One warm, balmy, summer evening during the mid-eighties, the ‘Thursday Ladies’ (and kids) came to our’s for the weekly get-together and we sat in the garden basking in the setting sun.
My friend, Louise, came with her mum, sister and Nan. All evening we could smell an unusually, sweet smell. “Nan, what perfume have yer got on?”, Louise remarked. “My usual”, came the reply. A little later Louise asked again, “Have yer spilt anything down yerself?”. “No!” she insisted, getting quite irritated. At that point, her sister noticed a huge greasy stain on her Nan’s lap where her bag was safely nestling. “What’s that, Nan? Look at yer dress! It’s yer bag, Nan, it’s coming from yer bag!”
Louise very carefully opened her Nan’s bag to find it swimming in butter and foil. She liked to save all the packs of butter from teacakes in her bag, but they had melted. We were howling.
This is a lovely cake to make to eat on warm, sunny days. Just make sure you put all the butter into the mix.
140g (5oz) unsalted butter, softened * 170g (6oz) caster sugar * 2 eggs, lightly beaten * 170g (6oz) self-raising flour * 1 lemon, finely grated zest * 125ml (4 floz) milk * 140g (5oz) icing sugar, plus some for dusting * 60ml (2 floz) lemon juice
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 18cm/7 inch square cake tin with greaseproof paper. Beat the butter, sugar and eggs together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and carefully fold into the mixture. Fold in the lemon rind and milk. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, smoothing over the top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until firm to touch. Leave the cake to cool still in the tin.
Make the syrup topping by placing the icing sugar and lemon juice into a small saucepan, heating gently. Stir until the sugar dissolves, but do not allow to boil. Prick the cake with a fork and spoon over the warm syrup, allowing it to be absorbed. Once cooled, turn the cake out onto a wire rack and dust with icing sugar.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book, FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section TRADITIONAL PUDDINGS, a selection of the best of British cakes and desserts.