We’ve been doing a fair bit of daydreaming lately, imagining ourselves in warmer climes. It may sound odd, but this cake was kind of an extension of that: I wanted to be on some Mediterranean hilltop, wandering through tall grasses. Somewhere where I’d be surrounded by vibrant lemon trees, the heady smell of aromatic herbs, and the lazy buzz of bees on their daily routine. Alas, I’m not going to be experiencing that any time soon. But I managed to manifest my fantasy into culinary form. This cake was quite an experiment – I didn’t follow a recipe, but improvised based on various things that I’ve made in the past. It turned out like cakey perfection – soft and moist, sunny-tasting from the lemons, sweet and honeyed without being cloying, and laced with a subtle fragrance from the rosemary. I ate a piece immediately after cutting the cake and genuinely had to eat another straight after to check that it was actually as good the whole way round, worrying that the first piece had been the prime cut, ha!
120g golden caster sugar
100g ground almonds
100g self raising flour
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
60g berries (I used raspberries and blueberries)
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 sprigs rosemary (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well combined. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs together with the vanilla, then add to the butter mixture a little at a time, whisking (I used an electric whisk set to high) until smooth and fluffy.
Weigh out the flour, and roll the berries in it. Sift the flour, along with the baking powder and salt, in to the large mixing bowl (set aside the berries for the moment.) Add the lemon zest and ground almonds, then gently fold through. Finally, add the berries, and again, fold through with care.
I used a silicone cake tin so didn’t need to grease it, but if you’re using a metal pan, then grease and/or line. Spoon in the cake batter (mine was quite a stiff batter, but don’t worry about that) and then bake for about 25 – 35 minutes, depending on your oven and pan. Make sure to check the cake after fifteen to twenty minutes to ensure that it’s not browning too quickly on top (I caught mine just in time!)
A little before the cake is completely baked, prepare the honey drizzle. Simply melt the honey slowly together with the lemon juice and rosemary, stirring every now and then, in a small saucepan, for about ten minutes. If you leave it for longer, the rosemary flavour will infuse more (which you may like.)
When the cake is ready, remove from the oven. Still in the pan and hot, make a number of incisions all over the top of the cake, then pour the drizzle evenly over it (I used a pastry brush to make sure I pushed it all in and it didn’t just sit on top.)
Let the cake cool before turning out of the pan.