This is my favorite cake of all time. I love it when we have to judge this round on The Great British Bake Off! The perfect lemon drizzle has a light and airy sponge and a sharp, zesty crunchy topping. My version has quite an intense lemony flavor, but other than that it’s a total classic and I don’t think you should mess with those classics. The only thing to remember is to pour over the drizzle while the cake is still warm.
1 stick plus 4 tbsp (175g) butter, softened, plus extra to grease the pan
¾ cup plus 2 tbsp (175g) superfine sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
3 large eggs
1⅓ cups (175g) all-purpose flour
2½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of fine salt
About 2 tbsp whole milk
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Heat your oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 2-pound (1kg) loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together, using a hand-held electric whisk, until the mixture is very light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix until smoothly combined. Add just enough milk to achieve a dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and gently smooth the surface to level it. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Once you’ve removed the cake from the oven, make the drizzle topping: mix the lemon juice and sugar together in a small pitcher. While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick to prick holes all over the top of the cake then trickle over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool completely in the pan before removing.
Excerpted from BAKE by Paul Hollywood. Text © Paul Hollywood. Photos © Haarala Hamilton. Reprinted by permission of Bloomsbury USA.
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