Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Lemon and Blueberry Syrup Loaf

So my attention has been rather monopolised these past few weeks.  At the start of August the Hubby and I welcomed two new additions to our home.  We are now the proud owners of two gorgeous Siberian kittens.  We have been waiting for them since January so were very excited when we were finally able to go and collect them from Liverpool.  It involved six hours of trains either way but it was worth it.  They are just the most beautiful creatures ever, as well as the cuddliest.  They love to curl up with you on the sofa and it is wonderful.  They make me so happy.  They are also very distracting.  That's not to say they have stopped me baking.  It's more that they stop me updating the blog.  Trying to do food photography in a small flat with two curious kittens is quite tricky.  As is trying to type anything as they want to sit on either you or the keyboard.  There's also not been a huge amount of new innovation in terms of what I have baked.  I've been doing a lot of favourites recently, so there's not been anything new.

Until the Hubby's birthday!  I always aim to do a new recipe for that, though it often involves similar flavour combinations.  This year was no different, as I was asked for the usual mix of lemon and blueberries.  I decided I wanted to do a take on a lemon drizzle cake.  The one the recipe is based off is a Nigella recipe, which was just lemon.  The idea of the syrupy 'icing' made it sound a bit more decadent than a normal drizzle cake and so I adapted it to my needs.

The first version I did of this cake was for the Hubby's birthday and it was not a loaf cake.  The Hubby wanted a round cake so I made it in an 8inch tin circular tin instead.  I personally did not like how it looked because it felt a bit flat.  I feel a round cake needs layers.  I much prefer the loaf look.  Since I didn't photograph it first time due to time issues, I decided to do it loaf shaped for the second version.  I also altered the recipe slightly by adding a little more flour and a little less milk.  The blueberries sank in the first one because the batter was too runny.  I wanted a thicker batter for the second one.  It worked much better.  I also used much bigger lemons and added more zest to get a much more distinct lemon-y flavour.  The second one was definitely much better overall.  Even the texture was nicer, though maybe that was down to my recent acquisition that I purchased with my birthday money: my very own KitchenAid Artisan mixer.  Yellow, of course.

The cake was very well received.  The Hubby was really happy.  He prefers the round one but everyone else liked the loaf better.  The syrup and berries make it a very juicy cake but not too wet.  It was delicious.  It goes really well with ice cream and strawberries too.

Recipe - inspired by How To Be A Domestic Goddess
Makes 1 x 1kg/2lb loaf

  • 175g/6oz caster sugar 
  • 125g/4.5oz butter
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 2 large eggs
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 115g/4oz blueberries
  • 155g/5.5oz icing sugar
  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • 85g/3oz blueberries
  1. Grease and line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin.  Cut the greaseproof paper so it hangs over the edge to make it easier to remove the cake after baking.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  3. In a large bowl beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Mix in the lemon zest.
  5. Add the eggs and beat well.
  6. Gently fold in the flour, followed by the milk and finally the blueberries.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth top.
  8. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Whilst cake is baking, make the syrup by combining the icing sugar, lemon juice and blueberries in a saucepan and cooking over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  10. Squash the blueberries within the pan to release the juice into the syrup and stir.
  11. Switch off the heat and leave syrup to thicken slightly.  Just before removing cake from oven, strain the syrup through a sieve into a jug to remove the berry skins.
  12. When cake is baked, remove from the oven, but leave in the tin, and quickly poke holes all over it with a skewer.
  13. Pour the syrup over the cake.  Aim to get syrup to absorb in the centre of the cake and not just the edges.  Keep adding syrup, even if you think you are drowning the cake.  As long as it doesn't overflow the tin it is fine.
  14. Leave the cake in the tin until it has absorbed all the syrup and has gone cold before removing it from the tin.  If you can stand to wait, wrap the cake up and leave it overnight to get a more intense syrup flavour.

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