Break out the champagne! I baked a cake! This may seem like a small feat to most but trust me it is a giant step for me. You see I am not a very keen baker, I can bake a few things and I bake them well, and I have always been completely satisfied with that. We aren't a family with massive sweet teeth, we might have pudding once or twice a month, so I have gotten away with it so far. So when my daughter asked for a birthday cake for her birthday yesterday, it was a big birthday, double digits, I had to do it.
Now, the reason I had to do it is that my girl has very specific tastes when it comes to cake. She doesn't like too much chocolate, she really doesn't like cream and she hates fondant icing. So the cake would have to incorporate her all-time favourite, lemon drizzle, she also wanted it to look like a birthday cake so a simple lemon drizzle loaf was off the cards. Then there was a search on Pinterest and she liked the idea of a layer cake, ok I could manage that, but the filling? We searched high and low and came to the decision that a lemon buttercream with lemon curd would be right on the money. I underestimated just how much she loves lemon! The last request was daisies, that was the easy part.
I searched and searched and found nothing that matched exactly what she wanted, because well wouldn't be better to bake a cake that had been tried and tested? But no, nothing matched her brief. I did find a couple of recipes that helped me on my way, the first being Lemon Curd Cake from Olive Magazine, I changed the quantities a tiny bit, the second was this Light Lemon Sponge I found on the BBCGoodFood website, I used the buttercream filling from that recipe. Finally, this lemon syrup is my go-to for making lemon drizzle cake. So there was the inspiration and expertise and that's how we ended up with Abigail's Lemon Drizzle Birthday Cake. It all worked out just fine, I spent my birthday making it and that was fine by me once it didn't flop, burn or sink.
The ultimate test though was yesterday, after school and after exchanging gifts and phone calls from home and grandparents, we did the cake! I'm not going to lie I was actually nervous! But I needn't have been, she loved it! The sponge was good, the filling was perfect and there was enough lemon to satisfy a real lemon lover. So I did it, I baked a cake that worked and my daughter? "I didn't know you could bake cakes like this Mum?" It's the simple things 😉 This cake is a lemon lover's dream, it's not perfect, it's probably a bit tinged around the edges but it was perfect for us and more importantly, my girl absolutely loved it! Oh and it tasted really great the next day too x
Lemon Drizzle Birthday Cake
FOR THE CAKE
- 250 g self raising flour
- 225 g castor sugar
- 250 g butter , softened, plus extra for greasing
- 4 free range eggs , at room temperature
- the zest of one lemon
- 4 tbsp milk
For Assembling The Cake
- 4 heaped tbsp lemon curd divided
FOR THE LEMON BUTTERCREAM FILLING
- 60 g butter softened
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp grated lemon rind
- 250 g icing sugar
FOR THE DRIZZLE TOPPING
- 1+½ lemons, the juice of
- 85 g caster sugar
- Rice Daisies (optional)
For The Cake
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Grease two 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottom of each tin with baking paper.
- Using an electric whisk cream the butter and sugar until it is a pale yellow colour, the lighter you can get it the better, this means there is more air in the mixture and will result in a lighter cake.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs using a fork, then fold in the eggs a little at a time to the creamed mixture using a metal spoon. Making sure the eggs are fully incorporated each time.
- When all the eggs have been added sift in the flour then fold it in. Fold in the lemon zest. Then fold in the milk, until you have a thick dropping consistency.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and place in the middle of the oven, switching the two tins halfway through baking so they are both evenly browned.
- After 20 mins use a metal skewer to check the cakes are cooked through, the skewer should come out clean.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for about 10 minutes, remove the cakes from the tins and leave to cool completely on a rack. When the cakes are cooled remove the paper from the bottom.
To Make The Buttercream Filling
- While the cakes are cooling make the lemon buttercream filling. Add the butter to a large bowl, using an electric whisk beat the butter until it is smooth and a lighter colour, about 5 minutes. Then sift in a heaped tablespoon of icing sugar, whisk in the icing sugar with a handheld whisk. Repeat one tablespoon of icing sugar at a time.Once all the sugar has been added then whisk in the lemon juice and rind.
Assemble The Cake
- When the cakes have cooled, turn them upside down and spread the lemon curd on the flat side of both cakes.
- Using a pallet knife or a flat knife, spread the buttercream all over the flat side of both cakes, then sandwich the cakes together.
Make The Drizzle Syrup.
- Add the juice of 1 + ½ lemons to 85g of castor sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved and you have a slightly thick syrup.
- Place the cake on a cooling rack over a baking tray to catch any stray syrup. Using a metal skewer make some small holes in the top of the cake then pour the syrup over the top of the cake, do this a little at a time giving letting the sponge absorb the syrup each time.Once all the syrup has been absorbed into the cake place the daisy decorations on the top.Leave the cake to settle for about 20 minutes before serving.