I’m not a pastry chef but when I have the time, I love to work with my head pastry chef, Anthony, in the restaurant. We have tried all sorts of desserts, but I wanted to do a cake with chili, lemon, flecks of fresh chili and a chili confit that I just knew would work. So, here it is… lemon is a classic flavoring for cake, but the chili is the icing on the cake, so to speak! Make sure you soak the cake while it’s still warm so it absorbs the syrup. This makes a fabulous dessert, but you can also enjoy a slice with a cup of tea.
– PREPARATION TIME 25 minutes, plus 5 minutes infusing and 30 minutes cooling.
– COOKING TIME 40 minutes.
– ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or 1 cup cake flour.
– ½ teaspoon baking powder.
– finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons.
– 1 cup superfine sugar.
– 4 eggs.
– ¼ cup crème fraîche.
– 3 red chilies, seeded and finely chopped.
Step 2: Beat together half the lemon juice, just over half of the sugar and the eggs in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, about 10 minutes until the mixture is pale and double in volume. Beat in the crème fraîche, then fold in the flour mixture. Fold in 2½ of the chilies and all the lemon zest.
Step 3: Pour the batter into the prepared bread pan, smooth the top and bake 15 minutes, then open the oven door. Carefully pull the shelf out slightly with the bread pan on it and mark the cake with a knife lengthwise down the middle. (This will help the cake open up and give it a light texture.) Slide the pan back into the oven and bake 20 minutes longer.
Step 4: While the cake finishes baking, make the syrup. Put the remaining lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a saucepan and heat over high heat 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves and the liquid turns slightly syrupy. There should be 3 to 4 tablespoons of liquid. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to one side.
Step 5: Check to see if the cake is baked by inserting a skewer into the deepest part and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If not, return the cake to the oven, bake 5 minutes longer and check again. Leave the cake to cool 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Peel away the parchment paper and put the cake top-side up. Immediately spoon the lemon syrup evenly over the top of the cake, then leave it on the rack to cool completely.
Step 6: Put the remaining sugar in a saucepan with 3½ tablespoons water over medium heat 5 minutes, or until it forms a thick, shiny syrup. Remove from the heat and add the remaining chili, then leave to infuse 5 minutes. When the cake is completely cool, brush the top with the chili glaze to give a nice, shiny coating.