It’s the second week of the bake sale to raise money for Epilepsy Research UK. I’m out tomorrow evening, so I wanted to bake something that would not only keep well, but actually improve over a couple of days, so the obvious choice was a lemon drizzle cake.
There is no shortage of recipes out there, but I must confess that I have never made one before so I was looking for inspiration from safe sources. The BBC Good Food one looked OK (although I don’t know much about Tana Ramsay as a baker) and good old Felicity Cloake had covered it in one of her “perfect” series for the Guardian blog. I very nearly settled on Nigella Lawson’s offering, but I had my heard set on a round cake this time (I almost always bake loaf cakes) so I was really pleased when I found Delia’s recipe for a double lemon drizzle cake with poppy seeds. Yum.
Delia can usually be relied upon for her recipes working out, so I wasn’t too worried. I followed all the instructions precisely though, just to be sure. Everything looked good as I spooned the raw mixture into the tin, so I had high hopes for success.
The result wasn’t really what I was expecting. It really didn’t rise much at all. In the tin it looked really flat and while there was a bit of height to the centre, it didn’t really feel to me that it had worked. Undeterred I made up the syrup, which was an astonishing amount. Seriously, I thought that the cake was going to disintegrate into a lemony mush. It all soaked in though, so what do I know?
After letting it cool in the tin and sit soaking in that lovely syrup I took it out and was even more convinced that it had failed. It looked like half of a sandwich sponge rather than a cake in its own right.
So I gave in and called it a failure, which was sad in some ways, but it did mean that we got to sample it. And I’m slightly kicking myself, because I’m not sure it is that bad! I still think it probably should have risen more, although I don’t know what I could have done wrong, but other than having thin edges, the cake is light, moist and really very delicious. We’ll probably not be able to resist another slice, but I’m happy enough to take in whatever I have left…
The moral of the story? Well, there are three I can think of:
- Always do a practice run so you know what to expect
- Trust in Delia – she knows what she’s doing
- Things are often not the disaster they initially appear to be, so chill out a bit!