With Easter almost upon us I’m feeling a little overwhelmed and jaded with the growing stash of chocolate my teenagers have managed to procure. I once naively thought that the Easter Bunny and Chocolate Easter Egg Hunts were the preserve of the under 10’s. Obviously I was mistaken. These days an invitation to participate in a hunt is gladly embraced under the guise of assisting the younger offspring of family and friends. Inevitably it degenerates into a loud and enthusiastic rugby scrum-esque dive for treasure. The aim of the game? Collect more eggs than your opponent. He or she with the most treasure wins. Fortunately at the end of the day there is a fair and equitable divvying up of the spoils, but nevertheless each participant comes away with way too many Easter eggs.
Last year I stealthily raided my children’s hoard of treasure and baked Chocolate Easter Egg Brownies. As described at length in my post One Way To Use Up Leftover Easter Chocolate. Brownies with Ginger, Turkish Delight and Easter Eggs. This year I am adopting a new tack. Studiously ignoring their stash, and treating my jaded taste buds to something light, citrus-y and tangy to counteract the chocolate overload. I’m resurrecting (no pun intended) an old fashioned but classic recipe for Lemon Sponge Squares. It’s simple and uncomplicated. Retro baking at its best.
Classic Lemon Sponge Squares
Makes 16 squares
125g unsalted butter
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 ½ cups plain flour
2 lemons, finely zested
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons plain flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
juice of 1 lemon, strained
sifted icing sugar, for dusting
For The Shortbread Base
PREHEAT oven to 180C. Line a square 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
CREAM butter in a bowl until soft. Beat in icing sugar until mixture is light and fluffy.
SIFT flour into mixture and use a spatula or knife to form a soft dough.
PRESS shortbread dough evenly into the base of the prepared tin. Cover with plastic wrap and rub with the back of a spoon to smooth the top. Remove plastic, prick with a fork and chill for 30 minutes.
BAKE for 15-20 minutes or until golden, remove from the oven.
For The Lemon Topping
PLACE lemon zest, sugar and eggs in a bowl and whisk until pale and very thick.
SIFT flour with baking powder and fold into mixture with lemon juice. Pour over shortbread base.
BAKE for 20-25 minutes until set and lightly browned. Cool in tin. When cold, cut into squares 4 lengthwise and 4 across.
DUST with sifted icing sugar.