Luscious Lemon Cake

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Lemon Cake

One of the fondest memories I have of my mom is that she always made such a fuss about anything related to High Tea. For my 6th or 7th birthday, she threw me a “Little Ladies Tea Party”. All the guests were told by fancy invitation to wear their mother’s hats, pearls and high heels. She transformed our living room into a stylish “Conservatory” fit for a Princess, complete with little tables seating 4 girls each. She took out her expensive china left to her by her Grandmother and made us delicious Cucumber & Cream cheese sandwiches, miniature Quiche Lorraine and dainty cupcakes. I was in heaven.

Another one of my fond memories is one that plays off quite a few years later and in much sadder circumstances, but it’s one I’ll never forget. My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and endure vicious treatment,  but when she felt strong enough, she would tell me that I must get dressed nicely because we are going for ‘High Tea’. It was never to a fancy hotel but always to a small restaurant in our local mall. There she would order us each a slice of quiche, a pot of tea and to end it off with, Blueberry Pancakes with Mascarpone. I smile with tears every time I think about her and how she made my life so incredibly special filled with wonderful moments like these. (I have to add here that everything I do on my blog is in honour of her. She would’ve supported me and encouraged me to no end and even though I was always the “funny smart but not book smart” girl in school, she would’ve been so proud that I’m turning into a “food writer” and that I have such promising and exciting prospects in my near future. She was, after all the one that taught me to read and encouraged me to read my holidays away. )

After our ‘High Tea’ we would go shoe shopping, which was actually quite hilarious as both of us wear a size 9 (American size 11) and we would NEVER get shoes that fit us as most South-African stores only carry shoes up to size 8, and the shoes that are size 9 my gran wouldn’t even be caught dead in. (Thank goodness that’s changed and SOME shops now carry up to size 10)

So it’s safe to say that the High Tea tradition is a very special one to me. My favourite High Tea spread, to this day is the one at Sun City at the Palace of the Lost City. The food is impeccable, the tea is delicious and the venue is breath-taking. If you are EVER in South Africa, you have to visit the Palace, it is absolutely marvellous.

But as I live quite a few km’s away from Sun City, I try to bring some of that High Tea glamour into my own kitchen. Of course I don’t prepare the sandwiches, quiches, tarts and cakes that the wonderful chefs at the Palace do, but I try to bake something every week to add some delicious-ness to our home.

This cake is so extremely easy and really takes almost no effort, which is why I feel quite guilty giving you the recipe when I’ve been hammering on about fabulous High Tea’s. But I think it’s the simplicity and the real punch of flavour that gets to me with this one. I have a thing for fresh Lemons, it is the one thing my kitchen is never without and I use it in literally EVERYTHING. Even if it is just one drop of the juice. And using lemons in 3 different ways in this recipe makes this cake what it is. Delicious, moist and something I know my mom would’ve absolutely adored.

Lemon Cake

Makes 1 standard loaf cake

250g self-raising flour
200g caster sugar
150g softened butter/ margarine
4 eggs
2tsp lemon zest
1tbsn lemon juice

Lemon Syrup:

100g sugar
75ml water
75ml lemon juice

Lemon Glaze :

1 cup icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tbsn lemon juice

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°c and grease a standard loaf tin.
  • For the cake, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until everything is well combined and the mixture is thick and creamy.
  • Transfer the batter to the cake tin and smooth out the top.
  • Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin before removing it and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup by bringing the ingredients to the boil in a small saucepan. With a skewer, poke holes into the cake and carefully spoon the hot syrup over the cake, allow to cool down completely.
  • Make the lemon glaze by whisking the lemon juice teaspoon by teaspoon into the icing sugar. You want the glaze to be quite thick.
  • When the cake has cooled completely, drizzle over the lemon glaze.
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Alida Ryder
Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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  • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

    Thanx Nins! I am very lucky to have 2 aunts (one of which is my moms twin) who are incredibly supportive and who fill that ‘space’ in my life. I would, but it’s all finished! ;)

  • Kiki

    Yum Yum Yum

    Your mom would be SO PROUD! Your story about your mom brings back memories of my gran who was british and very prim and proper and loved having high teas with us :)

  • http://www.buy-lemons-online.com/ buy lemons

    Do you think the lemon cake recipe would work with Meyer lemons? My family loves Meyer lemons big time. Every year we host a potluck dinner where everyone is asked to bring a Meyer lemon dish, from entrees to desserts. Everything has to have Meyer lemons in it. I’m looking for creative Meyer lemon recipes and I was thinking that a Meyer lemon version of your excellent luscious lemon cake recipe might be a big hit.

    Lindsey Busher

    PS. Meyer Lemons are like love. Sometimes hard to find, but well worth the wait. They’re nearing the end of the season which usually ends in March, so they’ll soon be hard to find.

    • http://www.simply-delicious-food.com Ally_R

      Here in South Africa, we don’t know Meyer Lemons but I’m sure they will work in this. Let me know if they do! :)

  • Jane

    This recipe looks great – definitely one to try. As a novie baker, one thing that confuses me (and stops me from baking goodies in a loaf tin), and what size is a standard loaf tin. Every time I go out to buy one, there are a few options. Maybe you can solve this for me one and for all.

    Just stumbles across your site via Facebook – looks great.

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