lemon and ginger syrup cake

I was in Brisbane unexpectedly last week and with some time on my hand I decided to bake a cake. I was going to make an almond cake but Dad suggested I make something a little less ambitious. I turned to an old copy of the Cook's Companion and after looking through it I made an old favourite, Angie's lemon cake. I hadn't made the cake in ages and I'd forgotten how delicious it is. By the time I left Brisbane the last piece had been eaten.

Now that I'm back home again it's time to return to my normal routine. A few weeks ago one of my long time patients, Peter, brought me some home grown lemons. With lemons in the fruit bowl and preserved stem ginger in the cupboard I planned to make Tamasin Day-Lewis's recipe for drenched ginger and lemon cake. In the end it seemed easier to adapt what I already had so with the addition of some finely chopped preserved ginger and a spoonful of the ginger syrup, I turned my lemon syrup cake into a lemon and ginger syrup cake.

You can make the entire cake in a food processor but I chose to use my hand beaters and a bowl. I first whizzed the lemon rind and sugar in the little food processor attachment that came with my stick blender. If you don't have one of these handy items or a food processor, just rub the finely grated zest through the caster sugar with your hands to release the oils. If you don't have any ginger syrup I think you could add a small piece of peeled ginger to the lemon juice and sugar while making the syrup. It would work just fine, maybe even better!

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. As always if you want to make a larger bundt cake then double all the ingredients and bake for the same amount of time.

Lemon and Ginger Syrup Cake
1 lemon
90g caster sugar 
125g self-raising flour 
pinch of salt 
½ tsp baking powder 
125g softened unsalted butter 
2 large eggs 
⅓ cup natural yoghurt, buttermilk or milk
40g finely chopped crystallized or preserved ginger 

60g caster sugar 
The juice of 1 lemon
1tbs ginger syrup (home-made or bought) 


Preheat oven to 170ºC. Grease and flour a small bundt tin and place in the freezer until needed.

Zest and juice the lemon. Pulverise the zest with sugar in a small food processor or
just rub the finely grated zest through the caster sugar with your hands to release the oils. Sift flour with salt and baking powder into a small bowl and set to one side.

In a medium size bowl cream the softened butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time followed by the flour, alternating with the yoghurt or milk until you have a nice soft batter. Gently stir through the chopped ginger before spooning the mixture into the prepared tin. Smooth the top and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and tests cooked when tested with a skewer.

While the cake is cooking, make the syrup. I
n a small saucepan, mix the sugar with the lemon juice and ginger syrup and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer for a minute or two to thicken. Pour a little syrup over the base of hot cake when it comes out of the oven then let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes before turning it out onto a rack. Pour a little more of the syrup over the cake allowing it to absorb. You may not have to use all the syrup. 

Tamasin Day-Lewis serves this cake warm as a pudding with some crème fraiche and leftover syrup. Normally I allow the cake to cool completely before serving. Serve as is or if you like you can serve the cake with a dollop of cream and any remaining syrup. The candied lemon slices you see are completely optional.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends. See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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