get the pouring consistency. Whisk the glaze well before pouring on the cake. Hope this helps. :)