Appalling dearth of recipes appearing on this site at the moment – tsk tsk. I’ve been busy doing other things and also trying not to eat too many cakes and muffins, bearing in mind that shorts season is just around the corner. Also, we had a wonderful trip to South Africa last month, where we visited Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape – we had a great time getting up at 5am (eek!) and spotting everything from groups of beautiful nyala antelope, who visited our terrace every morning, to elephants, giraffes, zebras and a lioness with her three newly-minted cubs.
I particularly loved this chap, who took rather a shine to Robin – he was definitely eyeing him up, even pausing in his chewing to get a better look.
We were incredibly well looked after at our lodge – coffee and muffins warm from the oven at 5.30am before heading out on some very cold, rainy, game drives. I was well aware that this meant that the poor pastry cook had to be up and baking by at least an hour before that to achieve this.
Anyway, I was just sorting out the card from my camera and I came across some photos of a cake that I baked just before we left Turkey last December. We were in peak lemon and Seville orange season and I was running out of ideas for what to do with them next. I decided to combine an old favourite lemon poppy seed recipe with lemon drizzle – why have one or other when you can have both?
This is an extremely quick and easy cake to bake – you can literally mix it up and bake it within an hour of thinking about it – it requires no fancy techniques and is a perfect starting point if you are new to baking. It is absolutely delicious served with a cup of tea, or you could zizz it up with a dollop of crème fraiche on the side for an easy pud. Despite the lemons being wintry creatures, they always make me think of summer, so this would work at any time of the year.
Lemon poppy seed drizzle loaf
Serves 8 – 10
For the cake:
115g margarine or butter (softened at room temperature or for 10 – 15 seconds in the microwave)
115g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons, and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the drizzle:
Juice of 2 lemons
2 dessert spoons of granulated sugar (caster is too fine)
You will need a loaf tin (mine is 11cm x 21 cm), lined with a parchment liner
Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC.
Put the softened butter or margarine, sugar, eggs and half of the flour in a mixing bowl. Whisk until smooth (an electric whisk makes this easy if you have one).
Fold in the rest of the flour, along with the baking powder, poppy seeds, and lemon zest and juice
Scrape the batter into the lined loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes – the cake should be a deep golden brown and well risen. It may well have developed a cracked surface – this is completely normal.
Leave the cake in the tin and poke it all over with a skewer (or in my case, a roasting fork, as I don’t seem to own a skewer). Juice the lemons for the drizzle and briefly stir in the sugar. Drizzle the juice/sugar mixture all over the surface of the cake, then leave to cool in the tin.