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Recipe: Nigella Lawson’s Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake

by Erika David

Longing for a lemony treat, I put British food writer and ABC’s The Taste judge Nigella Lawson’s Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake from her book ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ to the test. After a slight headache from converting the imperial measures to metric ones, the procedure was straightforward. I didn’t follow it to a T; I substituted self-rising flour with all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt, and doubled the amount of lemon zest because I wanted the citrus flavour to sing.

The aroma that filled the kitchen while it baked made my head spin. And waiting for it to cool before digging in was plain cruel. But when it came time for that first bite, all was right in the world.

(photo by Erika David)

The golden brown exterior gives way to a delightfully moist middle that’s delicate but deceptively light because it’s swollen with butter. Further dampened with a lip-puckering lemon syrup sinking from the pierced top, the sweet and tart juices also awaken the citrus notes embedded in the loaf. The overall result? Victory in a simple, buttery, irresistibly lemony wonder!

 

Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook: 40-45 minutes

 

Ingredients

Loaf

1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon butter, softened

3/4 cup white granulated sugar

Zest of 2 lemons

2 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons milk

Lemon Syrup

1/3 cup and 1 tablespoon icing sugar

Juice of 1 and 1/2 lemons

 

Directions

1. Position the rack at the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.

2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add lemon zest and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Don’t worry if the mixture begins to curdle.

3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Add milk. Mix until all ingredients are just combined.

4. Pour batter into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

5. In the last 20 minutes of baking, prepare lemon syrup by dissolving icing sugar in lemon juice in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Do not let it boil.

6. When the loaf is done, puncture it everywhere and let it rest for 5 minutes. Spoon lemon syrup all over the cake. Let it cool completely in the tin before transferring to a serving platter.