Lemon loaf

This recipe is not so much about the fact that I have been trying out cake recipes for weeks, starting with a classic cake without any baking powder from my first cookbook, finding that it was to dry, resulting in adding that baking powder and a syrup to make it lighter and moister. Or about the countless lemons in my fridge that needed a better destination than the trash can. Or about the beautiful flowering thyme on my balcony. No, none of that. This recipe is really about the best looking and tasting strawberries I have ever encountered.

They were the first of the year, and I think I have fallen in love a little. So I couldn’t find it in my heart to just eat these berries without doing something special with them. Therefore I paired them with this lemon loaf infused with a lemon and thyme syrup, added some whipped cream, and it was lovely. So it only seemed fair to share the recipe for this delightful summer cake with you. Happy baking!

320g caster sugar
3 eggs
grated zest of 2 lemons
350g plain flour
1 1/2tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
250ml whole milk
1/2tsp vanilla extract
200g butter, melted

freshly squeezed juice
and zest of 1 lemon
50g caster sugar
100ml water
fresh thyme sprigs


  • Preheat your oven to 170°C.
  • 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 the vanilla extract in another bowl. Add one-third of the flour mixture and one-third of the milk mixture to the sugar mixture and beat well. Repeat this process twice more until everything has been added. Turn the mixture up to high speed and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Turn the mixer down to low speed, pour in the melted butter and beat until well incorporated.
  • Pour the mixture into a prepared loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 80 - 90 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.
  • Put the lemon juice and zest, sugar and 100ml water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Add a handful of fresh thyme sprigs, the more you add the stronger the flavour will be. Bring to the boil over low heat. Raise the heat and boil until it has a thin syrup consistency.
  • When the hot cake comes out of the oven, put it on a wire rack in or over 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 rack to cool completely.
  • Serve with strawberries and whipped cream and a cup of lemon and thyme infused tea.

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