As the weather warms up (finally) it’s nice to indulge a little in refreshing flavours. My last recipe, Springtime Minestrone – which came almost a week ago (sorry) – explored spring in vegetable form, using fennel, peas and spring onions. Instead, this cake – a classic lemon drizzle – seeks to refresh your palette on a much tangier, more indulgent note. It may not be quintessentially spring-like, but it does evoke similar culinary ideas and images of tea-time treats.
Everyone, I expect, has their own lemon drizzle cake recipe – it’s likely very simple, but devastatingly effective. Of course, this example also demonstrates those traits, but with one essential difference – ground almonds. I often find that cakes made exclusively from flour have a tendency to be light, but a little dry, particularly after a day or two. A great way to solve this problem is to replace a little of the flour with a spoonful or three of ground almonds. In doing so, your cake will retain its vital moisture and be given a little more flavour, making each bite that little more complex and enjoyable.
Lemon drizzle cake comes in many forms; some enjoy a loaf cake, others a sandwich cake. Indeed, don’t worry about altering the cooking process of this cake to satisfy your desires – food is a personal entity. If using a loaf tin it’s a great idea to ice the cake while it remains in the confines of its vessel, thereby coating the top with a layer of hard sugar – delicious. If using a sandwich tin, consider whipping up a little lemon-flavoured buttercream, filling the middle and coating the top with a small amount. However you decide to enjoy this cake, you’ll find that it is flavoursome and versatile.
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Makes one 20cm cake
• 4 large eggs
• Butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour in equal measure – weigh the eggs in order to get exact amounts
• The zest of 2 lemons
• 3 tbsp ground almonds
• The juice of 1 lemon
• 2 tbsp caster sugar
• 2 tbsp icing sugar
• A little water
1. Preheat the oven to 170C, grease and line a 20cm springform tin. Cream together the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs one by one. Weigh the flour, remove two tbsp replacing them with the ground almonds. Tip in the flour, almonds and lemon zest and fold in gently until fully incorporated. Pour into the tin and bake for 50-55 minutes.
2. When golden brown and cooked through remove the cake from the oven, set aside to cool. After 10 minutes beat together 2 tbsp of caster sugar and the juice of one lemon. Make holes in the top of the cake with a fork and pour the syrup in.
3. Once the cake is fully cooled whip up some white icing using icing sugar and a little water and drizzle over in a lattice. Serve immediately, though it’ll keep for a few days in an air tight container.
Cost: The cost of simple cakes like this never amounts to very much. Ground almonds are more expensive than flour, but they still make a worthy addition for the attributes and improvements they bring. In all this cake should set one back no more than around £4.20.