The other day my daughter came home from school and (after proudly showing me the red autumn leaves she had found in the playground that day as well as an energetic, full length rendition of "The Farmer in the Dell" - oh to be four again!) told me that her class had celebrated a birthday that day and that the birthday boy had brought a lemon cake to school for everyone to share. It made me think of this recipe which is one of those that I have had for years, scribbled on a piece of paper and unceremoniously shoved inside a notebook. It is a fantastic recipe and worthy of a more permanent home here on the web and not just on a scrap of paper!
This is a lovely, light cake with a soft crumb and a delicate lemon flavour. Did I mention how light it is? These dainty squares make a delicious tea time treat - I would not blame you if you gobbled up a few in one sitting. This cake will also keep well for a couple of days when stored in an airtight container.
2 large eggs
200g castor sugar
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
For the lemon icing:
250g icing sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp warm milk
Step 1.) Preheat your oven to 170°C. Grease a 20cm square baking tin and line the base with baking paper.
Step 2.) Place the milk and butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted, then set aside.
Step 3.) Whisk the eggs and castor sugar together until pale and thick. Add the lemon rind and the melted butter mixture. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to combine.
Step 4.) Pour the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
Step 5.) To make the lemon icing: soften the butter in the mixer / using handheld beaters. Sift in the icing sugar and add the lemon rind and juice. Mix again until you have a thick icing. Add the milk and beat until everything is combined and you have a spreadable icing. (Add additional milk if it is too thick.)
Step 6.) Spread the lemon icing over the top of the cooled cake. Cut into squares and serve. (Optional: decorate the squares with icing flowers/decorations.)