Monday, 24 January 2011

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Oh well, all my good intentions have crumbled into dust (or rather, cake mixture) as usual.  I managed one 48 minute session on the Wii last week, and that's been it so far!  I'm the laziest, laziest person I know....

But, hey, my whining is not why you stopped by, your eye was caught by the title of this post, wasn't it?  Go on, admit it, you're as much a sucker for baking porn as I am.  And this is a fantastic recipe that never fails.  I promised it in my last post, so here it is.  Please do try it, it's really, really easy and the taste is to die for.

A little background on the recipe - I'm assuming you all know who Gordon Ramsay is?  Yes, he's an arch knobhead and I can't bear watching him (or indeed any of those other macho shouty chefs - yes, we get it, you think your body everyself - as one of my mum's elderly patients used to say - but, frankly, you're nothing but an enormous bully).  He has a (I imagine, long-suffering) wife called Tana who, apparently, does all the cooking at home for the kids.  You know, the normal, life-supporting, every day, vital stuff that he doesn't because it's not 'important' enough.  Anyway, to give her her due, she's published cookbooks and I believe that this Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe is one of hers.  I actually got it from the ever-fabulous BBC Good Food website which says it's hers, so who am I to argue?

As usual, I've tailored the original a little so it's more to my taste - I've used less butter, less flour, a lot less sugar and a bit more lemon juice.   The choice is yours - I'd suggest trying hers first and if you like it, then that's the one for you!  Here we go then:


Ingredients (my quantities):

200g butter, softened
150g caster sugar
4 eggs
Grated zest of 1 lemon
200g self raising flour

For drizzle topping:

Juice of 2 lemons
85g caster sugar

Heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Into a large bowl, put the sugar and butter:

And with a mixer, cream together until pale and creamy:

Add the eggs one at a time, beating them in thoroughly:

Add the flour:

And the lemon zest.  I normally use a proper little zesting thing that makes the job very easy and looks like this:

The little circles at the top have a sharp edge and you drag it over the surface of the fruit and it comes off in little strips.  But I forgot I had this little tool and used the fine grate side of a grater.  I don't actually recommend it as it's incredibly difficult to zest a lemon this way without including bits of your knuckle.  And let me tell you that grated knuckles and lemon juice don't mix.  Ow.  Anyway, add the zest (with or without superfluous skin):

Fold the flour in until it's well combined.  If you don't know what that means (don't mock, someone might not), it means you get a large metal spoon - a tablespoon is best.  Use the side of the bowl of the spoon and cut a line through the mixture from the top edge of the bowl (say, 12 o'clock) down to the bottom (the 6 o'clock position) and sort of flip over the mixture on the left hand side of the divide over onto the right.  Turn the bowl a bit and repeat.  Keep doing this until everything is combined thoroughly but don't overdo it - stop as soon as all the flour is folded in.  The point of this is to incorporate air into the mixture.  If you use a hand whisk or electric mixer, you'll beat the air out of it and will basically end up with a batter rather than a cake mix - the result is it won't rise.  Folding doesn't take very long but is necessary.

The recipe here now says "Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper".  I say "Bugger that".  Get yourself a silicon loaf tin.  No need to grease or line anything and you can roll the sides down to extract the finished cake - win! I pop mine onto a baking sheet though, just to make it easier to handle, as a silicon tin is not rigid.

So spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the surface a bit.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  My oven is a bit cool, I think, as it almost always takes nearer an hour for the cake to cook.  So start at 45 minutes and keep testing with a skewer until it comes away clean.

While the cake is cooling (or cooking, doesn't matter which), juice 2 lemons:

Pour into a jug and add 85g caster sugar.  Mix it together.  It will separate but don't worry too much, and don't worry about getting all the sugar to dissolve into the lemon juice:

Right.  The cake is now cooked and looks like this:

Get the skewer you used to test the cake with earlier, and start poking holes in it:

Pour over the lemon juice & sugar mix while the cake is still hot.  The juice will sink in (going down all the holes) and the sugar will form a crisp topping.  You may find you have too much liquid - the beauty of a silicon loaf tin is that you can pull the sides away from the cake and the liquid will run down to the base of the cake as well.

Leave the cake in the tin until it's completely cool, then remove.  It says in the recipe "will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month" or, as in reality, will last less than a day if there are more than 2 people in the house.

It's moist and sweet and lemony and zingy and utterly, utterly fabulous.

Now then, shall I tempt you with my tuna, prawn and anchovy homemade pizza?

Perhaps next time.....


Anonymous said...

You wrote your thoughts on Mr Ramsey much more eloquently than I would ever have! The guy is an arse and I have no idea why his wife sticks with him as he has absolutely nothing to offer as a husband (IMO). I think I would have taken him for every penny after finding out about his "bit on the side" - he's a complete knobhead! ;0)

Anonymous said...

OK, you have convinced me. That looks absolutely lovely and I shall give it a go this weekend.

peevish said...

YUM! And potentially dangerous, since I alone in my household adore all things lemony.

Ros said...

Well yes - there must be something in the air that says it's time to cook cake. Yours sounds and looks lumpty lovely. I will have to try it soon. Will have to get my hands on a silicon loaf thingy (can't call it a tin can you?).

Anonymous said...

Also - I would like the pizza dough please - you can keep the seafood bit though. :-)

Anonymous said...

Oops - I meant the recipe of course LOL

Mrs Jones said...

Ruth - I think the only famous male TV chef I actually quite like is Jamie Oliver, mostly as he doesn't come across as being completely up himself & is always cheery. Heston Blumenthal does interesting stuff but I had my suspicions about him, and then I read somewhere that, indeed, he did used to be one of those chefs who screamed and threw things but that he doesn't anymore.

Alienne - ooh, do! It's terribly easy!

Peevish - then you can eat the entire thing yourself, yum yum! I've considered using the same recipe to make little individual lemon drizzle cakes (using a muffin tin, for example) which means you could probably freeze them.

Ros - silicon bakewear is quite easily found these days. Homebase and Robert Dyas both sell the red Ready Steady Cook silicon 'tins', and I've just found them on Amazon. They're inexpensive now. I'd never go back now.

watchthatcheese - you can, of course, add your own toppings! Okay, I'll do the pizza one soon!

Lisa said...

This cake sounds like it would be filled with delicious lemon flavor. I have a linky party on my blog every Saturday called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

Isabelle at home said...

That's funny I too posted a recipe about a "citrus" cake! It must be the need for freshness and tired of winter time! Great recipe

Anonymous said...

I have just finished making it and drizzling it - it looks wonderful and I am having trouble restraining myself from cutting a huge slice before it has cooled down. Even Attila - who is dead fussy about food - is looking forward to trying it.

"pup" said...

LMAO at being lazy!! (me too!! Ask me when the last time I worked out with the kinect was!! No don't, it would be embaressing to answer!!)

As for your lemon drizzle cake, that looks delicious!! I saw you on Sweets for a Saturday, and well.. had to view the rest of your post!!

Mrs Jones said...

Lisa - done!

Isabelle at home - Lemon cakes work brilliantly, orange cakes are good but not quite as zingy as lemon. And I wish lime worked better as that's my favourite citrus - perhaps I've just not found the right recipe yet...

Ms Alienne - yay! I want some now...

Ms Pup - I've actually been not too much of a slacker on the Wii this week and have managed another couple of sessions but I've not lost a single ounce in weight. Mind you all this baking isn't helping!

Lisa said...

Thanks for linking this up to Sweets for a Saturday. I hope you'll be able to join in again.