This cake is similar to lemon drizzle cake, but better. The major differences are:
- Lots of whisking to make it really light and fluffy
- Icing sugar as a glaze instead of regular sugar for the drizzle
- 113g (1/2 cup) butter
- 113g (1/2 cup) margarine
- 3 lemons
- 175g (3/4 cup) sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 280g (2 cups) all-purpose flour (wheat or gluten free)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons milk
Preheat the oven 160C or 350F. Grease and flour 2 sandwich tins or a loaf tin, or really whatever tin you have.
Grate the skin of 3 lemons. (Put a microplane zester on your kitchen wishlist – it makes the work easier).
In a large bowl, put the grated lemon, 113g butter, 113g margarine, and 175g sugar. Using a hand whisk mix for 5 minutes (put a timer on – it will be worth it).
Next whisk in the 3 eggs one at a time. When all the eggs are combined, whisk for 2 minutes (light cakes take work).
To the butter mixture, add the flour in two stages. First, add 140g flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and a pinch of salt to the butter mixture and whisk until combined.
Next add 6 tablespoons milk and whisk until combined.
Finally, add the remaining 140g flour. Whisk until just combined.
Pour the cake batter into the 2 sandwich tins or 1 loaf pan as equally as possible.
Bake for 20-30 minutes. Remember after about 10/15 minutes rotate the pan in the oven. The cake is ready when a knife when inserted in the centre comes out clean.
In the meantime juice the 2 lemons and add 2-3 tablespoons of icing sugar (should taste more sharp than sweet to balance the cake’s sweetness).
When the cake is ready, let it cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then poke the cake all over with the knife. Brush the lemon glaze over the warm cake. Leave the cake to cool completely.
For a festive cake, once cooled, sandwich with swiss meringue butter cream. Smile.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
This buttercream is absolutely delicious and not too sweet. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like icing (except for ganache – which is essentially chocolate).
First things first. You will need a stand mixer. My first attempt was with my hand whisk and it was totally frustrating. The little motor heated up and so the process took forever. And the result wasn’t the same as with a powerful stand mixer.
By the way, it’s time consuming to make. Even if you use a stand mixer, it will take almost an hour. This icing is a labour of love. So either do it for someone you really love, or are getting some good money for, or you just have the time, desire, and tools to learn.
Besides the stand mixer, you need a digital scale and unsalted butter. And finally, it’s really important to separate the egg whites properly; no trace of yolk is allowed. See here on how to separate egg whites.
Basically the ratio is 1:2:3 = eggs:sugar:butter. With that ratio, you can adjust as needed.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 210g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 140g sugar
- 70g egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Tiny pinch of salt
DirectionsHeat a couple inches of water in a pot. It should be a gentle simmer (not boiling).
Clean the stainless steel bowl of the stand mixer thoroughly and wipe down with vinegar. Sit the bowl on the pot but it should not touch the water. This is called a double bath.
Pour the egg whites and sugar into the stainless steel bowl of the stand mixer. Stir the mixture with a whisk. The point is to get the sugar to dissolve. Dip your finger (the mixture is very warm) and rub against your thumb. If you can still feel the sugar granules, keep gently stirring. As the sugar dissolves, the mixture becomes watery. Keep going until the sugar completely dissolves (when you rub and don’t feel any granules). If you have a digital thermometer, the temperature is 60C. Remove from the heat.
Now to make the meringue. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer. Use the whisk attachment. Whisk to firm peaks on medium to fast speed. This could take from 10 to 15 minutes. (Random sidenote: isn’t that the most brilliant white ever?)
Let the mix cool down (around 10 to 15 minutes). It has become quite sticky.
Now, back to whisking. Add the soft but firm room temperature butter bit by bit. Whisk at medium to high speed. At some point, it will look a little strange (like it has curdled), don’t worry. Keep whisking. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a tiny pinch of salt. This takes about 10-20 minutes.
A tip from the sugargeekshow: if it still tastes like butter, keep whisking. It is ready to use when it tastes like cream and not butter.
Also, another optional step for really smooth buttercream is to switch to the paddle attachment and beat it on low for an extra 10 minutes.