This cake is an upgraded lemon drizzle. Soft on the inside with a crackly sugar and almond crust, soaked in a tart lemon syrup fresh out the oven.
I first made a version of it in May when me, Tiger, Jess and Sue were moving out our flat. Amongst the tins of chopped tomatoes and packets of rice left in our cupboards we had lemons, walnuts, ground almonds and some yoghurt in the fridge. I made a cake out of them. And it was PENG. So, I wrote the recipe on the back of a Sainsbury’s receipt and have fiddled about with it all summer. I’m still working off that receipt now, with all the changes to the recipe scribbled on top of each other.
The original cake – the May one – sunk slightly in the middle. I altered the recipe, so it rises…how you would expect a cake to rise, but I think the original sunken state is important to remember. This cake has a heavy heart.
It feels right that I’m only writing up this recipe now. It’s a cake that marks change, I think. Fitting – we’re now juuuuust about to fall into autumn and in about a week, I’ll be moving back to Glasgow, into a new flat, this time, just for me and Tiger.
Gluten and Dairy Free Notes – This cake does well being made Dairy Free by replacing the butter and yoghurt with DF spread and a DF yoghurt. I’ve also made this cake Gluten Free by replacing the flour with a gluten free plain flour. In both cases, you couldn’t tell the difference.
For the Cake
- 2 large lemons – zest of both and 2 tbs juice
- 60g greek yoghurt – any plain, thick yoghurt will do
- 180g butter – softened
- 200g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 medium eggs – or 2 large eggs
- 200g ground almonds
- 100g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbs vegetable oil – 15 ml
For the Almond Topping
- 30g flaked almonds
- 30g caster sugar
For the Syrup
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs water
- 50g caster sugar
Pre heat the oven to 180 or 160 fan. Grease and line a 20cm/8inch round cake tin.
Zest and juice the lemons and set aside. The zest and some of the juice will be added to the batter. There will be enough lemon juice for the syrup you will make later, so don’t get rid of any at this stage.
In a small bowl or jug mix the yoghurt and lemon juice (2 tbs), set aside while you make the rest of the batter.
Beat the lemon zest, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until just fluffed up around the sides of the bowl. I use an electric whisk for this. Next, add in one egg at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition.
To the butter mix, add all the other ingredients – ground almonds, flour, baking powder, yoghurt and lemon juice mixture and vegetable oil. Beat together just until a homogenous batter forms.
Pour the batter into the cake tin and top with the caster sugar and flaked almonds (30g of each). Bake for about 45-50 minutes, until a knife inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Check a little earlier if your oven runs hot.
While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. In a small heavy bottom saucepan, mix the lemon juice (3 tbs), water and sugar. Heat on a medium/high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the syrup to the boil and allow it to bubble for one minute. Set aside to cool slightly.
When the cake comes out the oven, pour over the syrup slowly, allowing it to soak in. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15/20 minutes before turning it out.