Lemon Loaf Cake

Welcome spring with this zesty lemon loaf cake that’s similar to pound cake with its buttery taste and texture. This classy cake will make you want to skip dinner and go straight to dessert! 

I love cake and I love knowing even more that there’s a cake for every holiday or season. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate and mint, Christmas is all about candy canes and peppermint everything or gingerbread, whereas in spring and summer we celebrate all the gorgeous fresh berries and fruit that are bountiful.

This year I decided to prepare in advance for Easter and planned to bake a simple lemon cake to welcome the first day of spring in a few days time. This cake is fresh, zingy and will transport your taste buds straight into the new season. You may have figured out my love for anything lemon from my previous recipe for lemon herb rice? Since I shared a savoury recipe showcasing lemon it was now time for something sweet.

Back last summer I shared a buttermilk lemon cake that was slightly different from the one I’m sharing today because that recipe had buttermilk added the batter to keep it moist and the cake was drizzled with a simple lemon sugar icing. This time I thought it would be a nice change to bake the cake in a loaf tin as you traditionally do when you’re making pound cake. This cake is made in the same way but instead of a lemon sugar icing it just has a lemon glaze soaked into the cake whilst it’s still warm and fresh from the oven.

Another thing I kept the same as I did when I made my lemon buttermilk cake is that I made my own homemade lemon sugar. Using your fingertips you’ll rub the sugar and zest together until fragrant. Doing this enables the natural oils in the lemon to be released and your cake will have a stronger and more intense lemon flavour. This is a step I will always go to the extra effort to do as you can definitely taste the difference.

My family love serving this beautiful cake with Greek yoghurt and fresh raspberries. Eating cake with yoghurt takes my sister and I back to our childhood as this is something we would always do with leftover birthday cake for breakfast. Cake for breakfast is the absolute best!

If you prefer you can serve the cake with ice cream, pouring or whipped cream instead and top with berries or fruit of your choice. You could also try warming a slice of cake in the microwave, when it’s warm it gets all extra buttery and gooey.

(Serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

Lemon Cake:

230g (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

250g (1 and 1/4 cups) caster or granulated sugar

2 tablespoons lemon zest – approx. 4 lemons

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

210g (1 and 1/2 cups) plain/all-purpose or cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Lemon Glaze: 

100g (1/2 cup) caster or granulated sugar

60ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside. Toss the sugar and lemon zest into a large mixing bowl. Using your fingertips rub the sugar and zest together for a minute or two until the sugar smells fragrant. Add the softened butter and beat until creamy and smooth.
  2. Next add the eggs one at a time and mix well in between each addition. Add the lemon juice and vanilla extract and mix through. Don’t be concerned at this point if the mixture looks curdled and like it’s going wrong, once you add the dry ingredients it’ll resemble more of a cake batter.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) on top of the wet mixture and then gently fold through until you have a smooth batter. Be careful not to mix the batter too much.
  4. Spread the cake batter evenly into the prepared loaf tin. Bake for 15 minutes. Now reduce the oven temperature to 170°C / 150 Fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 3. Carry on baking the cake for a further 35-45 minutes (turning around halfway through) or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out completely clean without any uncooked batter remaining. After a total of 60 minutes baking mine took a further 15 minutes to finishing fully baking so my cake was in the oven for a total of 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes – much longer than the original recipe suggested).
  5. Once the cake is completely baked through remove it from the oven and set the tin over a wire rack. Meanwhile make the lemon glaze by combining the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring this mixture up to the boil and then once it’s boiling turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer for about 2-3 minutes until thick and syrupy.
  6. Allow the cake to sit for 10 minutes then remove it from the tin. Using a toothpick poke holes all over the top and sides of the cake and brush the lemon glaze over all the cake. Leave the cake to cool to room temperature before serving. The cake will store at room temperature wrapped in clingfilm/plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 3 days – it may last for longer but in my house cake only seems to last more than a few days!

Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Enjoy!

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

Luscious lemon drizzle cake. Fluffy buttermilk sponge cake soaked with a lemon sugar syrup and drizzled with a tangy lemon icing. Lemon dessert lovers, this cake recipe is for you! 

