As you know by now, I’m a happy subscriber of GoodFood magazine. And each month, it contains a recipe “make-over”, where a classic recipe (aka calorie bomb) gets upgraded to a lighter version. Last month, it was the lemon drizzle cake and it sounded like the perfect ending for an otherwise not so light meal when my brother and his girlfriend came to dinner last Friday. And it got the seal of approval: most went for a second slice! Thus eliminating the lighter effect I assume but who cares 🙂
For those of you who are interested or looking for a guilt-free treat, “lighter” means 243 kcals per slice (if the cake is cut in 12 slices), whereas a classic lemon drizzle cake will be 335 kcals per slice. This is achieved by substituting butter for oil and yoghurt which also means you can use less eggs. The sugar was reduced and ground almonds and polenta were added. Here’s how to make it:
Preheat the oven to 160 C, lightly oil a 20 cm round cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Put 175 g self-raising flour in a bowl with 1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder, 50 g ground almonds and 50 g polenta (if you don’t have polenta or don’t want to use it, you can use 100 g ground almonds instead). Stir in the zest of 2 lemons (you will need to juice later as well for the topping) and 140 g golden caster sugar. In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs with 225 g natural yoghurt. Make a dip in the dry ingredients and pour the yoghurt mixture in the dip followed by 75 ml rapeseed oil (if you can’t find rapeseed oil, use sunflower oil instead. Don’t be tempted to use olive oil, it has a strong taste that will come through in your finished cake). Briefly stir so everything is combined without overmixing.
Pour the mixture in the cake tin and level the top with the back of a spoon. Bake for 40 min or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil for the final 5-10 min of the top starts to brown too quickly. Remove from the oven and let it cool briefly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
While the cake is in the oven, make the lemon syrup. Tip 85 g caster sugar into a small saucepan with the lemon juice (of the 2 lemons you zested before) and 75 ml of water. Heat over a medium heat stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil for 4 min until slightly reduced and syrupy. When the cake is on the wire rack, poke it all over with a skewer and slowly spoon the syrup on top in 2 batches so it can soak into the cake (you may want to put your wire rack over a sheet of cling film to avoid washing all the syrup of your counter top). If you prefer a crunchy topping instead of a sticky one, use 1 tbsp less caster sugar for the syrup and sprinkle that over the cake after you soaked it. Or dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice without adding the water and without heating it. Enjoy while listening to Lemon Tree by Fools Garden.