I started making this with my mother what seems like a hundred years ago. She was very strict and followed recipes to the letter. I like to play around and see what comes out. This started off as a lemon pound cake but it evolved into where it is today. Once I find something that I like, then my mom’s stritness returns and the recipe is locked, although it may serve as a start for something new. Never stop experimenting.
The distinction between these two sponge cake and pound cake is in the fat content. Foam cakes like this sponge cake have little to no fat, and usually have a larger proportion of egg. This gives them their lighter, airy texture.
Makes 1 cake that should net twelve slices or one big slice 😀
- 175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tin
- 175g golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large unwaxed lemons, zested, plus 4-4 ½ tbsp juice
- 250g self-raising flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 100g Greek yogurt
- 400g icing sugar
- lemon zest or candied peel, to serve (optional)
- STEP 1
Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Butter a deep, loose-bottomed, 18cm cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
- STEP 2
Beat the butter and caster sugar together with an electric whisk until fluffy and pale in colour. Crack the eggs in one at a time, beating well after each addition, then stir in the lemon zest. Fold in the flour, baking powder and ½ tsp salt, then fold in the yogurt.
- STEP 3
Spoon the mixture into the lined tin, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 50-55 mins, or until golden brown on top and firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Will keep in an airtight container for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to a month.
- STEP 4
When you’re ready to decorate, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and beat in enough of the lemon juice to create a thick icing. Set the cake on a serving plate or cake stand, then spoon over the icing, allowing it to drip down the sides a little. Top with the lemon zest or candied peel, if using (see below), and cut into generous wedges to serve.
- STEP 5
To make candied lemon peel, peel large, wide strips from the lemons using a vegetable peeler. Remove any pith with a knife, then julienne the peel into very thin matchsticks. Tip the granulated sugar into a saucepan with 200ml water and set over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon peel and simmer gently for 15 mins, then scoop the peel out using a slotted spoon and set on a piece of kitchen paper to cool. Use to decorate the top of your cake.