The grey clouds rolled in this weekend past bringing with them rain, fog and thunder – rather apt given the southern hemisphere saw in the winter solstice on Saturday night. As it often does when the weather is moody, I got a craving to bake. Whilst something dark and decadent would’ve probably suited the conditions best, I felt the need for something bright and light. So with a little inspiration from my fruit bowl, I whipped up an easy loaf cake, which filled the house with the heady scent of summer…
I’ve had a love affair with lemons for a long time. They’re such a handy ingredient to have in your kitchen – you can spritz them over a salad, let slices of them infuse your tea and don’t get me started on that wonderful mix of sweet/sour that lemon flavoured desserts capture. Our backyard lemon tree has produced some beautiful fruit this year, so a classic Madeira cake felt like a perfect way to utilise part of our crop. Nigella Lawson’s cakes almost never fail for me, so I utilised her recipe and in my opinion, it’s a winner. It’s a cake that’s traditionally served sans icing, but I felt the need for something a little extra with this bake.
In our fruit bowl, nestled beside the lemon was a particularly wrinkly looking passion fruit. My grandmother’s passion fruit icing (normally slathered atop patty cakes) immediately sprang to mind and with that I got baking.
What you’ll need
FOR THE CAKE
- 240 grams of softened unsalted butter
- 200 grams of caster sugar
- grated zest and juice of a large, unwaxed lemon
- three large eggs
- 210 grams of self-raising flour
- 90 grams of plain flour
FOR THE ICING
- one cup of icing sugar
- teaspoon of butter
- the pulp and juice of one full passion fruit
How to do it
- Preheat a fan-forced oven to 170ºc and grease and line a 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin.
- Using handheld beaters or a mixer of a stand cream together the butter sugar, then add the zest.
- Add in the eggs one at time, along with a spoonful of flour.
- Once combined add the remainder of the flour and lemon juice. Your batter should be lusciously thick and fragrant.
- Pour your cake mixture into your loaf tin and cook for about an hour – the cake should be golden and cracked on top, and an inserted skewer should come away clean.
- Turn slightly cool, turn cake onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
- To ice – add icing sugar and butter into a small bowl. Gradually spoon in passion fruit pulp, mixing well until combined. You’re aiming for quite a stiff, thick icing that’ll spread easily and not drip.
- Allow icing to set and then serve.
I love the firm, yet light texture of a Madeira cake – it’s a little more satisfying than a sponge – and the passion fruit icing works nicely with the lemon scented cake. This cake is a little slice of sunshine on a dark winter’s day, and if you can handle a little more citrus, it pairs beautifully with a bergamot flavoured tea like Early Grey. (I can drink countless cups of this one).
Have a wonderful week.