This is a sophisticated lemon cake. The key to a good lemon drizzle cake is to soak it really well and to seal it inside a crisp glaze.
Makes 3 cakes (each serving 6)
- 1 quantity of apricot nappage
- 1 quantity of water icing
- 80g (3oz / 1/3 cup / 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 220g (8oz / 1 2/3 cups) plain (all-purpose) flour
- 4g (1/8 oz / 1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 1g (a pinch) salt
- 200g (7oz) whole eggs (about 4 eggs)
- 280g (9 3/4 oz/scant 1 1/2 cups) caster (superfine) sugar
- Grated zest of 4 lemons
- 120ml (4fl oz / 1/2 cup) whipping (pouring) cream
- 20ml (3/4 fl oz) dark rum
For the Confit Lemon:
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
- 1 quantity of simple syrup
- For the Lemon Syrup:
- 200ml (7fl oz / generous 3/4 cup) lemon juice
- 80ml (3fl oz / 1/3 cup) water
- 100g (3 1/2 oz / 1/2 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
You will also need:
- three 23 × 3.5 × 6cm (9 × 11 /4 × 21 /2 inch) loaf tins
- glazing rack
1. First, make the Confit Lemon. Place the lemon slices in a saucepan filled with boiling water. Blanch for 1–2 minutes, then drain. Bring the Simple Syrup to a boil in another saucepan. Add the lemon slices, reduce to a low heat and cook for about 45 minutes, checking regularly to ensure the pan does not boil dry. Cover and leave to cool overnight in the syrup. The next day, drain off excess syrup and place the slices on a rack to dry for 1–2 hours.
2. Make the Lemon Syrup by boiling all the ingredients together in a saucepan to make a syrup.
3. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F/gas 3). Grease the loaf tins and line with silicone (baking) paper.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and leave to cool. Sieve together the flour, baking powder and salt twice into a bowl.
5. Put the eggs, sugar and lemon zest in a mixing bowl and beat together. Gradually add the cream and rum. Slowly add the butter, then fold in the dry ingredients. Spoon 300g (10 1/2 oz) cake batter into each prepared tin.
6. Bake for 25–30 minutes. To check if the cake is cooked, insert a small, sharp knife into the centre and if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and place the cakes on a wire rack to cool slightly in their tins.
7. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F/gas 6). De-mould the cakes and place them on a wire rack. Brush the cakes with the Lemon Syrup while still warm, then glaze with Apricot Nappage.
8. Prepare the Water Icing and brush onto the cakes. Return to the oven to bake for 2–3 minutes. Leave the cakes to cool, then decorate with Confit Lemon pieces.
Store in an airtight container and consume within 2–3 days.