Baking cakes needs an occasion in my house. With just MTV boyfriend to feed if I make a cake I have to resort to taking leftovers in to work. My parents coming to visit last week offered the perfect excuse to whip up a cake so that there would always be a slice around to nibble on as we drank copious cups of tea.
I decided on lemon drizzle cake, a favourite because of its moistness and tangy lemon flavour. Really it is the perfect cake to accompany tea or coffee. Lemon drizzle cake is of course, all about the drizzle. It is lots of fun to spend time artistically dribbling the icing down the edge of the cake. This version of lemon drizzle cake includes tiny poppy seeds giving the cake a soft crunch and delicate nutty flavour.
The dry ingredients
775g caster sugar
30g poppy seeds
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
550g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 egg whites
125g icing sugar
Cake mixture ready to have the egg whites added
1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
2. Zest two of the lemons and beat the lemon zest, butter, 375g of sugar and 25g of poppy seeds until all the ingredients are well mixed.
3. Carefully add the milk and vanilla essence until well mixed and the entire mixture is pale and creamy.
4. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt and then carefully add it into the main mixture.
5. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form and then carefully fold the egg mixture into the cake mixture being careful not to lose the lightness and fluffiness of the whisked eggs.
6. Dust a ring cake tin with flour and pour the mixture in, smoothing out the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
7. While the cake is baking juice 2 lemons and put the juice, 400g of sugar and 500ml of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat. Boil until it has reduced by half or is of a syrupy consistency.
8. As soon as the hot cake comes out of the oven pour the lemon and sugar mixture over the top while it is still in the tin. The mixture will soak into the cake and infuse it with flavour. If it is not absorbing in the cake, make a few thin holes in the cake using a knife or skewer.
9. Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
10. Juice half a lemon and mix it with the icing sugar until it is completley smooth to make the lemon drizzle. It should be thick but pourable. Once the cake is cool pour the drizzle mixture over and then use the remaining 5g of poppy seeds to decorate.