Hello and welcome to my Little Willow blog, well welcome to those who might stumble across it anyway as I have yet to give this address to anyone :) I thought I might try and see how I get along with just writing in it first. It's all a lot of random stuff, but hey, hopefully there'll be something interesting for people

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Baking Review - Lemon loaf

 Every time someone visits the house is another excuse to make a cake and this time I decided to give something a try that we've not had before so I went for the, what I thought would be, easy option of lemon loaf from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

The recipe is as follows:


320g caster sugar
3 eggs
grated zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
350g plain flour
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
250ml whole milk (although I used semi skimmed)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g unsalted butter, melted

Lemon syrup
freshly squeezed juice and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar

a 23x13-cm loaf tin, greased and dusted with flour

Makes 8-10 slices


Preheat the oven to 170oC (325F) Gas 3

Put the sugar, eggs and lemon zest in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well mixed

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl. Combine the milk and vanilla extract in another bowl. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat well, then beat in one-third of the milk mixture. Repeat this process twice more until everything has been added. Turn the mixer up to a high speed and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Turn the mixer down to a low speed, pour in the melted butter and beat until well incorporated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden brown and the sponge bounces back when touched.

For the lemon syrup - While the cake is baking, put the lemon juice and zest, sugar and 100ml of water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over low heat. Raise the heat and boil until it has reduced by half, or until it has a thin syrup consistency. When the hot cake comes out of the oven, put it on a wire cooling rack in the sink and pour the syrup all over the top. The excess syrup will run over the edges into the sink. Leave to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto the wire cooling rack to cool completely.

I think the main mistake I made was just reading the ingredients list and thinking, yeah there's not too much there, should be quick and easy. I didn't realise until I was literally up to those points in the recipe that I needed a number of different bowls and a good deal of coordination lol. It wasn't too bad in the end, it was just unexpected - that'll teach me anyway!
I also used my silicone loaf "tin" for the first time and I don't think it's the best material for a loaf tin as it did bulge out at the sides quite a bit which I think affected the cooking time to be honest - made it longer. I may invest in an actual loaf tin. The silicone is great for the round 'tins' as it's not able to bulge.

As I mentioned above, it did take a bit longer than the stated cooking time - probably about a further 10 minutes. Because of this, it was quite hard to coordinate making the lemon syrup as if you put that on too early, the it wil have all boiled away, but if you leave it too late then the cake won't be hot any more. I managed to kind of work it out, though I think I did reduce it by more than half, could have done with more syrup to coat the cake.

I did find the cake enjoyable to eat though I felt it wasn't quite lemony enough - I think extra syrup would have helped and maybe another lemon zest in the recipe? But I'm not quite brave enough to amend recipes yet :-) I stated above that it makes 8-10 slices but I think it will go much further than that (especially if you have a loaf tin that bulges at the sides! hehe) as it is quite a dense cake and a full slice across is a little too much.


  1. I would like to volunteer my services as taste tester next time you make this!

  2. Love the detailed instructions and the pictures!