hester's lemon drizzle cake.

Preheat the oven to gasmark 5, 180 degrees C.
Thoroughly grease a cake tin, ideally one with a loose base.

In a large-ish saucepan, place 6 oz butter or cooking marge and 6 oz dark brown sugar (muscavado is good, demerara is fine if you don't have muscavado). Scrub the skins of a lemon and a lime with hot water and a stiff brush (because they're often coated with wax to preserve them), then using a zester or a nutmeg grater, grate off the zest and add to the pan. (Don't grate too deeply, you only want the coloured bit, not the white pith, as it's very bitter.)

Gently warm the butter and sugar mix until the butter is all melted and the sugar has turned to thick frangrant goop; try to make sure there are no lumps of sugar in it, especially if you're using muscavado. Take off the heat, and allow to cool a bit, stirring thoroughly now and then to combine the butter and sugar (they may not combine comletely, but do your best!).

When the mixture has cooled down to warm, rather than hot, sift in 6oz self-raising flour (or replace some of the flour with ground almonds and add some baking powder to compensate; this makes the cake lovely and moist) and add two large eggs. mix thoroughly, pour into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about half an hour, or until just cooked (a skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean, but don't let it over-cook!).

While it is baking, squeeze the juice of the lemon and the lime into a jug, and add 2oz caster sugar (or icing sugar, or granulated sugar; I tend to use granulated and that's usually fine!); mix thoroughly, to dissolve the sugar.

When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and stab it all over with a skewer. Gently spoon the lemon juice/sugar mix over the cake, allowing it to run down the skewer-holes, and trying to coat it evenly (if you're not careful, you'll get lots in the centre and lots at the edges, but in-between will be rather dry).

Leave to cool in the tin. It's fabulous served while still slightly warm, perhaps with a blob of creme fraiche or greek yogurt, but it will keep quite well for a few days in an air-tight container (so I'm told; mine never seem to last long enough to test this theory... :-).

Obviously you can halve the quantities to make a smaller cake, or increase to make more (although you don't want it too deep, or the lemon/sugar mix won't soak through evenly, and you'll end up with a cake that's soggy no top and dry at the bottom), as long as you keep the same proportions.

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posted by ramtops on 05 Oct 07 - 11616 views


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