Lemon drizzle cake is without question my favourite. I love its upfront lemon zing. This is my version. Half afternoon tea at your gran’s and half mint tea at the souk. I use ground almonds here, which keeps the cake moist and lovely and also has more to offer nutritionally than straight-up flour. Instead of loading this cake with butter and sugar, I use yoghurt in place of butter – it means the cake doesn’t dry out and is a bit lighter too. Honey sweetens it instead of sugar. Limes can be used instead of lemons – just use 1½ limes to each lemon in the recipe. Honey is a completely natural sugar. I love the variations of flavour you get with honey and the way you can taste the flowers the bees have taken the pollen from. Sure, it’s still a sugar, but it’s not been messed around with in the way refined sugar has. I think orange blossom honey works really well here if you can get it. In summer I mix a teaspoon of local Hackney honey into my morning hot water – a little honey from your local area is supposed to help with allergies like hay fever.
Makes a deep 20cm cake
For the cake
3 organic or free-range eggs
100g Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
150ml runny honey
150ml light olive oil, plus extra for greasing
2 unwaxed lemons
200g ground almonds
200g light spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
seeds from 4 cardamom pods, crushed to a powder in a pestle and mortar
For the syrup
1 unwaxed lemons
seeds from 8 cardamom pods, crushed to a powder in a pestle and mortar
First preheat your oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
Put the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk until they have fluffed up a bit. Fold in the yoghurt, honey and olive oil, then grate in the zest of both lemons.
Now put all your dry ingredients into another bowl and mix well. Gently beat this dry mixture into the yoghurt mix.
Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with olive oil, then line the base with baking paper. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and level out the top with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden on top.
Test with a skewer – if it comes out clean it’s ready.
Meanwhile, make the syrup for the drizzle. Peel the zest from the lemon with a vegetable peeler. Squeeze the juice into a pan and add the zest and the honey. Add the ground cardamom seeds. Place on a medium heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the syrup has slightly thickened and the zest has candied. You’ll know that is has candied when the strips have
become shiny and translucent, and have curled up a little at the edges.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool until you can safely take it out of the tin. Transfer to a cooling rack, then place a large plate underneath to catch any drips. While the cake is still warm, skewer it all over and slowly pour the warm syrup all over the cake, making sure you go right to the edges.
Sometimes I serve this with a spoonful of yoghurt.
Recipe and images from A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones, published by HarperCollins, $49.99.
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