The more lemony the better. That is my motto for lemon drizzle cake. More lemons equals maximum flavour and maybe more health benefits from all that Vitamin C? Let’s go with that.
This cake uses lots of juice from two really big lemons, and you’ll get nearly half a cereal bowl full to drown your cake in. It may seem like a lot, but cake is a sponge after all – it will gladly suck up that flavour without going soggy.
This is an old-fashioned recipe, which is low on faff, good if you really need cake soon. You can make it in a fancy mixer or with a bowl and a wooden spoon. You’ll probably have the ingredients in your kitchen right now too, especially if keeping lemons is mandatory for emergency G&Ts (we all have days like that, right?).
Try and buy really big unwaxed lemons, so you’ll get plenty of zest and lots of juice. Everything else is standard, subbing golden caster sugar is never a bad idea but even granulated will do.
This is a perfect cake for an every day treat, with a very large cup of tea. As you can see from the picture, I settled down with some crochet and a large slice one afternoon, it was perfect!
For a fancier cake, that is lovely for summertime, split the batter between two 20cm cake tins, bake for 20-25 minutes then drench with syrup after baking. Once cool sandwich with lemon curd and vanilla buttercream. You can make this for me on my next birthday too, just bring it over with candles on top. Ta!
Old-fashioned lemon drizzle cake
makes 1 x 2lb (900g) loaf
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
two large lemons
200g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g caster sugar (for icing)
Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin. Leave baking paper overhanging on the sides of the loaf tin so you can pull the cake out easily after baking.
Cream the butter and sugar until it is very light and fluffy, either in a stand mixer, with an electric whisk or with a wooden spoon in a bowl. Add the eggs one by one and whip well to let lots of air in.
Zest the lemons and add this to the mixture with the vanilla. Mix the baking powder with the flour and fold into the mixture in thirds.
Bake for 30-40 minutes in the middle of the oven. Meanwhile, juice the lemons and mix with the caster sugar to form a fairly loose syrup, similar to the texture of single cream.
When the loaf is baked let it cool for 10 minutes and then gently remove from the tin and on to a wire rack over a chopping board. Prick the top of the cake with a skewer and then pour the syrup slowly over the cake so it soaks up all that lovely flavour.
Leave to cook for as long as you can bear and then cut into slices and serve. Store in an airtight container, it keeps for a few days.