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A lemon drizzle birthday cake with all the extras

Birthday cake
Birthday cake

Baking post! This was Dave’s birthday cake, or rather his fake birthday cake as the one I made him on his actual birthday ended up both burnt and stuck to the tin, plus he wasn’t properly celebrating anyway, as he had an assessment centre coming up. But we did take the day off on the interview day, and I tried again with the cake and also made it better by adding cream cheese frosting and candied lemon peel. The candied lemon took forever to make, but it wasn’t hard and so tasty, I thought so anyway. I was snacking on it all the rest of the week, though the boys thought it was yucky. I need to make some more, maybe orange next time?

Anyway, here’s the recipe, cake adapted from here, candied peel from here and cream cheese frosting from a book. I actually sort of freestyled the frosting as I had less Philadelphia left than the recipe asks for. But since I can’t remember, I’ll give you the book version

Birthday cake

Candied lemon peel

  • Peel from two lemons (or however many you want, I used the leftover ones from the cake)
  • Sugar
  • Water

Cut the lemon peel into thin strips. Cover with water and boil for 5 mins. Drain and recover with water and simmer for 30 mins. Drain peel, reserving the water. Add 100g sugar for every 100ml of water. Disolve the sugar and cook the peel in the syrup for 30mins. Leave to cool in the syrup, fish out the feel and put on a baking sheet (or ideally a wire rack over a baking sheet, but ours is full of sausage grease, and I’m not cleaning it). Dry in the oven at the lowest setting for 30 mins. Sprinkle with sugar and leave to cool completely for at least an hour.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 85g sugar
  • 300g cream cheese
  • grated peel and juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 tbs icing sugar

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together the butter and 200g caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in the flour, then add the grated lemon peel and mix until well combined. Distribute between two small round tins. Bake for about 35 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cut top off one of the cakes.

While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove.

For icing, mix cream cheese, peel, lemon juice and icing sugar with an electric whisk.

Sandwich the cakes together with icing, and ice on top. Decorate with the peel.

Birthday cake

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