I do love a fancy cake but sometimes the plain looking ‘Cinderella’ ones pack the best flavour punch. This lemon syrup loaf is made with buttermilk in the batter so it’s really light and moist. It’s perfect if you want to make it a day ahead of when you need it or to be able to ‘cut and come again’ over a few days with your morning cuppa. Normally, no one wants the end pieces but as the outer golden crust is sticky with delicious lemon syrup, I’d say they were the best bits!
Makes a 900g/2lb loaf
- 225g unsalted butter
- 225g golden caster sugar
- Grated zest of 2 lemons
- 3 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
- 310g self-raising flour
- 225ml buttermilk (or natural yoghurt – not Greek-style)
- Syrup: juice of 2 lemons, 115g caster sugar, 75ml water
- Heat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a 900g loaf tin and line the base with a piece of baking parchment cut to fit.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy using an electric whisk if you have one. Beat in the lemon zest. Add the eggs gradually to prevent the mixture curdling.
- Gently fold the flour in with a spatula and then the buttermilk until it is all combined into a smooth batter.
- Pour the cake mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven on the middle shelf for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 170°C and bake for a further 45 minutes. Cover with a little foil if it turns too dark after 25 minutes. It is cooked when a slim skewer or a piece of spaghetti inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave it in the tin.
- While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Add the lemon juice, sugar and water to a pan, bring to the boil, simmer for 2 minutes, stir and remove from the heat.
- Pour all the syrup evenly over the hot cake. Allow it to cool completely in the tin and then remove carefully to a plate. Peel the baking parchment from the base before slicing it.
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