This is a perfect cake for someone going on maternity leave or who has just had a baby – a deliciously light, zingy lemon cake decorated with a teddy bear and a bow.
I made this for the lovely lady I sit next to at work for her last day before maternity leave. I’ve made a couple of cakes for baby showers before and
didn’t want to do exactly the same thing again, but it’s hard to think of something completely different (and I flatly refuse to make one of those baby bump cakes where the cake is the woman’s stomach!). Luckily I had been on a half-day cake decorating course not long before, where we had made a fondant teddy and a bow. I made them in lilac, a gender neutral colour, which was good because my colleague doesn’t know whether she will be having a boy or girl.
I had found out by a not-particularly-subtle line of questioning a few weeks before that her favourite flavour cake was lemon so that’s what I decided to make. I wasn’t overly impressed with some of the lemon cakes I’ve made in the past – they were good, but not as moist and light as I would have liked, so I decided to try something different.
I came across this recipe from the wonderful Richard Burr, a runner up on the last Great British Bake Off. I didn’t have time to make a triple-layer cake so changed the quantities, and I knew I wanted to decorate it differently, and I also made a different filling, so really it isn’t his recipe at all (his is for a lemon and raspberry cake ) – I just used it as a starting point. So I think I can safely say that this is my own recipe. It was probably the nicest lemon cake I’ve ever eaten, so I am calling this the
Best-Ever Lemon Cake – an original recipe by Caroline Makes
Double these quantities for a bigger cake – this made two thin layers each about 2cm high.
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
For the filling:
250g butter, softened
500g icing sugar, sifted
3 tbsp lemon curd
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease (and also line, if desired) a loose-bottomed 20cm round cake tin.
Cream the butter and the sugar then whisk in the eggs. Fold in the flour, then the lemon zest and juice.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked (test the middle with a skewer). Allow to cool in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack.
When the cake is cool, carefully slice through the middle so you have two layers. As mentioned before, these will be quite thin –once the cake is covered in fondant it adds height but if you’re not going to do that and want to ice the top, you may want to double the quantities of this recipe to make a deeper cake (which will need a longer cooking time).
To make the filling, carefully cream the butter with a little of the icing sugar, adding more icing sugar as you continue to mix. When you have used all the icing sugar add the lemon curd and stir in. Use to fill the cake; I also used a little as a crumb coating for the sides and top as I was covering it in fondant.
I rolled out the fondant and covered the cake, then simply placed the teddy bear and bow I had already made on top. I also had a few flowers I had made for another project and didn’t use which I brushed with lilac lustre dust and added these to the cake as well.
I actually had to make the cake two days in advance as I was out in the evenings and wanted the cake for a particular day when my colleague was departing for maternity leave. I wrapped the cake in foil and placed it in a cake tin and it tasted perfect even three days later when there were a few slices of the cake left. I highly recommend this lovely set of cake tins from Flamingo Gifts – they come as a set of three of varying sizes, which of course fit inside each other for convenient storage. The RRP is £25 which I think is reasonable for a set of three – the largest tin is very roomy and the middle tin will also comfortably fit a cake, while you could use the smallest tin for biscuits. I love the fun animal designs which are also available on other products in the range like egg cups and coasters.