Recipe: Nigel Slater's Demerara Lemon Cake

Spring and Summer bring with them the beautiful fresh produce and one of my favourite things in the world: lemons. Juicy, tart and aromatic lemons. I love cooking with them, on fish, chicken, pork. They are so versatile lending their aroma so perfectly to both savoury and sweet dishes.

Friday has become mine and Matilda's baking or pudding day. Last week we made the delicious Portuguese rice pudding. This week we had a friend over for tea so as the sun was out lemons sprung to mind. I found this fantastic Nigel Slater cake on the Guardian website, which I adapted a little as I didn't have all the ingredients in my cupboard. I substituted the demerara sugar for plain old caster sugar. Not having enough ground almonds but a lot of semolina I chucked it in and thankfully it worked. We had a slice with a nice cup of Lady grey and delicious it was too, light, moist with the lemon infusing each mouthful. Yummy and easy to make, why don't you give it a go over the weekend?!

The topping:
a lemon
2 tbsps demerara sugar
4 tbsps water

The Cake
200g butter
200g demerara sugar
90g plain flour
90g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
a large lemon
4 large eggs

For the syrup:
2 tbsps demerara
the juice of the lemon above

Set the oven at 165°C/gas mark 3.
To make the topping, slice the lemon thinly and put it in a small saucepan with the sugar and water. Bring to the boil then watch closely for five minutes or so until the water has almost evaporated and the lemon slices are sticky. Set aside.
Beat the butter and sugar together in a food processor till they are light and fluffy. Meanwhile, weigh the flour and almonds and mix them with the baking powder. Grate the lemon and add the zest to the flour mixture.

Reserve the juice for the syrup. Line a baking tin with a piece of baking parchment or greaseproof. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork, then add them to the creamed butter and sugar, a little at a time. The mixture may curdle a little, but don't worry. Remove the mixing bowl from the machine and gently fold in the flour, almonds and baking powder with a big metal spoon.
Scoop the cake mixture into the lined tin, then lay the reserved lemon slices on top, overlapping them down the centre of the cake. Bake for about 45 minutes till risen and golden. Insert a metal skewer to see if it is ready. If it comes out clean, the cake is done; if it has mixture sticking to it, then it needs a few minutes longer. Remove the cake from the oven and set aside.
Stir the demerara into the reserved lemon juice. Spike the top of the cake then spoon over the lemon and
sugar. Leave to cool.