Luscious Lemon Cake

To say a big 'thank-you' to my driving instructor for primarily putting up with my whinging for almost a year,  and secondly sending me on my way to passing my test last Thursday (better late than never), I made her this lovely lemon cake. In some ways, yes it was cruel to make my mum's favourite cake and have it lingering around the house when she was slimming, but oh well!

Despite the amount of lemon that goes into it, this cake is actually quite sweet and sticky from all of the sugars, but lovely and light thanks to the summery, citrus tang. If you wanted an extra-gooey sweet lemon cake, you could always add a bit of honey, or if you wanted a bit more of the citrus aspect, you could chuck in a bit of orange zest, either into the cake mixture or the icing.

The rest of my family were a bit upset that they wouldn't get to try any of this one as it was being sent off as a gift, but luckily for them (and me!) I managed to get a few cupcakes out of the left-over mixture. Not so good for my mum who had to sit and watch us eat them though. Sorry ma!


For the cake:
  • The zest of 2 lemons
  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 250g margarine
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • Half a tablespoon of baking powder 
  • 2 drops of lemon flavouring 
  • A pinch of salt 
For the icing:
  • 275g icing sugar
  • 125g margarine
  • The zest and juice of 1 lemon

How to make it:

1. Grease and line two sandwich tins and set the oven to 180ºC.

2. Put the margarine in a large mixing bowl and start to cream it just to make it a bit softer for when you add the sugar. Add the sugar and cream together with the margarine until it's pale in colour and light in texture. If you lift some on the spoon, it should all just fall back into the bowl in one piece without you having to shake it off. You'll need to beat it well for about 5 minutes for this to be properly done.

3. Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating it well into the mixture and add the milk. Then sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture, folding it in at first before mixing it well. Although I used self-raising flour, adding a bit of baking powder to the mixture too just gives the cake that extra boost. Add a pinch of salt just to bring the flavours out more.

4. Mix in the grated zest of two lemons, then add the juice of one and a couple of drops of lemon flavouring (this tastes a little bit sweeter than the lemon juice). Once nicely mixed together, separate the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until they start to go a bit golden on the top.

5. To make sure they are cooked all the way through, stick a skewer into the middle- it'll come out clean if it's done. Leave the cakes to cool for another half an hour.

6. To make the icing, add the margarine to a bowl and mix it a bit to soften it up- this also makes it easier when you add the icing sugar and gives a creamier taste. Add the juice and zest of a lemon and roughly mix it with the margarine, making sure not to spill it. Add the icing sugar a bit at a time to save it flying everywhere and also to make the icing smoother, mixing it well each time.

7. When this is done, I spread half of the mixture on top of one of the cakes to act as cement to hold them both together (this bit doesn't need to be neat as you don't see it!). For the very top cake, I used a piping tool with a straight nozzle (see picture below!), going backwards and forwards in horizontal lines, starting from the top of the cake. When the whole cake was covered like this, I used the same technique but went across the cake using vertical lines instead, creating a criss-cross style pattern. For the final layer, I used horizontal lines again. 

8. In my cake decorating tub (yes, I do actually have one of those), I found some little icing flowers I'd bought a couple of months back, and decorated the cake with those. I sprinkled a bit of lemon zest over the cake too, but it isn't necessary.

And there's my double-layer lemon cake with creamy, citrus buttercream icing. It's fresh, tangy but also indulgent. Here are the cute little cupcakes I managed to make from the mixture too:

Let me know if you try this recipe out- happy baking!

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