As a child, lemons were my nemesis. I couldn’t stand the taste of lemon squash or lemon mousse and so politely avoided most lemon flavoured things (including cakes, and I don’t know how I had the willpower to do that!) until one day the whole world of fresh, naturally flavoured lemon cooking was opened up to me in my adolescence by a friends and wow I have never looked back.
Recently I’ve been seeing lemon and blueberry cakes crop up everywhere, and after sampling a few (dozen) slices I decided it was high time that I attempted to recreate this tangy, sweet, zingy masterpiece in my own kitchen. Now, this recipe is not for the faint hearted when it comes to really chucking the ingredients in but boy is it delicious. Plus, if you add the lemon drizzle touch at the end, the cake stays moist for ages so you can impress your friends for your socially distanced cup of tea with your delicious fresh cake!
- 250g softened unsalted butter
- 250g self-raising flour (plus a little spare)
- 225g golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- Half a teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 lemon
- A large handful of frozen blueberries
- A 21cm x 8cm loaf tin.
Grease your loaf in, I find a splash of vegetable oil works nicely with a sprinkling of flour around the bottom corners too, just to be sure.
Pre-heat your oven (fan ovens are ideal for this as it’s quite a hefty cake and the heat distribution is key in getting it right) to 170 degrees.
Using the classic creaming method, mix together your butter and sugar fairly briskly until it forms a unified pale and smooth consistency. Then crack your eggs in one by one and mix as you go. If you’ve been using an electric mixer/whisk then now’s the time to put that down and grab a wooden spoon or ideally a spatula and slowly sift in your flour and baking powder, folding gently. The key is not knocking the air out of it during this process.
Once you feel like the mixture is almost fully combined, grate the zest of one whole lemon into the mix, along with its juice. Gently stir this all together to evenly distribute the flavour.
In a small separate bowl add about a dessert spoon of flour and your frozen blueberries. Toss the blueberries around in the flour to make sure they’re all coated.
Pour about a third of your cake batter into the loaf in, then add half of your flour covered blueberries, cover them with another third of cake batter and repeat with the blueberries until finally you have layered up all your blueberries and cake batter. I like to then poke around a bit to make sure the blueberries are distributed throughout the batter. The theory behind coating them in four before you add them to the mix is that this helps them not sink down through the cake too much (although this is not completely fool proof!) and also helps to soak up some of the additional moisture that you find in a cake containing fresh fruit.
Pop this whole creation into the oven for between 50-minutes and 1-hour, or until a knife comes out clean.
If you’re going full lemon drizzle on this, then once it’s out and just starting to cool down, mix together some granulated sugar and lemon juice and pour over the top.
Then, grab yourself a slice and enjoy!
Normally, I love just a big mug classic ‘builder’s brew’ but there’s something about this fragrant and fresh cake that means I absolutely love a cup of Earl Grey with it. Yum.