Did you ever eat Mr Kipling's Iced Lemon Slices as a child? I did, and those are what this cake reminds me of - only this is so, so much better. Gone are the sweeteners and additives and processed flavours, and in are the tang of real lemon juice, the knowledge that every ingredient is natural, and that, really, cake can't be too unhealthy when it tastes this good.
I made this for afternoon tea for my mum, my aunt, and I, and we all ended up having seconds. There's something about the lemon sugar topping (which hardens to a lovely crisp shell once cooled) that melts in your mouth, and the lightness of the lemon sponge. It feels like spring and summer combined, the hopefulness of longer, lighter evenings, warm breezes and the joy of still wearing just a t-shirt and shorts when you realise it's actually almost bedtime. I love this cake. I really, really love this cake.
CRUNCHY TOP LEMON CAKE
Yield: one 7-inch cake
for the cake
100g (just under 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
175g (3/4 cup) golden caster sugar
175g (1 2/5 cup) self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons milk
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
for the topping
juice of 1 lemon
100g (just under 1/2 cup) golden caster sugar
Heat your oven to 160C fan / 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4.
Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 7in cake tin.
- Place all the cake ingredients in the bowl of your mixer (I like to put the dry ingredients at the bottom so I don't make flour clouds in my kitchen when I turn it on!) and beat for about 2 minutes until smooth and fully incorporated.
- Pour into your cake tin, levelling the surface to ensure an even bake. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when you touch your finger to it, and it's coming away from the edges of the tin.
- Whilst the cake is baking, mix together the lemon juice and sugar to form the topping. Once the cake is removed from the oven (and still in the tin), spread the topping mixture evenly across the top and leave to cool completely in the tin. Once cooled, turn out and serve!
Source: Mary Berry's Baking Bible, p72