I very much enjoy Nigel Slater’s recipes – wholesome and delicious, aiming to use the best possible produce at their peak and not doing much to it. And he has a thing for cakes like I do too. This Demerara Lemon Cake recipe is from his brilliant cookery book The Kitchen Diaries. I am a huge fan of lemon and the caramelized lemons over this cake won my heart at the first sight. The original recipe serves the cake as a dessert with a lemony syrup spiked to the top of it with a skewer, after it’s cooked. In my version, I took away the syrup addition and adopted it in a way to enjoy it as a lovely, moist cake. Indeed almond cakes keep moist for several days, so this cake is a perfect treat to bake at the weekend (or any week day!) and enjoy through the week.
Something really satisfying about baking on Sunday; delicious smells from the oven fills the air and for me, it somehow relaxes the day, brings serenity – a little slice of it with tea or coffee and you think all the jobs can be done, no rush..
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 45-50 minutes
200gr/7oz unsalted butter
220gr/8oz demerara sugar
90gr/3 1/4oz plain flour
90gr/3 1/4oz ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Zest and juice of a large lemon
4 large eggs
For the topping:
1 lemon, thinly sliced
30ml/2 tablespoons demerara sugar
60ml/4 tablespoons water
Preheat oven at 160 C / 325 F
Line a loaf of baking tin with baking parchment paper and grease the paper with a little olive oil.
To make the topping, slice the lemon thinly and put it in a small saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to the boil, and then watch closely for five minutes or so, until the water has almost evaporated and the lemon slices are sticky. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a food mixer till they are light and fluffy. You can expect it to take a little longer than it would with caster sugar. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl weigh the flour and almonds and mix them with the baking powder. Add the lemon zest and the lemon juice and mix well.
Break the eggs and beat lightly with a fork, then add them to the creamed butter and sugar a little at a time. Then gently fold in the flour, almonds, the baking powder and lemon to the mixture with a large metal spoon (a wooden spoon would knock the air out).
Scoop the cake mixture into the lined tin, and then lay the reserved lemon slices on top, overlapping them down the centre of the cake. Bake for about 45-50 minutes, till risen and golden. Insert a metal skewer to see if it is ready. If it comes clean, then the cake is done; if it has mixture sticking to it, it needs a few minutes longer. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool.
You can enjoy the cake with some fresh fruit (raspberries, sliced mangos or ripe/poached apricots would go well) and perhaps a spoonful of double/heavy cream by the side.