I’m a huge fan of rapeseed oil. The fields surrounding the house are ablaze with yellow every summer, and we have great local producers, Chiltern Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil, right on our doorstep. Rapeseed oil is really healthy – it has the lowest saturated fat content of any oil (6.6g/100g, compared to 14.3g for olive oil and 54.8g for butter), very high levels of Essential Fatty Acids (ten times the Omega 3 of olive oil) and is a natural source of vitamin E too. I use it for everything: roasties come out well as I think it’s quite pure so it heats to high temperatures quite well, it’s great for frying as it doesn’t smell too yucky, and I bake with it too. One of my faves is this rapeseed oil, lemon and almond drizzle cake – especially for dessert on a Sunday.
It’s a bit difficult sometimes to substitute rapeseed oil for butter in recipes as I’m never sure of the exact quantities, but I’ve been cooking this one for a few years now (my original recipe, now archived, was published in 2010) and I’m pretty confident that 100ml seems about right. The finished cake is similar to a Madeira cake – moist and toothsome (I love that word) with a lovely texture, and the drizzle top is zingy, sweet and crisp.
Lemon and Almond Cake
100ml rapeseed oil
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced
250g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
For the drizzle:
1 lemon and about 3 tbsp icing sugar for the drizzle
So first, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4 and dribble a little rapeseed oil into a medium cake tin, rubbing it about with your fingers.
Put the rapeseed oil, sugar, lemon zest and the eggs into a bowl and mix until light and foamy, then add the flour, almonds and lemon juice and stir in gently.
Spoon the mixture into the oiled cake tin and bake for about 40 – 50 minutes (check whether it’s done by poking a knife into the centre – it should come out clean). If it starts to brown too much, cover lightly with foil.
Leave the cake to cool slightly, then tip onto a rack. Squeeze the second lemon and mix the juice with the icing sugar. Drizzle all over the cake. I also like to make a hole in the centre and squidge in a bit of lemon curd – extra yummy.
Serve warm with whipped cream. Although I can also attest that it keeps quite well and is lovely just cold with a cup of tea, or grilled and served with butter (my new favourite thing). It would also be fabulous topped with a lemony cream cheese icing. Yum.