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lemon drizzle cake


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Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total: 100 minutes

Servings: 12


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Step 1

Completely line a 9×5 inch (2 pound/900 gram) non-stick loaf tin with baking paper. (Or two one-pound tins). This can be done by taking a sheet of baking paper; placing the tin centrally and drawing round the base; folding along the drawn lines; cutting diagonally to the drawn corner points; inserting neatly into the tin and trimming any excess paper that overhangs.

Step 2

Pre-heat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas 3.

Step 3

Weigh the caster sugar into a mixing bowl and add the finely grated zest of three lemons.

Step 4

Using the back of a mixing spoon, mix the zest evenly into the sugar, crushing it against the sides of the bowl to release the lemon oil.

Step 5

In a small bowl or jug, weigh/measure the milk and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside for 10 minutes or so, to turn into buttermilk. (It will become clumpy). Make sure it has been brought to room temperature (or is gently warmed to 'tepid') before adding to the batter.

Step 6

Weigh and mix together the flour, ground almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down. Set aside.

Step 7

Add the softened butter to the mixing bowl with the lemon-sugar and beat together using an electric whisk until light and fluffy.

Step 8

In a separate small bowl, beat the eggs together with a fork to combine.

Step 9

Add the egg (a drop at a time) to the creamed butter and gently beat between each addition until well blended. If the mix starts to look like it may curdle, add a spoon of the flour and slowly beat through.

Step 10

Add about a third of the buttermilk to the bowl with a third of the flour mix and gently fold through.

Step 11

Repeat the process with the next and final third of the remaining buttermilk and flour, folding each time until just combined. (Be careful not to over-mix).

Step 12

Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top with the back of a spoon.

Step 13

Bake for approximately 55 minutes to an hour, until the cake feels 'set' and a skewer/toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, with a few crumbs attached.

Step 14

Leave the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, while you make the drizzle syrup.

Step 15

Mix the sugar with the lemon juice in a heat proof (microwavable) bowl (or in a saucepan).

Step 16

Gently heat either in a microwave or on the hob until the sugar starts to dissolve. Remove from the heat, stir and set aside.

Step 17

Lift the cake out of the tin with the support of the baking paper lining and peel back the sides of the paper (leaving the cake still attached to the base of the paper lining).

Step 18

Pierce lots of deep holes all over the top of the cake using a skewer.

Step 19

Brush and drizzle the lemon syrup a little at a time across the top of the cake, allowing it to soak into the sponge. Try to encourage the drizzle into the holes, using a baking syringe or similar if you have one. It seems like a lot of drizzle, but use it all. If it is applied bit by bit, it will be willingly soaked up by the sponge.

Step 20

Set the cake aside to cool completely and then transfer to a serving plate.

Step 21

When the cake is cool, weigh the icing sugar into a small bowl and add the lemon juice a drop at a time, stirring through until the icing sugar has dissolved into a thick paste. Only add enough lemon to make the icing just spreadable, or it will dribble off the cake.

Step 22

Use a flat knife or spatula to spread the icing across the top of the cake, encouraging just a little to the sides so that it dribbles over the edges.

Step 23

While the icing is still soft, finely grate a little lemon zest across the top.

Step 24

Enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

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