I am not quite that ambitious. But when I saw that HBO had actually released a recipe for lemon cakes (based on a recipe by Tom Colicchio), a favorite treat throughout Westeros, particularly enjoyed by Sansa Stark, well... I had to give it a try.
Guess what? They're delish. Light, sweet, and creamy. Though the recipe seems to indicate that they should be served warm, I actually preferred them once they'd chilled in the fridge over night.
I used slightly larger ramekins than was called for, so my lemon cakes look shorter and flatter. They're actually quite small. What I love about them is that after baking, they layer themselves. When you unmold, you should see that a cake layer has formed at the "bottom," with a creamy middle, topped by an almost jelly-like top. These layers are more visible when you use a small ramekin, so that they're given some height. Still, even in my shorter versions you can see that there are layers. I garnished mine for aesthetic purposes, but they don't really need it.
"Gods be true, Arya, sometimes you act like such a child," Sansa said. "I'll go by myself then. It will be ever so much nicer that way. Lady and I will eat all the lemon cakes and just have the best time without you."
The HBO recipe is extremely concise and isn't big on detail. I sort of muddled through it, hoping the right things were happening, but it wasn't until the end that I knew I'd done it correctly. I've tried to make their recipe clearer with my adaptation below.
Lovely Lemon Cakes (adapted from HBO's recipe)
- 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for dusting ramekins
- 2 eggs, separated
- 3 tbsp plus 1 tsp all-purpose flour
- Pinch kosher salt
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Finely chopped zest of 1 1/2 lemons
- 1 kettle hot water
- Heat the oven to 300°F. Butter and lightly sugar 6 4-ounce ramekins. Also, set a kettle of water to boil.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then set them aside. Make sure you've caught all the whites that may have settled to the bottom of the bowl.
- Sift the sugar with the flour and salt.
- In a mixer, using the whisk attachment, combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, egg yolks and lemon zest.
- Gradually add the flour mixture, until combined.
- Fold in the egg whites. The resulting mixture may not look fully homogeneous; that's OK.
- Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins.
- Pour the kettle of hot water into a large pan with raised sides (be careful!).
- Place the ramekins into the hot water bath, making sure that the water comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the whole thing with aluminum foil and carefully place the pan into the oven.
- Bake until the cakes rise and are almost firm, about 25 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking until the tops are lightly golden and the cakes spring back when touched, about 15 minutes more.
- Unmold and serve immediately, or unmold and chill in the fridge until ready to eat.