If I were to magically become a UK resident (again!) and could enter The Great British Bake Off, this would be my signature bake. I make this cake more often than any other. Sometimes in squares, or loaves or cupcakes. Whatever form it comes in, it's amazing!
I've made this recipe so many times, I could nearly do it with my eyes closed. Until Friday. I baked two dozen cupcakes for the cake sale with the plain flour I had out on the counter and not the self raising the recipe calls for. I only noticed when I peeped in through the glass door of the oven and alarm bells started ringing. 'Why aren't they rising?' I was shouting at everyone in the house. The cat didn't care. Chub didn't care. I flamin' well cared though and started a sit down protest by the oven willing them to rise, until I realised what I had done. There wasn't a chance in hell they were going to rise. They were still edible. I ate two of them. Probably more to take them out of my sight than anything else. I'm not sure what to do with them now, they are asleep in the freezer now until I can figure out a plan as I just can not make myself throw them out.
The second time around, I added a little home-made lemon curd to the centre before baking, which was delicious. But I think anything with a lemon curd inside would be delicious really.
The recipe I use comes from an old baking book that my Mam found for me in a second hand shop (in fact the local Fred's Fashions as it used to be known back then!) many years ago when I first started taking an interest in baking.
Lemon Drizzle Cakes - Practical Cooking Baking
Makes about a dozen cupcakes or 1 loaf or 7inch square cake
175g caster sugar, I usually use vanilla caster sugar
2 large eggs
175g self-raising flour
2 lemons, preferably unwaxed - otherwise wash really well in warm water
50g granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 or 160 fan assisted.
In a freestanding mixer, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy and pale in colour.
Beat the eggs and gradually add them to the butter and sugar mix.
Add the flour, I do this in the freestanding mixer and it works perfectly without making the sponge dense.
Add the zest and the juice from one lemon to the mixture.
Spoon into the prepared tins. (If you would like to add the lemon curd, spoon a little of the cake mixture into the base of the tin, add a teaspoon of curd and then top with more cake, until the case is two thirds full - pic above)
Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer comes out clean, checking after 15 minutes.
Remove from oven but leave the cakes in the tin.
Meanwhile, zest the remaining lemon and mix with 25g of the granulated sugar. Reserve.
Squeeze the lemon juice into a small saucepan with the remaining sugar. Heat gently, stirring occasionally. When the sugar has dissolved simmer gently for 3-4 minutes until syrupy.
Skewer the cakes all over.
Sprinkle the lemon zest and sugar over the top of the cake and then drizzle over the syrup and leave to cool.
Lemon Curd - Adapted from Rachel Allen Bake
150g caster sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 egg yolk
Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest and juice into a medium size saucepan.
Sieve the eggs and egg yolk into the saucepan, this breaks up the egg white and prevents long strands of cooked eggs through the mix.
Put the saucepan onto a low heat and stir until the mixture has thickened and will coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour into a sterilised jar.
In case you're wondering - this is how stressed the cat was about the non-rising cakes.....