Friday, 30 August 2013

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Let me start this post by saying I don't approve of fruit in dessert based items. I'm not a big fruit person at the best of times but fruit in cakes and puddings just upsets me. There's nothing worse than getting cheesecake and it has a horrible tart lemon flavour or ordering sticky toffee pudding and it arrives filled with raisins. I love my sweet stuff and for me, desserts should really be made of chocolate. The richer the better. My husband, (Mr HNW) is the complete opposite and our dessert choices rarely overlap which suits me fine. I don't like to share desserts. This probably stems from growing up with a father with an even sweeter tooth than mine who would wolf his dessert down and decide it was time to "help" me finish mine!

However, recently we took J to visit a friend and we were given slices of lemon and poppyseed drizzle cake. We sat in their garden in the sun eating cake that was still slightly warm with lovely, creamy vanilla ice cream. It was heaven. Finally, we had a dessert we could both agree on. Two weeks ago I decided to make a nice dinner for Mr HNW. I haven't done much cooking since J was born and now that he is a little less clingy and will sit in his rocker for a while I thought I'd seize the opportunity to get back in the kitchen. I really love baking but really haven't done much in the last year, I unfortunately suffered from hyperemesis during pregnancy (which I'm sure I will discuss here in the future at some stage!) so cooking and baking took a backseat and I spent my time running to the bathroom to be sick all the time instead.

I used this recipe from the Hairy Bikers with a slight variation. The variation came about because I've made this cake three times in the last few weeks. One time I only had two eggs in the fridge so I used 1/4 cup of vegetable oil instead of the third egg. It made the cake much nicer, with a nicer texture and a bit moister.  I initially chose this recipe because it was so simple and I really didn't know how much time J would give me in the kitchen. The recipe basically involves throwing everything into a mixer (and I'm always looking for opportunities to get my Kenwood Chef out), baking the cake and then pouring a sugary lemon mixture over it and letting it set. It really was easy peasy.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

2 small unwaxed lemons (I actually ended up using three)
275g granulated sugar (I used caster because I really hate the texture of granulated sugar)
175g butter
200g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
3 large free-range eggs  or 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

Line your cake tin and grease it well. The Hairy Bikers recipe says to use a loaf tin but I don't possess one, no matter how many times I try to remember to buy one when I'm out. I used a round springform cake tin instead and it was completely fine.

Grate the zest of the lemons. Put 175g of the sugar in your mixer with the butter, flour, baking powder, eggs and lemon zest and mix on a medium setting until the mixture is just combined.

Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin and level. Bake for 35 minutes or until well risen and pale golden brown.Unfortunately the first time I made it J decided it was time for a feed in the middle of my cake baking so I took it out and put it back in when he was done.. Do not do this unless you want a cake that has sunk in the middle. It was not a good idea!

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes. One of the cakes I made was a disaster because I a) didn't grease the tin properly and b) didn't let it cool before removing the outer springform tin part. My impatience meant a lot of my cake stuck to the tin and the rest basically fell apart.

The recipe says to squeeze one of the lemons to get about 3 tablespoons of juice. I must have had crappy lemons because I had to squeeze all three (they were small ones to be fair).Mix the lemon juice with the remaining sugar.

Turn the cake out onto a wire rack set above a tray or plate. Remove the baking parchment and
gently turn the cake the right way up.

Once the cake is cool, make about 50 deep holes in the top of the cake with a skewer (or a knife if you are like me and couldn't be bothered finding your skewers!)

Slowly and gradually, spoon over half the lemon sugar, allowing it to thoroughly coat the top of the
cake and drizzle down the sides. Leave this to stand for five minutes.

Then repeat this with the remaining lemon sugar. Leave it to set for at least an hour (I'm fairly sure we managed to leave it for only thirty minutes because we wanted it so badly and it was still delicious!)

(Apologies for the crappy photos - I was starving at this stage and just really wanted to eat the cake!)

Mr HNW could not believe his luck when he walked in the door to the smell of baking. He gave me a 10/10 and said that any chocolate cake I baked would only ever get a max of 7 - so all in all it was a great success. It really was delicious and has definitely been added to my baking repertoire of easy things to knock up quickly. Give it a try!

Having watched the recent episode of the Great British Bake Off (I almost wet my pants in excitement when I realised it was coming back)  I'm desperate to try Angel Food Cake. Watch this space!

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