I’m well aware that a lot of people have a problem with this word, but there’s no getting around this: this loaf is moist.
The building blocks of many of my day dreams is to come up with a desired flavour combination and then challenge myself to offset it with a contrasting texture to keep things exciting. What’s happening here is pretty obvious: fresh lemon zest highlights the white chocolate swirled through, with the dense texture of the loaf yielded with the ground almonds and further enhanced by the crushed roasted almonds within the cake itself and also on top of the lemon drizzle. For something so simple, it stands up as an elegant afternoon tea (or in this cake, pre-midnight snack) in its own right.
The effort:payoff ratio of this cake really couldn’t be better – the only things I didn’t have on hand to whip this up in the hour before night shift were lemons (problem solved thanks to the bar across the road). My rush to bake it resulted in its arrival still warm, and its disappearance before cooling entirely. While the decoration side of things may look impressive, I simply used two different sized cake tins, placing the smaller on top after drizzling the larger, and then sprinkled a few decorations on that I thought looked pretty.
The cake recipe is a pretty standard pound cake, and can be easily divided/adjusted according to how large you want it. I usually make it in a loaf pan, however since moving house into an apartment, such a baking item has been lost in translation. It was no worse off for being in a round springform tin, in any case!
I went a bit mad over my last set of nights and baked something for every single shift. One of my goals for January is vaguely more conservative, and that is to only bake once a week. I find the act of bringing in baked goods very positively reinforcing, and I’ve yet to do it in 2015 – I suppose I’m just waiting for the right recipe to catch my eye.
Ingredients (enough to make a layer cake as pictured above, or two small loaves):
- 170g butter, softened
- 170g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature and free range
- 1 tsp pure vanilla essence
- 170g self-raising flour
- Zest of 3 lemons
- A few tablespoons of milk or plain yoghurt
- For the drizzle: the juice of the 3 lemons and enough icing sugar to get things syrupy (maybe one cup or so)
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F fan-bake. Grease and line your baking tins/loaf tins with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, along with the vanilla essence. Beat the flour and zest in on low speed. Add enough milk or yoghurt to loosen the batter so it’s at a “pouring” consistency – slightly gooey.
- Pour into pans and bake until the middle springs back when pressed and a skewer comes out clean – around 20-30 minutes depending on both your oven and the shape of your tin. While baking, make the drizzle simply by combining the lemon juice and icing sugar.
- Cool on racks for 5 minutes before removing from tins. Pierce the cake all over with a bamboo skewer or equivalent spearing item. Drizzle the drizzle on liberally. Decorate with pretty items of your choice (lavender is cute, fresh flowers, pistachios, extra lemon zest …).
- I have no idea how long this keeps for – it’s always disappeared too quickly for me to find such information out.