The lemon drizzle cake is regarded in the United Kingdom and various countries that were or still are part of the British Commonwealth. Traditionally served as part of the spread for afternoon tea, it is basically a butter-type cake with a lemon-infused sugar glaze poured over it once it’s been taken out of the oven. It is such a traditional treat that British celeb-chefs like Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, not to mention Tana Ramsay (Chef Gordon‘s better half), all have their own versions for baking this particular classic.
I was intrigued by the idea of making a lemon drizzle cake for merienda (the Philippine counterpart of afternoon tea) recently, but also found myself contemplating a batch of madeleines for my sister’s friend and baking a fresh rum cake for my mother. I am pleased to say that, thanks to a bottle of lemon-flavoured KGB alcoholic soda, I made a lemon drizzle with a grown-up twist.
This isn’t the first time I’ve used an alco-pop in baking. Previous iterations of my rum cake were actually flavoured with Vodka Cruisers and Vodka Mudslides. All, of course, were successfully baked and tasted absolutely delicious.
If you’re worried that this cake may be too boozy for kids or people who can’t handle alcohol, never fear: the heat from baking actually dissipates the alcohol content and simply leaves the flavour. In this case, you get a deliciously lemony and fluffy cake with a sugary lemon glaze that’s crisp when you bite into the crust and just melts in your mouth to leave a scintillating hint of citrus on your palate. Plus, it’s the sort of cake that’s an absolute doddle to do.
One thing though, don’t even think of replacing the lemon alco-pop with a posh citrus liqueur like a limoncello. You actually need the fizziness to help the cake rise and you won’t be improving the flavour too much.
Lemon Vodka Cake
For the Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup vanilla sugar or granulated white sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar or golden caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup lemon-flavoured vodka soda (alco-pop)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon flavouring
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-1/2 cups softened salted butter
For the Glaze:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup granulated white sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon-flavoured vodka soda
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees / Gas Mark 4. Grease a medium-sized heart-shaped cake tin; set aside.
Cream together the butter and sugars till light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the lemon vodka, vanilla, and lemon flavouring; stir well. Sift in 1 cup of the flour along with the baking powder and baking soda; mix well. Add half the milk, then sift in a second cup of flour. Pour in the last of the milk and sift in the last cup of flour. Mix until a thick, rich batter is formed. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 – 53 minutes.
While the cake is in the oven, put all the ingredients for the glaze in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the butter melts. Lower the heat slightly and cook whilst stirring till slightly thickened.
Remove the cake from the oven and tip out onto a serving plate ASAP. Brush with the prepared glaze. Leave to cool for about an hour or until the glaze has gone white and set into a sugary crust.
Makes 12 large or 24 small servings.
I can’t begin to tell you how deliciously moreish this cake is. It’s perfect enough for noshing on its own or with a cup of milky tea (blossomy Earl Gray is nice; spicy chai even better) or a mug of homespun hot chocolate.