Lemon drizzle cake


My friend Clare is a big fan of a lemon drizzle cake, and when she asked me a few years back whether I knew how to make it, I realised that I didn't. I'd never even tasted it... until a few days ago. No, she didn't wait years for that cake; I actually tried Eric Lanlard's recipe for Lime and lemon drizzle cake straight away and she absolutely fell in love with it. From there on, I always knew what to get her for her birthday, Christmas, any occasion that you can think of, she will be getting that cake. She phones me every time telling me how good it was and how much the people she, most of the time reluctantly, decided to share it with, loved it. A few days ago, when I started making another cake for her to take as a present, I thought that it was about time for me to try it. Instead of one big cake, I made 3 small cakes, one for a present, one for Clare and the last one for myself. I deserved it.

First of all get the best unwaxed organic lemons that you can find, "Sorrento" for instance. This is a lemon cake after all. Lanlard uses an equal amount of lemons and lime, so you can do the same. I always exclusively use lemons, except for the decoration, as limes add colour to the cake.

 175 g unsalted butter, room temperature                      
175 g golden caster sugar                                              
3 eggs                                                                          
4 tbsp milk                                                                  
225 g self-raising flour                                                
finely grated zest of 2 lemons

 Sugar syrup                                                      
 200 g icing sugar
 juice from 2 large or 3 small lemons
 zest from 1 lemon and 1 lime

Preheat the oven to 170 -180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4 and butter and line a 22cm round tin with baking paper.
Mix the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time, pour the milk and combine.
Then sift the flour and sprinkle grated lemon zest, combine again.
Bake for 50 minutes or until inserted screwer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10  minutes, then turn it out of the tin.
Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar until smooth. When the cake is cool, make small holes all over the cake with skewer or toothpick and pour the syrup over and into the holes until it is absorbed and starts to form white crust. Put a wide plate underneath to collect running syrup and reuse it until you run out of it.
Decorate with grated zest. Store covered, ideally in an airtight container for few days. it will remain deliciously moist.

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