Fanfare please as I launch a new feature on my site: Famous Faces’ Favourite Fancies! I have written (for my younger readers by “written” I mean composing a letter, printing it on paper, putting it in an envelope and using the postal system, not asking via Twitter or Facebook!) to some of the country’s most famous faces and asked them what their favourite cake is. I have received gruff refusals from some (you know who you are!) but thankfully a larger amount of lovely replies and it is these that I shall feature periodically on my site.
My first Famous Face sharing his Favourite Fancy is the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Probably Britain’s most well-known personality politician, he is as controversial as he is hilarious (just reading through the wikipedia account of his appearances on satirical news quiz “Have I got News for You” made me laugh out loud). What’s not to love about anyone who says, when talking about his one week spent as a management consultant, “Try as I might, I could not look at an overhead projection of a growth profit matrix, and stay conscious.”
Boris Johnson has chosen lemon drizzle cake as his Favourite Fancy. The lemon drizzle cake I have made is light and juicy – from not only the lemon juice but also the inclusion of ground almonds.
For the drizzle I used a combination of caster sugar and icing sugar; this is because icing sugar will seep into the cake whereas the caster sugar will sit on top and add a lemony crystallised topping. In other words, using two sugars provides the best of both worlds! When pouring the drizzle over the cake it’s a good idea to put a piece of paper or foil under the rack so as to protect your work surface; it also makes cleaning up easier as you simply dispose of the mess along with the paper/foil.
Pondering what plate to set the finished cake on, Mr CC pointed out that it had to be my “London map” plate, given that the cake was inspired by Boris Johnson. Mr CC is very useful to have on hand at such moments!
Finally, I end with an apology to Boris. A few months ago, at the traffic lights on the north side of London Bridge, I tried to nip across the road as the traffic lights were changing. Who came hurtling towards me on his bike –at a frankly startling rate of knots - white-blond hair sticking out from his cycle helmet? You’ve guessed. I am pleased to report that he was a perfect gentleman and didn’t swear at me or gesticulate. Sorry about that Boris...hope this recipe makes up for it!
For the cake:
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
2 lemons – zest and juice
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g ground almonds
For the drizzle:
2 lemons – zest and juice
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Icing sugar – enough to make a runny icing; the quantity required will depend on the juiciness of your lemon!
Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4.
Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.
Beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy – don’t be tempted to skimp on this stage; the mixture needs to be pale and whippy.
Stir in the lemon zest.
Beat in the eggs on at a time, add a little of the flour if it looks like the mix might curdle. (If you’ve beaten the butter and sugar for long enough nothing should curdle).
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Fold in the ground almonds and lemon juice.
Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took 1 hour 5 minutes.
Put the cake, still in the tin, on a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the drizzle glaze: Place the lemon zest, juice and caster sugar in a bowl and beat in enough icing sugar to make a thin, extremely runny icing. (The reason for using caster as well as icing sugar is that the caster won’t sink into the cake and leaves a lovely light sugar crust on the top of the cake).
Remove the cake from the tin and place it back on the wire rack.
Place a sheet of baking paper or foil under the wire rack.
Slowly pour the glaze over the top of the cake taking care to ensure that the whole top and sides are covered, and then leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container (it will keep for several days).
Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.