Monday 21 March 2016

Lemon Drizzle Cake

We have a glut of lemons - this is nothing new; it happens every year, and in fact, given the ripening habit of lemon trees here, is almost constant, year-round. As I get more proficient at pruning lemon trees, however (an annual job from which the deadly thorns which decorate the branches of the trees generally leave my hands and forearms well-shredded!) the crop gets ever more intense. Currently, we have three trees which are literally dripping with fruit (several hundred lemons on each one) and two more which are not much less generous, and three or four others which are biding their time...

And so...lemon & sage risotto; lemon chicken; lemon in salads; lemon cheesecake; lemon tart (classic); lemon & lime tart; lemon meringue pie; limencello cake; lemon souffle glace; burnt lemon cream, with blackberries; lemon sorbet; lemon marmalade, lemonade...any and all new additions to the repertoire are gratefully received.

This particular one is a slight re-working of something from Elizabeth Luard's very reliable 'Recipes and Ramblings'. There's much to be said for collections of recipes which reflect a lifetime of tried-and-trusted experimentation, of which this recipe is a clear example. I've made it two or three times now, most recently to go with a cup of tea following an incoming garden-visit...and the requests for further slices (and for a copy of the recipe) not only broke regularly into the conversation, but left the plate entirely empty as a result.

Ingredients: 6 oz butter, at room temperature; 10 oz sugar; 3 medium eggs; 1 cup '00' flour, mixed with 1.5 tsp baking powder, and half tsp salt; juice from three medium lemons and the zwest from one.


1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C.

2. Grease a 2 lb loaf tin (approx 10" x 5"), then make a long strip of aluminium foil (folded over a couple of times), long enough to go the length and both short sides of the loaf tin, and leave a good overhang at either end; put the strip in  place on the base and sort sides of the tin, and grease the exposed top of the foil (this strip allows you to get the cake out of the tin without keaving any of it behind - which it does have a tendency to do).

3. Process the butter along with 6 oz of sugar, and then add the eggs and process to amalgamate properly. Add the lemon  zest and the juice from one the lemons.

4. Scrape the mixture into a large mixing bowl, and fold in the flour mixture, before putting the mixture into the prepared tin.

5. Bake for about 45 minutes, by which time the cake will have risen beautifully, and will have come away from the sides of the tin.

6. While the cake bakes, put the remaining lemon juice and sugar in asmall pan and heat gently over a lwo heat, to make a lemon syrup. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, pour all of the syrup over it, and let it sit, for the syrup to be absorbed by the cooling cake.

7. Let sit in the tin for 30 minutes or longer, before unmoulding onto plate, pulling on the exposed ends of the aluminium foil as you do so, to ensure the cake unmoulds cleanly.