The days are lengthening little by little. Each morning I notice sunrise stirring just a minute or two earlier. The light is getting warmer and we’ve had our first few golden hours of the year. The first signs of Spring are stirring in nature as the snow drops emerge their elegant white heads. As a result, I’m craving new, light, fresh flavours to match my mood. This spelt, maple and lemon drizzle cake is a grown-up twist on the classic bake – balancing the more complex flavours of toffee-ish maple and nutty spelt with the sharpness of lemon, it feels right for these transitional days. To make the cake, you will need:
190g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
190g white spelt flour
2 large eggs
2 tsp baking powder
3 lemons, zest of 3 and juice of 1
180ml maple syrup
For the drizzle:
1 lemon, zest and juice
70g caster sugar
For the candied lemons:
200g caster sugar
1 lemon, thinly sliced.
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ Gas 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer, beat the butter until very soft and creamy.
Beat in the remaining ingredients until well mixed.
Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the candied lemons. Finely slice the lemon slices and cook in briskly simmering water for 2 minutes, then drain.
Dissolve the sugar in a saucepan with 150ml water. Put the lemon slices in the sugar syrup and bubble gently for 18-20 minutes, until soft and translucent. Remove to a tray lined with baking parchment and cool. Any leftover syrup is infused with lemon and tastes lovely with a little soda water!
For the lemon drizzle, mix the lemon zest and juice with sugar in a jug.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer, then pour the lemon drizzle slowly all over the top, letting it soak into the cake.
Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out. Top with the candied lemons and serve – preferably with a cuppa.
What are you making this weekend? Are you embracing Spring baking in your kitchen?