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Lemon drizzle cake is a British classic. I’ve grown up enjoying this cake and it holds a special place in my heart. The cake is very popular here where it’s sold at most bakeries, tearooms and is commonly found on many afternoon tea menus. As much as I love this cake there are many recipes out there that are a tad bit lacklustre. I’ve tried a good few and often found them too dry or simply lacking a real lemon flavour punch. But this recipe is the exact opposite. It’s fresh, summery, lemony and lip-smacking good!

You know a bake is going to be good when the recipe starts with a whole big block of butter. I have a few secrets of how to make the best lemon drizzle cake. Firstly, I like to add just a touch of buttermilk to my cake batter. The tanginess from the buttermilk works really well with the lemon flavour and it helps keep the cake moist and fluffy for several days.

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Another way I make my lemon drizzle cake differently, is I make my own lemon sugar. I’ve always liked vanilla or cinnamon sugar, but I would definitely say lemon sugar is my favourite out of the three. The sugar is super easy to make, all you have to do is rub the sugar and grated lemon zest with your fingertips. Doing this helps release the natural oil from the lemon and it really enhances the lemon flavour in your finished bake.

I’ve made this cake twice within the last week. With the first I thought I would freeze a few slices ready for when I fancied a piece of cake, but let’s just say those few slices of cake soon disappeared from the freezer and found their way onto my plate… 😉

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This gorgeous cake is delicious served with a scoop or two of ice cream, clotted cream, yoghurt and fresh berries  

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Joseph Joseph

Making this cake also gave me the opportunity to test out the latest Joseph Joseph samples from their new range. I have always been a fan of the Joseph Joseph kitchenware. I particularly like the Shake It™ which comes with an integrated rocking handle and this cleverly stimulates the process of tapping the sieve with your other hand. I used it to sift the dry ingredients (flour and baking powder) into my cake and also to sift the icing sugar when I made my drizzle icing to decorate the cake. Whiskle™ which isn’t just your ordinary whisk as it has a silicone bowl scraper attached, which helps make sure you get every single bit of the batter into your cake tin and it also helps save time on washing up! The Fin™ works in the same way as it makes sure you can get every last bit of your cake batter into the cake tin so there no wastage. The Glaze™ can be used to brush the lemon sugar syrup over the cake, but I’m also looking forward to using it when I make homemade pastry or even for brushing vegetables or meat with oil before roasting.

Ingredients:

Lemon Cake:

250g unsalted butter or margarine, softened

250g caster sugar

Zest from 2 large lemons

4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

275g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon (6g) baking powder

100ml buttermilk

Juice of 1 large lemon

Lemon Sugar Syrup:

150g caster sugar

Juice of 1 large lemon

50ml water

Lemon Drizzle Icing: 

100g icing (confectioners’) sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice (add more less depending on your preferred consistency)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C / 160 Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with butter and parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl combine the sugar and lemon zest. Using your fingertips, rub the sugar and zest together until combined.
  3. In a large mixing bowl beat together the softened butter/margarine with the lemon sugar until creamy and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Make sure you scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are getting incorporated.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and beat again until just a few lumps of flour remain. Finally, add the buttermilk and lemon juice and mix again until they’re combined into the batter fully.
  6. Spoon the batter into the cake tin and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake the cake for 50 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean without any uncooked batter remaining. All ovens are different so the cake may need 5-10 minutes longer in the oven. If the cake is colouring too much cover the top with a piece of tin/aluminium foil.
  7. Once the cake is baked completely, leave it on the side to cool for a few minutes. Meanwhile, make the lemon sugar syrup. Heat the sugar, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Once dissolved, take off the heat. Poke holes all over the cake using a skewer, then pour the hot lemon sugar syrup all over the top of the cake. This step must be done when the cake is still warm. Now leave the cake to cool completely, then once cool remove from the tin.
  8. Make the lemon drizzle icing by sifting the icing sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix until you have a thick, runny icing. Adjust the consistency to your preferred liking with less or more lemon juice. Drizzle the cake with the icing.

Recipe Notes:

  • The cake will keep for up to 1 week stored in an airtight container.
  • The drizzle icing is optional, but I think it really makes this cake!
  • This lemon drizzle cake is delicious served on its own, but we especially love it with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, some yoghurt and fresh berries.

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Enjoy!

jess

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