Lemon drizzle cake

A lemon drizzle cake is a classic for good reason. The sharp lemon syrup which soaks into the top of the cake acts as a wonderful contrast to the buttery richness of the sponge beneath.

This one has a particularly punchy lemon syrup and a little added texture from a topping of lemon zest and granulated sugar. With the zest and juice of four lemons, this cake almost matches this lemon and lime curd for citrus clout.

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Makes a nine inch cake

Ingredients

4 unwaxed lemons
350g or twelve and a quarter oz caster sugar
250g or eight and a quarter oz soft unsalted butter plus a little extra for greasing
4 large free range eggs
250g eight and a quarter oz plain flour
5g (approximately a teaspoon) baking powder
a pinch of salt
50g or one and three quarter oz granulated sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan oven)/ 180°C/ 350 Fahrenheit/ Gas Mark 4 and line a loose bottomed 9 inch cake tin with baking parchment, using a little of the butter.

Firstly, zest the lemons and set aside. For the lemon drizzle syrup, place the juice of the four lemons, along with 100g of caster sugar, around 50ml of water and a quarter of the lemon zest, equivalent to the zest of one lemon, in a small pan and cook over a medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure the sugar dissolves and cook down until reasonably thick and syrupy. Set aside.

For the cake, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and slightly fluffy. Next, gradually add each egg, thoroughly stirring and scraping down the bowl to prevent the mixture from curdling. If you are worried the mix is about to curdle, add a small handful of the flour. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, a quarter of the lemon zest, equivalent to the zest of a lemon, and the salt and then gently fold this into the cake mixture. Be careful not to overwork the flour in the cake mix. You only need to mix until it is fully incorporated.

Pour this into the prepared cake tin and smooth over the top. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for around an hour, or until a skewer comes out from the centre of the cake clean. Whilst the lemon drizzle cake bakes, mix the remaining lemon zest, equivalent to the zest of two lemons, and the granulated sugar.

As soon as the baked cake comes out of the oven, prick all over using a skewer and pour over the lemon syrup. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and granulated sugar mixture and allow the lemon drizzle cake to cool in the tin completely before serving. Serve with Earl Grey tea.

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