A few days ago I asked my husband what he wanted me to bake this weekend, and he requested lemon drizzle cake - something we've been enjoying in tearooms across the country this summer.
Quite by chance, a friend happened to bake one during the week, and when I mentioned to her that I was planning to do likewise she offered me both her recipe and her spare lemon. I was very happy to accept, though I adapted her recipe slightly (I'm too lazy to sift flour...).
The main trick with lemon drizzle cake is how to get it "drizzled" without losing more icing than you use, particularly since you want to do the drizzling while the cake is still hot. I balanced the cooling tray on top of a plate to catch any drips - and then, once the cake was cool, I put the cake on the same plate to soak them up. That way nothing gets wasted.
Another handy hint for lemon cakes in general is to make "lemon sugar" in advance: if you've got your lemon a day or two ahead of when you plan to bake, pop the lemon and the sugar in a glass bowl together, and cover with a plate. The oils from the lemon will gradually seep into the sugar, meaning the lemon flavour will end up more evenly distributed through the cake. You can then go on to zest and juice the lemon as usual.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
6oz self-raising flour
zest of 1 lemon
For the topping:
2oz icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon
2tsp granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 165°C (or a little higher if you don't have a fan oven) and grease a medium-sized loaf tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar together with a spoon. Break two eggs into the bowl and stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Fold in the flour and lemon zest.
- Spoon the cake mixture into the tin, smooth with a spatula, and bake for 50 minutes.
- When the cake is about 10 minutes away from done, it's time to make the topping. Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan, and simmer gently to reduce.
- Take the cake out of the oven - the crust should be golden-brown, and a skewer should come out clean - and remove from the tin onto a cooling tray.
- Prick the top of the cake in several places, then gently spoon the lemon mixture over the top of the cake (before it has chance to cool down). Sprinkle on a little extra granulated sugar on top for added crunch.