Lemon Syrup Cake from ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson
125g unsalted butter (I use Lurpak the wrapper is marked in 25gm’s – saves weighing!)
175g caster sugar
2 extra large eggs
Zest of 1 very large lemon (I use zest of 2- 3 lemons, dependent upon size)
175g self raising flour (I use McDougalls Supreme Sponge SR Flour)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons of milk
100g sultanas or similar (this is optional but makes a nice variation)
Juice of 1 very large lemon (about 4 tbsp) (I use the juice of 2-3 lemons)
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, then bring to the boil until the syrup becomes clear then remove from the heat and allow to cool.
As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture the top of the cake all over 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.
*I use 2-3 lemons for zest and juice because the recipe amounts were insufficient.
Same recipe as above but spooned into muffin papers (about 2/3 full) will make approximately 10-11 muffins; bake for approximately 20 minutes in the middle of the oven at 180c (until risen and golden brown). I test them with a skewer and it comes out clean they are done; add the syrup in the same way as the cake.
Autumn Muffin Variation
As with the standard muffin variation but with this one I add:
200g apple compote (recipe of your choice but I recommend the River Cottage version but increase the sugar to 100g – see below)
½ tsp of mixed spice or Nutmeg/Cinnamon to taste
River Cottage Apple Compote
1kg of apples (The recipe suggests Bramley’s however I got better results using Braeburns, but generally I would suggest using your preferred variety of apple.)
Zest & juice of one medium orange
Zest & juice of one lemon
100g caster sugar
Place the ingredients in a saucepan over a low heat and simmer until it reduces to your preferred consistency – the remaining 800g (not used for muffins) makes excellent apple crumble.
This is a simple variation – follow the recipe as above but leave out the lemon zest and you will not be making the syrup. Instead when adding the milk add half a tablespoon of vanilla extract/essence to the mixture and then bake as normal as either loaf or muffin; this will create a light vanilla flavour that would go well with chocolate chips (the mixture is stiff enough to support them) and/or frosting. You could, of course, use any flavouring you like – hazel nut goes well with chocolate chips etc. (if you use chocolate chips, I normally find 100g to be enough)
For the best chocolate icing you will have to go a long way to beat this (from Nigella’s Chocolate Cherry Cupcake Recipe):
100g dark chocolate
100ml double cream
When the cupcakes are cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk – by hand or electrically – till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon decorate to taste.
Cream Cheese Frosting
This is one of the best cream cheese frosting recipes I have found and the really nice thing about this is it is scaleable; I normally halve the quantities to produce a smaller batch. The frosting also lends itself to flavouring and colouring quite nicely; I made a very nice green peppermint frosting for Hallowe’en.
300g of cream cheese (I get the best results using mascarpone)
150g icing (confectioners) sugar
125ml double cream
Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, either by hand or in a mixer, then sieve the icing (confectioners) sugar into the bowl with the cream cheese and mix until smooth; finally add the double cream and beat again until it forms a smooth spreadable consistency. Frost the cupcakes with as much or little as you like and decorate as you prefer.