Baked using just a small amount of yeast, these delicate lemon cakes have a texture somewhere between a rich bread and pound cake. Instant dried yeast doesn’t require dissolving in liquid, but is added directly to the flour, and is therefore sometimes sold as "easy bake", "easy blend" or "quick" yeast. The cakes are best eaten on the day they’re made, but any leftovers can be easily refreshed by just a few seconds in the microwave.
80g dried currants
2 tbsp rum or brandy (or orange juice)
210g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting the tin
¾ tsp instant dried yeast
3 large eggs, at room temperature
240g caster sugar
zest of 2 lemons (reserve juice)
¼ tsp salt
120ml pure cream
75g unsalted butter, melted then cooled to room temperature, plus 20g for brushing the tin
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze and garnish
200g icing sugar, sifted
50ml lemon juice
2-3 thin slices of lemon
1. Combine currants and alcohol or juice in a small saucepan and warm up (or place in a small jar and microwave on medium-high for 30 seconds), then leave on the kitchen bench for the fruit to plump up while you prepare the cake. (You could also soak the currants overnight at room temperature.)
2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl, then stir in the dried yeast and set aside.
3. Combine eggs, sugar, lemon zest and salt in the bowl of a cake mixer and beat on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment until thick and creamy (about 2 minutes). Reduce speed to medium and add the cream, beating for another 30 seconds to combine. Remove the bowl from the machine, then fold in the flour/yeast mix with a hand whisk. Add the melted, cooled butter and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth and combined. Cover the bowl with cling film and rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, grease a 12-hole muffin tin liberally with the extra butter, then sprinkle all over with flour. Tap and turn the tin to coat evenly, then turn upside down and tap away excess.
5. Following the rest period (the batter will look slightly bubbly on top), add the currants (including any liquid) to the batter and fold in to combine. Spoon the batter into each mould (I like to use an ice-cream scoop) coming about three-quarters up the sides. Cover the tin with cling film and allow to rest at room temperature for another 30 minutes; the batter's texture will lighten a little but won't rise very much.
6. Preheat oven to 180C (fan-forced) or 200C (conventional).
7. Bake cakes for 15-18 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of one comes out clean.
8. While cakes bake, prepare the glaze by combining the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir until smooth – it should be thick but still able to run off a spoon. For the garnish, cut the lemon slices into small segments (including the yellow rind); you'll need 12 segments in all.
9. When the cakes are out of the oven, rest for 5 minutes in the tin, then use a small metal spatula or knife to edge around the sides and release the cakes. Hold each cake upside down and dip the tops into the glaze. Place a lemon segment on top of each cake and allow the glaze to set before serving.