I love baking but both time and the waistline mean I don’t do it as often as I used to. I do like to whip up a simple cake every now and then, definately beats snacking on packet biscuits when the need for something sweet hits you.
One of the easiest and most satisfying cakes to make is the good ol’ Lemon Syrup Cake. My mum used to make a great version with a really fine dense crumb from a tattered old Women’s Weekly cookbook, and lately I’ve been using a receipe from Nigella Lawson’s ‘How To Be a Domestic Goddess’. Her recipe produces a cake with a coarser crumb, pretty good, but for sentimental reasons I still prefer the Women’s Weekly version.
Essentially a basic butter cake recipe, this takes just minutes to mix together and whack in the oven. What really makes it delicious is the hot lemon sugar syrup your pour over the cake just after you take it out of the oven. (Hint: the ends of the cake are the best bit as they have the highest concentration of yummy, sticky, tart lemon syrup). The Women’s Weekly version includes the somewhat bizarre addition of chopped nuts, but mum always left them out.
Try them out and see which version you prefer. Both are delicious and are sturdy enough to make a nice lunch box treat to snack on at work or school.
Lemon Syrup Loaf Cake from ‘How To Be A Domestic Godess’ by Nigella Lawson
125 g unsalted butter
175 caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175 g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of milk
juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons (about 4 tbsp)
100g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180 C and butter and line a loaf tin. Cream together butter and sugar, then add eggs and lemons zest, beating them in well. Add flour and salt, folding in gently and then add the milk. Spoon mixture in to tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Meanwhile, while the cake is cooking make the syrup. Put the lemon juice and sugar in small saucepan and heat gently until sugar dissolves. Cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes on low heat.
As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture the top of the cake all oever with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top, make sure the middle absorbs syrup as well as the sides, then leave to soak up the rest. Remove from tin once cake is completely cold.
Fresh Lemon Loaf from Australian Womens Weekly Cookbook circa 1974
4 oz butter (approx 115 grams)
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp milk
1/4 cup chopped nuts (always omitted by me, but you might like to try it with nuts)
granted rind and juice of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup caster sugar, extra
Preheat the oven to 180 C and butter and line a loaf tin. Cream butter well, add sugar and beat again. Add eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition. Sift flour and salt, add alternately with milk. Add nuts (if using) and lemon rind. Pour into tin and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.
Put the lemon juice and sugar in small saucepan and heat gently until sugar dissolves. When cake is cooked and hot from the oven, pour the lemon mixture over. Leave to cool in tin.
So which one do you prefer? Preparation is only around 15 minutes, with another 45 minutes for baking – in less than one hour you can be enjoying one these store cupboard classics!