A drizzle cake always disappears first from the table at a fête or bake sale. This one has limes and clementines added to the lemons for the most citrusy kick of all. Cornmeal or polenta adds a golden glow to the sponge, but if you prefer you can substitute the same amount of plain flour. A slab of this will make your day complete.
Makes 12 large squares
For the cake
225g soft butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
4 free range eggs, room temperature
125g plain flour
125g fine yellow cornmeal or quick-cook polenta
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
125g lemon-flavoured or plain whole yoghurt
For the topping
100 g caster sugar, or granulated for extra crunch
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C 160°C fan/gas 4. Grease a 23cm shallow square tin with butter, then line it with baking parchment. Finely grate the zest from all the fruit, taking care not to remove the bitter white pith. Put 2 teaspoons of the mixed zests in a large bowl with the butter and sugar, saving the rest for later. For a straight-up lemon cake or lime cake, simply use the zest and juice from one kind of fruit (you’ll need 4 teaspoons zest and 80ml juice).
2 Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale. Scrape the sides of the bowl down every now and again with a spatula, so that every last bit gets mixed in.
3 Crack the eggs into a measuring jug. Pour one egg into the bowl, then beat it into the creamed mixture until completely combined, fluffy and light. Add the rest of the eggs one by one, beating well each time. If the mixture starts to look slimy, add 1 tablespoon of the flour and it will become smooth again. Thoroughly mix together the flour, cornmeal or polenta, salt and baking powder, then sift half of it on top of the egg mixture. Using a spatula or a large metal spoon, fold it in until the batter is thick and fairly smooth.
4 Fold in the yoghurt in the same way, then sift over and fold in the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape the batter into the prepared tin, level the top, then give it a sharp tap on the work surface to help remove any bubbles that can sometimes appear in this cake. Bake for 20 minutes, or until it is golden and has risen all over, then turn the oven down to 160°C 140°C fan/gas 3. If it’s browning too much on one side, quickly and carefully turn it around. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch, or it passes the skewer test. Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack for a few minutes.
5 Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from 1 lemon, 1 lime and half the clementine, to make about 80ml. Poke 20 or so holes all over the cake using a fine skewer or a cocktail stick. Mix the sugar for the topping into the juice (do not let it dissolve), then spoon it over the surface of the still-warm cake, making sure that the sugar looks thick and evenly spread.
6 Leave to cool completely. The sugar will become crisp and sparkly once the syrup soaks into the cake. Cut into squares to serve. If making the cake a day ahead, leave it loosely covered or in a roomy container with a little air for breathing. This will keep the sugary crust crisp.
Recipe from What to Bake and How to Bake It by Jane Hornby (£19.95, Phaidon Press). Photograph Max and Liz Haarala Hamilton
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