Sansa’s Lemon Cakes [recipe]

Season 6 of Game of Thrones is in full swing! I am a reluctant latecomer to this show, as I don’t watch any HBO shows and tend to not really jump on a popular show’s bandwagon once it gets really big. Especially dramas. I was definitely really resistant to watching GoT because I heard it was very graphically violent and sexually explicit, two things I usually avoid in my shows.

But with spoilers on my newsfeeds and timelines every Sunday evening and Monday, I knew an awful lot about Game of Thrones without having ever watched a single minute from the show. I could have made a very impressive “Things I Know Without Watching the Show” slideshow, as I did with Doctor Who a few years back. (In fact, I think I started one and then just decided to watch the show, because I had so much information on my hands…)

Sansa refusing to eat her favorite food with Tyrion Lannister

So of course, in a totally expected move, I decided to have a themed watch party for the season 6 premiere! It was my first time watching the show live (and not several episodes at a time on HBOGo) so we went to Don and Megan’s (of recently-married fame on this blog here) and had a themed feast! Don made each of us our own honey-glazed Cornish game hen with roasted onions, potatoes, and carrots. Ben and I brought bread & salt (which was supplemented with some olive oil and black pepper) and a salad to balance out our feast, as well as the ingredients for Sansa Stark’s favorite lemon cakes.

Lemon cakes served to Sansa by her aunt Lysa

Most fans may know that lemon cakes are Sansa’s favorite food, but why? It stems from young Sansa’s aspirations of being a lady, doing ladylike things, living that lavish lady life. Lemons are extremely hard to come by in frosty Winterfell, so it makes sense that a young girl who wants to live this life of luxury would yearn for this hard-to-get delicacy and how easily it fits into her image of what life as a lady would be like: laughing in a courtyard, drinking tea, eating lemon cakes, with other ladies who shared her interests. It’s an idyllic world that, unfortunately, is unlikely to become a reality for Sansa. But she can still enjoy delicious lemon cakes.

Margaery and Olenna Tyrell offering Sansa lemon cakes

This was my first time using a recipe by Rosanna Pansino, aka Nerdy Nummies, and I had a few issues with doing so:

  1. While she does have the ingredients + quantities listed in the video description, there were no steps written in the description and no link pointing to a written recipe anywhere to be found. So, I was stuck rewatching parts of her video over and over in order to get the steps. Thankfully, this was a fairly short and simple recipe.
  2. The video was a bit annoying to watch over and over again. I felt like the target audience for Ro’s video was children, with her overly playful and silly tone and jokes, and it was irritating listening to them over and over again trying to determine the directions for these cakes.
  3. These cakes are intended to be served upside down so that the lemon on the bottom of the tins when you bake are on the top when you serve them. This is all well and fine BUT because we are baking in muffin tins, they have rounded tops and will not sit flat unless you slice off the bottoms. Which I would prefer not to do to avoid crumbly edges.

With that being said, here a written-down recipe adaptation of Ro’s lemon cakes, which did turn out very delicious, especially served with the freshly whipped cream that Don whipped up.

Sansa’s Lemon Cakes

{ makes 12 small cakes }

12 little cakes can serve one to twelve people 😉

Ingredients

For the cakes:

  • 1+1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup+ 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt
  • The zest AND juice of 1 lemon

For the (optional) cake topping:

  • One full day to allow to dry (see instructions)
  • 8 oz water
  • 8 oz sugar
  • 3 Meyer lemons (or 2 regular lemons)

Additionally:

  • Muffin tin
  • Non-stick cooking spray (or something to grease your tin)
  • Parchment paper/silicon mat
  • [Optional] Whipped cream
  • [Optional] Mint (for garnish)

Instructions

For the cake topping (important note: these need a full day to dry, so if you plan on having these, you will want to start a day before you bake):

  1. Slice your lemons into thin slices, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. You want at least 12 slices – one per cake, and some extra in case any break and/or for snacking.
  2. Add your water and sugar into a pot and allow to come to a boil.
    • Note: These measurements do not need to be precise 8 oz of each; just make sure it is a 1:1 ratio and that you have enough to cover your lemons. 8 oz is a good number to aim for.
  3. Add your lemon slices to the boiling water – slowly, using tongs – then reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes.
  4. Remove the lemon slices with tongs and set on a baking sheet with parchment paper (I don’t have any so I just used foil and they didn’t stick much) and allow to dry at room temperature for about a day. (This requires several hours so please be sure to prepare these a day in advance.)
  5. (Optional) Reserve the syrup leftover.

For the cakes:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F.
  2. Mix together the sugar and eggs until combined.
  3. Add sour cream and mix until combined.
  4. Stir in lemon zest and juice until combined.
    • I found myself yielding a lot more zest and juice than Ro had in her video and still wanting a little bit more lemon flavor in my cakes. So, to adjust for the ratio in your batter, I would suggest adding some more flour. But I’m not really a baker, I don’t know quite how this works…
  5. Add vanilla extract and stir until combined.
  6. Mix in the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. Pour in cooled melted butter (do not add hot melted butter!) and mix until combined.
  8. Grease your muffin tin with a light coating of cooking spray.
  9. Place one lemon slice in the bottom of each well.
    • Meyer lemons are easier to work with here because they are smaller and more likely to fit in the tin without issue.
  10. Bake for 20 minutes.
    • If you’re nervous, check for doneness by sticking a toothpick/fork in. If it comes back out clean, you’re good to go!
  11. (Quickly) Flip the cakes over onto a baking sheet. Place a lined baking sheet on top of the muffin tin and flip both over together.
    • Do this step immediately after removing from the oven to prevent the lemon slices from sticking to the tin.
  12. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

For serving (all of these are optional; you can pick and choose which ones you’d like to do):

  • Slice off the rounded bottoms (which were the tops) so that the cakes sit flat on your serving dish.
    • Smush ’em down a little bit if you need to
  • Drizzle the reserved lemon syrup over the cakes.
    • If you’d like the cakes to be even MORE sweet & lemony (and/or if they came out a little drier than you’d like), poke each cake with a fork before drizzling so that the syrup can soak into the cakes more.
  • Accompany with a dollop of whipped cream. (Freshly whipped tastes superb with lemon cakes, but store-bought works fine.)
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint.

And that’s Sansa’s lemon cakes! Enjoy them with tea and laughter, and try not to think about how the night is dark and full of terrors.

2016-04-24 20.56.00


What are your favorite Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire foods?
What are you looking forward to in the upcoming season of Game of Thrones??

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