Lemon drizzle loaf

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Oh Christmas holidays – how have you disappeared so quickly? Two weeks seem to have flown by and tomorrow it’s back to work for us teachers (to the delight of parents around the country!) I was quite poorly at the beginning of the holidays with a nasty flu-like cold and have been feeling decidedly lacklustre for most of this week but luckily have been feeling well enough to bake over the last few days. Wanting to make the most of the precious days of freedom I have been baking at every given opportunity. This was the first thing on my list. Dashing around Tesco on New Year’s Eve I spotted some unwaxed lemons that were reduced. Knowing that I wanted to make a lemon and cranberry bundt I snapped them up. I was given Holly Bell’s ‘Recipes from a Normal Mum’ for Christmas (thanks Dot and Martin!) and have recently started following her on Twitter. She posted about her 10 most popular blog posts and this recipe was one of those posts. As I was meeting up with one of my fellow teachers to do some planning I thought this might aid our brain cells and as I had my bargain unwaxed lemons that needed using it seemed like a winning combination. Plus I’ve never made a lemon drizzle cake (shocking I know!)

This makes a lovely moist, lemony loaf cake – Mr Birdie gave it his approval apart from the fact it didn’t have a sugary topping (this has been noted!). You can use any size loaf tin you have – I used a 2lb one. According to Holly for a larger pan the bake time is usually less as the cake is less thick and for a smaller tin the bake time is usually longer.

Ingredients:

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For the cake
175g margarine/soft butter (I used Aldi’s baking spread)
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs (beaten, at room temperature)
Zest of 3 lemons
3 tablspoons whole milk (I used semi-skimmed)
175g self raising flour

For the topping
50g caster sugar
Juice of 3 lemons

Method:
1) Grease and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 170C and check that you have a rack in the centre of the oven.
2) Cream the margarine/butter with 175g caster sugar until really light and creamy. This will take about 4 minutes in a stand mixer (I used a hand-held electric whisk). Add the beaten egg gradually, dribble by dribble. Then add the zest and the milk. (Don’t worry if the mixture curdles!)

3) Fold in the flour with a metal spoon, pour into your tin and level with the back of a spoon.

4) Bake for about 40 minutes until golden on the top and a skewer comes out clean from the middle.

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5) Leave to cool slightly on a wire rack still in the tin and then make the sugar syrup by heating the juice of 3 lemons with 50g of caster sugar for about 2 minutes until the sugar dissolves and is just starting to bubble away. Poke lots of holes in your cake with a skewer and pour the syrup over the top, being careful not to let it all seep down the sides (you don’t want to drizzle the bottom of your cake only!)

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