Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ash's Grannys Lemon Drizzle Cake

It was my Mam's birthday a few weeks ago, so I asked her what type of cake she'd like me to make her and she said "oh that lovely lemony one". She wasn't referring to the lemon layer cake I made for her anniversary, no, she was talking about the lemon drizzle cake. 

I've had a bit of a testing time with lemon drizzle cake in general over the last year or so. It all started back in the Summer when my good old friend Ash was home from Dubai and gave me a slice of her Granny's lemon drizzle cake. I should point out that Ash's Granny is the queen of amazing baking! I've been sampling her baked goods since I was like eight years old and everything she makes is just unbelievable. And she's big into baking with chocolate - what more could you ask for from a Granny! Really! And don't even get me started on her millionaire slices! Anyway, when I was about to bite into the cake I was thinking: ah it's just a lemon spongey thing, and although I knew Granny had baked it, I still wasn't expecting it to be  amazing. Then I tasted it and nearly died it was soooo good. I immediately begged Ash for the recipe, I knew I just had to have this cake come live in my recipe folder. 

It took a while for the recipe to come my way, not because Granny was hesitant; she's very generous and good at sharing when it comes to her baking. I have already gotten my hands on some of her best and even secret recipes. It's just Ash was a bit slow. She won't mind me saying so! 

Anyway, in the meantime I got a bit impatient. So I was delighted when I came across a lemon drizzle recipe in a big baking book which I had for a few years and never really used. So one Saturday back in September -I think, I made it and I was so looking forward to it that I rang my parents who I knew were going to be in the area and told them they had to come visit me for tea and the most amazing cake ever. I have since learned a valuable lesson: don't ever hype up a cake from a recipe that you have never baked or tasted before! My folks stopped by and I served them some cake. And it was terrible! Like so so bad. If you could imagine eating a yorkshire pudding with a hint of lemon. That's all I'll say about that. 

So I was a tad disappointed. I immediately swore I'd never use that book again. I was also beginning to think I was a terrible baker. But when I finally got that golden email off Ash, I perked up a bit and decided that I would not be defeated by the drizzle cake! So I bought some lemons and set about baking Granny's lemon drizzle cake. I timed it so that  my lovely friend Cob was calling round for tea that day. Cob is one of my most talented friends, she's such an amazing maker/baker! (Ash is another talented one!) And Cob had tried some of Granny's original cake that time back in the Summer, so she knew the standard of cake I was trying to achieve. 

So this was going to be take two. I followed Granny's simple recipe word for word.  I then eagerly cut it up and had a slice with Cob. And, well it was OK. It was much improved from the lemon yorkshire pudding, and if I had never tasted the original I would have thought it was lovely, but it just wasn't 100%. Cob agreed, she's honest, like all good friends should be! We came to the conclusion that even though Granny's recipe didn't specify; I should have prodded the cake before adding the drizzle. I had given it a token prod or two but nowhere near enough.

My Mam sampled the cake take 2, Cob delivered a few slices to her. And she loved it. So that's why she requested it for her birthday. When she did I knew this would be my chance to master the lemon drizzle cake. Third time lucky and all that. And I'm delighted to say I did! I followed the recipe and just altered it slightly by prodding the life out of it before adding the drizzle. This did not make for the most aesthetically pleasing of birthday cakes but what it lacked in appearance it made up for in taste. I also covered a bit of it with icing so it didn't look too bad.

Job done. I mastered the lemon drizzle cake! It tasted amazing. My Mam loved it!  I loved it! Cob didn't get to try this perfected version, pity. Will make another one in the Summer for both Cob and Ash and whoever else wants a bit.

Now since I've done all the hard work; testing and altering techniques, I present you with a great recipe! In case you fancy giving it a go! 

  • 8oz self-raising flour (I used wheat and gluten free flour, just because)
  • 6 oz caster sugar 
  • 6 oz margarine
  • 1 and 1/2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 eggs size 3 ( I didn't know eggs had sizes so I don't know exactly what this means?!)
  • Grated rind of 2 lemons
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 oz granulated sugar
  • 7" x 11" tin ( for this birthday cake I used a 20cm round tin instead)

  • Grease and line tin ( I added this bit of the method!!)
  • Set oven to 180C, gas mark 4
  • Sift flour and baking powder into bowl 
  • Add sugar, margarine, eggs, lemon rind and milk

  • With a wooden spoon, mix then beat ingredients together for about 1 minute until smooth (it took me a few minutes)
  • Spoon mixture into tin and spread level
  • Bake for about 40-45 minutes until firm to touch ( I just baked mine for 33 minutes and it was done)

  •  Put lemon juice and sugar into saucepan and heat to dissolve sugar 

  • Stab/prod lots of holes into the top (I used the end of a mixer thing and also had a go with a fork!)
  • When cake is cooked spoon warm glaze over the surface

  • Then leave until it's cold
  • If you want you can always decorate it so that it looks a bit prettier!

Thanks Ash's Granny! Xx


  1. I just love lemon drizzle cake, and can't wait to give your one a try - what excuse can I come up with??? Cold weather .... you need cake during cold weather!!!!!

    Thanks Clare.

    1. Yes of course, cold weather is the perfect excuse! You need something to go with a hot cup of tea! I really love lemon drizzle cake too - yum!

  2. Cob is so sad she didn't get to taste this one but delighted that you mastered it and now she's gonna give it a go with your alterations!! Thanks Clare x

    1. Well Cob I should thank you - you really helped me master it with your advice! Don't forget to let me know when you make it. I'll be round in a flash! xx