“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.” ~ Paul McCartney
Why, hello. Thought we’d serve up some lemon drizzle cake in honor of Paul McCartney’s 74th birthday tomorrow. Please help yourself to a piece or two or three and a nice warm cuppa. 🙂
While you’re sip sip sipping and ever-so-politely wiping crumbs from the corners of your mouth, enjoy Paul’s “English Tea,” which I strongly suspect he wrote just for me. See if you agree:
Am I not a “nanny bakes fairy cakes” kind of person who tends to veer into twee at a moment’s notice? I think “English Tea” should become Alphabet Soup’s official song. 🙂
Miles and miles of English garden stretching past the willow tree . . . lines of holly, hocks and roses listen most attentively.
It’s hard to believe Paul is going to be 74; he hasn’t slowed down one bit. Right now he’s in the midst of his One on One Tour, and just a week ago he released “Pure McCartney,” a comprehensive retrospective collection of his solo, Wings and Fireman work available in 3 formats: 2CD, 4CD and 4LP. The 4CD version features an amazing 67 tracks, all handpicked by the man himself.
To help promote “Pure McCartney,” he’s done a series of six virtual reality mini-documentaries filmed in his home studio in England, where he discusses backstories and recording/production tidbits about some of his songs. These can be seen in 360-degree videos or in virtual reality on a mobile app for Android or iOS.
I love how he continues to be on the forefront of studio technology. Never one to rest on his laurels, he’s always been pro-innovation (Sgt Pepper, anyone?) — the mark of a true creative, a musician through and through. When it comes to staying power and audience appeal in a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry, Paul takes the biscuit!
Here’s the 360-degree video for “Dance Tonight.” Be sure to click on the arrows in the upper left corner for a nice spin around the room. 🙂
Yes, Paul is still “the cute one.” Could it possibly be 52 years since I first saw him with the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show?! Those were the days of collecting Beatles bubble gum cards and plastering my bedroom walls with pics cut out from 16 Magazine. More importantly, the Beatles marked the beginning of my longstanding love affair with England.
And when I touch you I feel happy inside/It’s such a feeling that my love I can’t hide, I can’t hide.
So, about the lemon drizzle cake. It’s Linda McCartney’s recipe and is daughter Mary’s favorite (she included an adapted version of Linda’s recipe in her book, Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking (2013)):
Mum didn’t bake as much as I do, but one thing she liked to make (and eat) was a lemon drizzle cake. It’s quite tangy, with a real hit of lemon going through it; a lemon syrup is poured over the freshly baked loaf and seeps right down into it. I always love having a home-cooked cake in the house: You walk in the door and it’s just like perfume. Since I’m the only one in the kitchen when it comes out of the oven, I’ll end up cutting away thin slices of it to munch on. (I’ve tried to convince myself that if you don’t sit down to eat a slice, it doesn’t count as calories.) It always reminds me of my mother. I can’t have this cake without thinking of her.
I can attest to the wonderful aroma of this cake, the luscious lemony tanginess of it, and the wholly satisfying experience of enjoying warm, thin slices out of hand. Who can wait for a fork and plate when something smells this good? I used to make a lemon quick bread recipe that also called for drizzling a glaze over the top, but this cake is so much lighter and I like it better. The texture of the crumb is so delicate. It’s absolutely perfect with a cup of tea, and of course listening to Paul’s music while eating it enhances the flavor tenfold, and gives you the chance to daydream yet again about the Beatles.
All your life/You were only waiting for this moment to arise.
I love imagining Linda baking this cake for her family and Paul scarfing down a slice. I remember how jealous I was when she married Paul, but gradually I realized she was truly the love of his life. After the Beatles broke up and Paul fell into a dark, hit-the-bottle depression, it was Linda who reassured him of his talent, who encouraged him to forge ahead, write more songs, and carve out a new path as a solo artist.
Together they raised their children to live as normal a life as possible, and to be, above all, people with good hearts. Linda was quite the foodie pioneer and animal activist as well, publishing good veggie cookbooks at a time when such resources were scarce. She also created Linda McCartney Foods, a chilled and frozen vegan and vegetarian brand so successful it made her independently wealthy.
Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song /Right me when I’m wrong /Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.
Linda’s original Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe can be found in Linda’s Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals (Bullfinch Press, 1995). Mary’s adaptation calls for adding powdered rather than granulated sugar to the lemon juice glaze, 1/4 instead of 1/3 cup milk, and 1-1/2 instead of 1-1/4 cups flour. Either way, total yum.
LINDA MCCARTNEY’S LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE
- flour for dusting the pan
- 1 stick butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
- finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
- 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (or light spelt flour)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour a 9-inch nonstick loaf pan.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and superfine sugar together with a wooden spoon (or an electric mixer). Gradually beat in the eggs and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, and baking powder, and mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and mix well again. Then beat in the milk.
3. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.
4. In the meantime, mix the remaining lemon juice and the confectioner’s sugar together in a small bowl to make the glaze.
5. When it’s ready, take the cake out of the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then turn it out onto a plate. Pierce the top of the cake all over with a thin skewer. Spoon the lemon glaze carefully and evenly over the cake until all of it is absorbed. Ready to eat.
~ Adapted by Mary McCartney, from Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking (2013).
1. 45 minutes in the oven seemed like a long time to me, so I checked mine at 38 minutes and it was done. You might want to check yours no later than after 40 minutes to avoid over baking.
2. Mary’s recipe calls for superfine sugar; I used regular granulated sugar, as specified in Linda’s original recipe. You can make your own superfine sugar by processing 1 cup + 2 tsp. granulated sugar for 30 seconds. I might try that next time to see if I notice any difference.
3. Linda also suggests topping this teacake with a cream cheese frosting for special occasions. I don’t think it needs it. 🙂
While your Lemon Drizzle Cake is in the oven, click over and watch Paul’s BBC 4 Mastertapes interview. This was filmed last month at the Maida Vale studios in London and is really good stuff! He tells some great stories about the Beatles, Wings, and his time as a solo artist, and answers audience questions. Did you know he and Linda were once held up at knife point in Nigeria? What was it like collaborating with Kanye West and Michael Jackson? How did he and John finally make up?
One thing I love whenever I hear him speak is how he pronounces words ending in the letter “g.” It must be a Liverpool thing to pronounce that “g” so distinctly: sonG. Ringo does the same thing. Absolutely charming! And lovely to see him wearing a purple necktie in honor of Prince.
He’s asked which of his own songs is his favorite. He concedes that “Yesterday” is special because it came to him in a dream. But from a songwriting standpoint, he likes “Here, There, and Everywhere.” It’s really quite the perfect love song, written poolside at John Lennon’s Surrey home early one morning while he was waiting for John to wake up. It was inspired in part by Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” at a time when he was enamored of Jane Asher (I was jealous of her too!). Both John Lennon and George Martin also counted HT&E as one of their favorite Beatles songs. It was included on the Revolver album (1966) but was never performed live by the Beatles, who had by then stopped touring to concentrate on making studio albums.
Paul did perform it on MTV’s Unplugged in 1991:
With Sir Paul it’s always been about the music. We wish him a very Happy 74th Birthday and many, many more. Play on!
And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make . . .
♥ Other Paul McCartney posts at Alphabet Soup:
- Celebrating Paul’s 70th Birthday: The Meatfree Monday Cookbook (+ Paul makes mashed potatoes video)
- Paul’s 71st Birthday: Foodie notes + Chocolate Fudge Cake from the Meatfree Monday Cookbook
- Paul’s poetry and backstory on “Blackbird”
- Paul’s “Kissing Bottoms” and Chocolate Cream Pie for Valentine’s Day
Carol is hosting the Roundup this week at Carol’s Corner. Take her a piece of lemon drizzle cake and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week. Don’t forget to celebrate Paul’s birthday tomorrow by listening to his music.
Do you have a favorite Beatles/Wings/McCartney song?
This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts.
Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.