When life gives you lemons…

I love how the idea of lemons, like coconuts, can cheer you up. The colour is an optical delight and the scent is just a summer olfactory stimulant. They’re also super versatile so you can find some sort of concoction anywhere – in toiletries and house care, in main viands and desserts, in cocktails and tea.

I myself am not too keen on them and always end up getting the alternative – key lime pie over lemon merengue, peach over lemon iced tea, coconut scented diffusers over lemon basil candles… I’d even choose to slap my body with berry-based lotion and shower gel than smell like a citrus tart.

So it was strange when I started craving for the scent and the taste of lemons last month. Perhaps it had something to do with us finding sunshine beyond grey clouds on a supposedly good day for a barbie. Or the idea of beating the summer heat with £1 cups of lemonade. Or just plain missing the sun. In grey and grim England.

And then there was R’s lemon syrup loaf. If you can remember, R also made those naughty brownies.

It was the hallelujah of all summer cakes and I could not stop eating it even when I’ve stuffed myself silly. I wanted to recreate it at home and have asked for the recipe which she’s gladly shared.

R’s Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake

For the batter:

175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs or 2 1/2 medium eggs
zest of 2 large lemons
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
23cm x 13cm x 7cm loaf tin buttered and lined

For the syrup:

Juice of 1 1/2 large lemons
85g icing sugar (or start with 70g and increase as per taste)

For the cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C or gas mark 4.
  2. Butter and line your loaf tin well.
  3. Cream your butter and sugar, add eggs and lemon zest beating them in well.
  4. Gently fold in the flour and the salt then add the milk and half cup of lemon juice.
  5. Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins or until cake tester comes out clean (spear a knife at the centre of the loaf)

For the syrup:

  1. Heat the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan gently until the sugar dissolves.
  2. As soon as cake is out of oven, puncture all over with skewers and pour over the syrup.
  3. Leave cake to cool completely before removing from the tin.
  4. Decorate with icing sugar and candied lemons.
I am super salivating for this now. God knows we need some sort of Summer back in the UK.

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