I can’t believe I missed the Great British Bake-Off this year. It’s like I’d been asleep for the last 3 months. I only actually came to realise it had been on when my work colleague said ‘I can’t believe I missed the Bake-Off final this week’! Missed the final, I’d missed the whole ten weeks. Well thank god for iPlayer. Especially now I can watch it on my new smart TV rather than on the tiny iPad screen. It’s changed my life (a very dramatic statement and probably a slight exaggeration). And it’s almost as good as watching it on TV except when it decides to start buffering for 5 minutes.
So, back to the Bake-Off. Those contestants are amazing. They can bake everything. I mean I’m ok at a cake or biscuits or perhaps a crumble or two but if anyone asks me to make a strudel I’d fall to pieces like flaky pastry. But these guys are stars, even the poor contestant that gets kicked out in week one! And the winner, what a guy. An amazing baker and what a great soldier. The amount of blood there was the week he cut his hand, I honestly had to look away and I work in a hospital!
But, for me the Bake-Off isn’t just about entertainment, it’s about inspiration. Most people can make a cake, but it’s making a really good cake that I aspire to. The one where everyone fights over the last piece. And this lemon drizzle cake is the one. I am generally quite critical about my own food but I loved this one. So much so that I made sure it was me that ate the last piece!
140g caster sugar
150g soft margarine, plus extra for greasing
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour (sieved)
Icing sugar for dusting
For the syrup: 110g icing sugar, 50ml of fresh lemon juice
– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
– Grease a 7 inch square cake tin and line with non-stick baking paper
– Place the eggs, caster sugar and margarine in a a mixing bowl and beat hard until smooth and fluffy. It is best to use an electric hand mixer to do this
– Stir in the lemon rind
– Fold in the sieved flour lightly and evenly
– Stir in the milk and mix – Pour mixture into the cake tin and spread evenly so the top is level
– Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown, firm to touch and a skewer comes out clean
– Remove from the oven and stand the tin on a wire rack to cool
– Just before the cake is cool make the syrup. Place the icing sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat gently. Stir until sugar dissolves, do not boil!
– Prick the cake all over with a skewer and spoon the hot syrup evenly over the top, allowing it to be absorbed
– Leave to cool in the tin and then turn the cake out and cut into even pieces
– Dust with a little icing sugar before serving
(original recipe taken from the Big Book of Baking, amendments by yours truly!)