Everyone has a go-to recipe, a tried and tested reliable favourite. This is mine. A warning, you will end up with a very sticky kitchen. At least you will if you bake like I do, which involves every work surface available to me and an entirely excessive number of wooden spoons. However, it is nothing that a bowl of soapy water won’t fix, and the result is more than worth it.
I initially found the recipe here, and had great success with it. I have made changes over time, mostly the icing drizzle on top and preferring to cream together the butter and sugar first, just to get rid of lumps.
As becomes apparent from the photographs, this was another occasion when I increased the quantities, dare I admit that I actually quadrupled this recipe. In my (admittedly limited) defence we are visiting multiple family members tomorrow for Father’s Day and each household will have a donation of cake, so it honestly isn't all for me.
I would love to say I do sometimes bake a small batch of something but my approach tends to be, if I’m making some for me, I might as well make more and share it. I think the fact that I own three loaf tins says it all really.
The recipe below is just for one loaf cake, but as I have shown it can easily be increased. It has taken me many attempts to develop my now foolproof method of soaking the syrup into the cake, which is to pour it from a measuring jug while the cake is on a cooling rack, with a baking tray underneath to collect the drips. I then transfer the contents of the baking tray back to the jug, and repeat the soaking process between three and five times, depending on a combination of my patience levels, and the amount of syrup left.
I drizzle the icing using a teaspoon and a natty little flicking movement. Unfortunately I get rather carried away and often find a nice spatter effect up the sides of the nearest (and sometimes farthest) kitchen cupboards.
I’m not sure if I should make this next admission, in case it provides you just a little too much insight into my psyche. When I’m skewering the cake to make holes for the syrup to soak in, I pretend I’m a magician doing that trick with the person in the box. Was that a step too far, I fear I am verging on oversharing? I promise you don’t have to do that*, and this will still be an amazing cake.
Ingredients (Makes one loaf cake)
175g softened butter
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
175g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
Zest of 1-2 limes and 1-2 lemons
Juice of 1-2 limes and 1-2 lemons
100g granulated sugar
75g icing sugar
- Preheat oven to 180° and grease a standard loaf tin.
- Cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and stir in. Add flour, baking powder and lemon and lime zest. Stir mixture well and transfer to tin.
- Bake in centre of the oven until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Whilst cake is baking, combine lemon and lime juice. Keep back a tablespoon of juice, and combine the rest with granulated sugar in a small pan. Cook over a low heat until sugar dissolved.
- When cake is cooked, transfer to cooling rack and place a baking tray underneath. Use a skewer to pierce holes across the surface of the cake from top to bottom (Abracadabra!).
- Transfer syrup to a jug and pour over the cake. When the drips have collected in the tray transfer them back the jug and repeat. Ideally do this around five times, or until all the syrup is used up.
- When the cake has cooled, combine the remaining juice with icing sugar. Add the icing sugar in stages until a thick, but runny consistency is achieved.
- Use a teaspoon to drizzle the icing over the cake.
*bet you will though, just for a minute when you think nobody is looking