Happy Friday, you guys! Life gave me lemons and I decided cake is better than lemonade. So here we are.
This is a classic Nigella Lawson recipe from her book How To Be A Domestic Goddess. I’m pretty sure this cake makes you whatever kind of Goddess you want to be, it’s that good.
It’s moist, super duper lemon-y, and that glaze is on top is the icing on the cake that you should never be without. I’m not even a big fan of glazes, syrups and extra sugary frostings. I’m more of a dark chocolate ganache girl. But with this particular lemon beauty, the sugariness goes so well with all that tang, I have no regrets.
The original recipe calls the glaze a syrup and it’s supposed to soak right in to the cake. That didn’t happen with me (I might have used less lemon juice than I realised), but I liked it just on the top as well. It’s all sugary and crackly as it cools, kinda like donut glaze. Yum. Update: A revised soakable syrup option is in the recipe below!
In the batter itself, I added lemon juice in addition to the zest because I find Indian lemons don’t create a very ‘zesty’ zest, and I like A TON of lemon flavour. If you decide to leave out the glaze, this cake would still be right amount of lemony. The sugary glaze is only a bonus 🙂
I even toyed with the idea of adding poppy seeds, but there is something terribly comforting about a classic lemon cake and I decided not to mess with it.
I can’t think of a reason you shouldn’t make this. Even if life didn’t give you lemons, go get some 🙂
- For the cake
- 125 gms butter at room temperature (About ½ cup, I used salted)
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2 small lemons
- 4 tbsps milk
- 1 and ⅓ cup self-raising flour (Or an equal amount of regular/all-purpose flour sifted with 1 and ½ tsps baking powder)
- Pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
- For the glaze
- 4 tbsps lemon juice
- ½ cup caster or icing sugar
- See notes for a soakable syrup version
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease a 9x5 loaf tin and set aside*.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with a hand mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well.
- Zest the lemons over this mixture, then add in the juice of half a lemon.
- Add the milk and beat the whole mixture well. It might appear curdled because of the lemon juice, don't worry.
- Add the flour and salt (if using). Fold gently till combined.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cover the top with foil after about 30 minutes to prevent it from burning.
- About 5 minutes before the cake is done, make the glaze. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat and stir till the sugar has dissolved.
- Turn the oven off, take the cake out and pour the glaze over the top, spreading it over the middle and sides as best as you can. I found the glaze started hardening almost immediately, so I put the cake back in the hot (but turned off) oven, to let the glaze remain a little syrupy.
- Allow to cool before slicing, but this cake does taste really good slightly warm!
*While there's nothing wrong with a crackly sugar glaze, if you're going for more of a syrup that soaks in, here's what you do: Combine ⅛ cup plus 1 tablespoon caster sugar and the juice of 3 small lemons (or 4 if you like extra sourness) in a saucepan. Boil on low for 8 to 10 minutes until the syrup darkens and thickens a little. It will thicken further as it cools, so quickly poke holes on top of the hot cake, and pour the syrup on, making sure it seeps to the corners. Allow to cool completely before slicing.