Do you like lemons? I like lemons! Whether it’s sweet or savoury, the taste of lemon can give a dish the perfect lift that makes it go from good to woohoo.
When we were last in the UK my mother in law, B, made a cake I really liked. A Lemon Drizzle Cake, lovely and moist with just the right amount of lemoniness. It’s the type of cake that is nothing special to look at, it’s all in the texture and flavour.
The trip was in late 2010 and I’ve only now got my hand on the recipe. This turned out to be fortuitous because last night Jamie Oliver tweeted his Nan’s Lemon Drizzle Cake and it gave me a great opportunity to compare recipes. You might think that I am somewhat biased toward family, and ordinarily you would be correct, but being a huge Jamie Oliver fan this was going to make me reasonably objective.
B’s cake is pretty straight forward: Butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, lemon rind, milk. Bake. Drizzle with syrup.
Jamie’s Nan’s cake is more complex adding almond meal, poppy seeds and an icing after the drizzle.
Obviously the only way to compare the two would be to make both and taste. Right? Well yes, in theory that would be the right thing to do but since I wanted to use spelt flour in B’s recipe and I am new to using spelt flour I had no idea how it would go with almond meal. So I did the next best thing, I baked B’s cake and looked at the gazillion comments on Jamie’s site to see what people thought of his Nan’s version.
4oz (120g) butter
6 oz (180g) caster sugar
6 oz (180g) white spelt flour
2 1/2 level teaspoons baking powder
2 large eggs
grated zest and juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
2 1/2 fl oz (80ml) milk
3 extra tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 180° C/ 350°F /gasmark 4
- Cream butter with sugar till white, add eggs and beat till fluffy.
- Sift flour and baking powder into the wet mix.
- Stir until combined – don’t over work it.
- Add zest and milk.
- Mix until all combined.
- Pour into greased and floured cake tin.
- Bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
- Cool in tin for a few minutes then turn out.
- Mix lemon juice with 3 tablespoons of sugar, stir until dissolved.
- Poke all over with skewer while still hot.
- Drizzle with lemon/sugar mix and leave to cool.
B’s recipe called for self raising flour, which I replaced with spelt flour and baking powder. If you wish to use self raising flour use the same quantity as above but reduce the baking powder by 2 teaspoons. If you want to use plain wheat flour then just swap it, everything else stays the same.
Since I didn’t bake Jamie’s Nan’s cake I can only assure you that my version tasted terrific! It was light and fluffy and moist and I seriously want more. For fairness sake I really should bake the other one and not just go by other people’s comments. Many liked Jamie’s version, a lot said it was just too heavy and flat.
The boys scoffed their serving, asking for more before having finished the last bite. I was having a hard time keeping the last one for their father out of reach of sticky, little hands.
Easy, fast, yummy.
The spelt makes it easier to digest for people with wheat intolerances (like me).