This post is in honour of 2015 Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya (I was team Tamiya, so I’m happy!!) and her lemon drizzle showstopper last week. For those that don’t watch the Bake off (why?!), she made the wedding cake she never had, which comprised of three lemon drizzle cake sponges, and was pretty much the sweetest thing ever (no pun intended). I can’t promise this recipe will be as good as that, but it’s certainly a good recipe for one of the classics.
Apart from coinciding nicely with the Bake off final, this bake served another purpose, for which I needed a traditional English dish- remarkably, one of those points in life where things just seem to co-ordinate quite nicely! The reason I needed a traditional English dish was all down to the brilliant idea of some of my new friends here to host an international party/ buffet type event. The idea was simple- cook and bring a dish from your native country, which is great for students who like eating new food, but can’t be bothered to cook anything more complicated than pasta. It was amazing and I was very excited at the idea, but was wracking my brains as to what was traditionally English. I don’t have much patience with cooking, so established pretty early on that I would bake something but couldn’t think of anything to bake that didn’t have too many ingredients. I decided on this recipe sprung to mind for a few reasons- a) I’d not actually baked it yet, b) it’s cheap, c) it’s a classic (thanks for the recipe Gran- I know you’d be pleased to hear that I’d used it!) and d) it’s something that’s not too unusual!
So, whether you’re English or not, this is a great recipe to try out- it’s simple, with a classic flavour, and it’s a great texture! It’s a good one for students because it contains really standard ingredients, involves very minimal mixing and is a bake that everyone’s willing to try because everyone knows what it’s supposed to taste like. Although I guess that could be a negative if it turns out bad… if it does, lie and say it was supposed to be something else (I’ve never done that. Promise.)
Lemon Drizzle Cake
Preparation Time: 10 mins base, 5 mins topping
Cooking Time: 35-40 mins
225g/ 8oz Butter
225g/ 8oz Caster Sugar
275g/ 10oz Self-Raising Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
4 tbsp Milk
Rind of 2 Lemons
175g/ 6oz Granulated Sugar
Juice of 2 Lemons
1. Preheat the oven to 160C and line a tin with greaseproof paper (I used a 30x23x4cm brownie tin and baked this as a traybake.)
2. Throw (not literally, don’t get too excited) all the ingredients for the base into a bowl and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Transfer mix to tin and smooth so it’s flat.
3. Bake for 35-40 mins until the sponge springs back and a skewer comes out of the mix clean. Put aside to cool while you make the topping (on a wire cooling rack if you have one.)
4. Make the topping by mixing the sugar and juice to give a runny consistency.
5. While the sponge is still warm (but not hot) spoon the topping over the sponge.
Cooling the sponge- Wait until the sponge is cool enough to handle, then preferably transfer to cool on a wire cooling rack. If you don’t have one, improvise! We balanced a tray from the oven on top of some mugs and put an old tea towel underneath.
Cooling rack- This preferably needs to have something to catch drips, as the topping will run off the sides a bit.
Sponge- The sponge will be quite delicate so be careful transferring it from the tray to cool (if you lift up the greaseproof paper it should be fine)
Topping- Don’t faff about too much while you’re making the topping- it needs to be put on the sponge while it’s still warm
Lemon Juice- The juice of one lemon should equate to about 3 tbsp of juice, so if you have more than that keep it as a reserve.
Applying the topping- Don’t panic that it seems like loads of liquid. It should be quite a bit, as the idea is that it soaks into the sponge a lot.