So this weekend it was Mr E’s birthday. If you follow me on Instagram, you will probably know all the drama that went with this cake, but if not, and if you’ve got five minutes, I’ll fill you in. The day started well, with pressies and that sort of thing, and as usual, being the birthday person, he got to choose his dream birthday cake. When the kids were little they always chose chocolate fudge cake, then when they turned into teenagers, they would spend hours trying to come up with the most difficult, complicated thing they could possibly think of (we basically invented the technical challenge long before Bake Off was around). I particularly remember a whole day spent constructing a black forest gateau, and another layering up chocolate fudge brownies with buttercream, which was both the most delicious, and the most sickly cake I’ve ever eaten. Anyhoo, Mr E likes a lemon drizzle, which is easy enough, but wanted it layered up with whipped cream. Again, no problemo. But then it all went wrong, and that’s why his lemon drizzle ended up being lemon curd drizzle, but actually tasted really nice anyway, even though it was a bit of a disaster. Let me fill you in…
This is the easiest cake recipe, the sponge is light and fluffy and it’s just so flipping dependable – it always turns out well. I know it uses self raising flour, but I always add a couple of extra teaspoons of baking powder in, just for good measure. Plus, as long as your butter is room temperature, you can just mix it all together and it comes out fine without creaming the butter and sugar first, so it’s perfect if you’re strapped for time.
The bit with the tears
Originally I’d planned to sandwich whipped double cream in the middle, and add a lemon glaze on top, but then for some inexplicable reason, when I was getting the cake out of the oven my oven gloves got caught inside the oven and as I tried to free myself I sizzled my arm on the oven shelf, dropping one cake completely and tipping the other one out onto the oven door.
There was a pause in proceedings here for quite a few tears, a fair amount of snot and some feeling sorry for myself, interspersed with ice packs on my sizzled arm and sniffling. Then Sam came home mid-way through the crisis and dispensed hugs and sympathy and I felt a bit better. On with the cake, then. One sponge was broken into several pieces, and the other had a nasty crack in it, which meant that I had to do some pretty serious cakey surgery and double cream just wasn’t going to do it. I whipped up a quick batch of lemon curd (you can find my recipe here) and set about reconstructing it as best I could. The top layer was more or less okay, and – thinking that it would be lemony enough – I just added a simple glacé icing to the top. And do you know what? It was a bit wonky, but it was fine.
Lemon curd drizzle cake
225g butter at room temperature
225g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large free range eggs
For the glaze:
2-3 tbsp icing sugar
Preheat the oven before you start.
Put all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined. Divide between two generously buttered and lined cake tins (I think mine are 20 cm) and bake for 20-25 minutes at 180C/gas 4 or until they’re golden brown and springy.
At this juncture, it’s preferable not to drop them. Just take them out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Then just sandwich together with a generous amount of lemon curd. Make up the glaze by dribbling the boiling water into the icing sugar until you make a nice, thick icing, then dribble it all over the cake.
Yes, it was a bit dodgy, and not my finest cakey moment, but it was made with love (and a bit of pain). I’ve had better Fridays.