Monday, 22 August 2016

Earl Grey lemon drizzle loaf

It’s that time of year again. The first episode of the new Great British Bake Off series airs on Wednesday night, which, of course, means it’s the perfect time to whack out your rarely utilised, mad baking skills! This cake is guaranteed to impress all your friends and family (if you decide you’re kind enough to share it with them, that is).

The recipe is modern take on the traditional lemon drizzle cake, and one I think it might just be my new ‘signature bake’. I’ve adapted this from Fanny Zanotti’s Paris Pastry Club Earl Grey tea weekend loaf recipe, which you can find online here.

So, let’s get cracking. Ready, set, bake!

Ingredients:
250g caster sugar
4 eggs
150ml crème fraîche
50g melted butter
1 tbsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea leaves
200g plain flour
Zest of one lemon
1 tsp baking powder

Decoration:
160g icing sugar (sieved)
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp boiling water
50g pistachio kernels (chopped)

Start with the basic prep work: preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C for a fan oven) and melt some extra butter to brush over the tin – I just used a standard loaf tin – and then dust with a little bit of flour. I’d only ever used cake tin liners before, but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy this method was, so I’m definitely a convert!

After this is sorted, blend together the caster sugar and the tea leaves in a processor.

Add the eggs and whisk together in the mixer for about 4 minutes.

After this, the mix should be light in colour, thick and airy.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and lemon zest. Once combined, add this bit by bit to your main mixture, folding in gently so you don’t let too much air out of the batter.

Next, mix the crème fraîche with the melted butter. Once you’ve combined all the other ingredients, fold in the crème fraîche mix in the same way you’ve added the flour: not all at once, and gently, until only just combined.

Pour your mix into the prepped tin and pop into the oven.

Bake for 5 minutes at your initial temperature. After this reduce to 190°C (170°C fan) and bake for 10 minutes. Finally, reduce to 180°C (160°C fan) and bake for 25 minutes.

I ended up adding another ten minutes to this time at the lowest temperature and it was still really moist afterwards. I find it’s best just to judge whether it’s ready by inserting a skewer (or a knife) right down to the bottom of the cake. If the skewer comes out without cake sticking to it, it’s ready to take out of the oven.

Let the cake tin stand and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes, before running a knife round the edges of the tin and popping out your perfectly baked cake. You can whip up your icing while your cake is cooling. Just add the lemon juice and boiling water to the icing sugar and stir well.

The icing should be runny enough to pour but not so runny that it won’t stick to your cake at all. Drizzle it artfully onto the cake for maximum Instagram potential! Finally, roughly chop your pistachios and sprinkle them on top of your freshly iced cake.

And there you have it, the perfect cake to enjoy with a nice cup of tea, over the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off.

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