I love baking – besides having made something yummy by the end, I think it’s great for so many other reasons. It is also something that you can make as simple or complicated as you like.
I wanted to start the baking section of my blog with a little bit about why I love it so much. I can be quite an anxious person and I find it really hard to relax, but if I’m baking a cake or concentrating on a recipe then it definitely takes my mind off everything else. If I need a real distraction then I’ll go for something I haven’t made before, but if it’s a day off and I’m looking for something to do I like getting out all my usual ingredients to make something stress-free. If like me you can’t stand to sit around doing nothing, but hobbies like sports and big groups activities make you a bit uncomfortable, then baking might be the answer.
I find getting a cake out of the oven just so satisfying and I love making something that other people appreciate. I’ve grown up enjoying my Mum’s, Grandma’s, Nanny’s and Auntie’s cooking and I think it looks quite impressive going to someone’s house and seeing something homemade. It looks like a lot of care and effort has been taken (even if you already had the ingredients in the cupboard and it only took a couple of hours to whizz together.)
But enough about me, here is a really easy cake to make if you aren’t convinced about baking and one that people never turn down. This is for a 18cm deep round cake tin, but it works well as a loaf, or a square tin is fine. If your tins are too small for the recipe then pop the rest in cup cake cases and you have some lovely extra lemony muffins too.
100g softened butter
175 g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (make sure it is level)
2 large eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons milk
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
100g caster sugar
1) Pre-heat the oven to 180 oc/ Fan 160 oc/ Gas 4. Grease the tin and line the base with baking paper.
2) Mix all the measured ingredients into one bowl and beat until smooth, this should take about 2 minutes. Turn the mixture into the tin and use a wooden spoon or spatula to level the surface
3) Bake for 35-40 minutes. As this may vary depending on your oven, check the cake springs back when you touch it and that the sides are coming away slightly from the tin.
4) While the cake is baking, you can make the topping. Simply mix the measured sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl and pour over the cake when it is out the oven. I’ve seen some recipes that suggest using a knife or tooth pick to put a few holes in the cake, to ensure the topping runs all the way through.
5) Leave the cake in the tin until it is completely cool, then turn out when you are ready to eat it.
If your cake is a bit lopsided and some of the lemon juice and sugar mixture runs down the sides don’t worry, the cake will soak it up and once cut into slices, no one will really notice.