When life gives you lemons (make a cake)

So what is with the ‘I’m in isolation so I better bake banana bread’ thing? Never have I seen so many Instagram photos of home-made banana bread in my life. I have so many questions: Why do you have so many bananas? Where did you get such a plentiful bounty to allow some of them to over ripe? Why banana bread? Why not banana pancakes? Or banana fritters? Not only do I have questions, but complete envy… I want some banana bread.

Alas, no bananas in my house, but lemons. And well, when life gives you lemons you should probably make a cake. Luckily for me, lemon loaf cake is one of my favourite cakes ever, and I just so happened to have the ingredients lurking in my cupboards.

I must admit I went to Ina Garten for this, although it is ever so slightly tweaked as 1. I didn’t find the quantities of ingredients needed were quite what I had, and 2. I like it really bloody lemony, so upped the lemon in this bad boy. Perfect with a cuppa, or whenever you go to the kitchen counter to ‘look for something’ and accidentally pop some more in your mouth. Whenever really.

Playlist to cook to: ‘All Out 90’s’ on Spotify (some proper bangers you haven’t heard in a while on there… cake making magic)

Recipe feeds as many as you like, or, just you.

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins


For the cake:
1 lemon – zested
3 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
210g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon essence
120ml vegetable oil
200ml plain yogurt

For the glaze:
1 lemon – juiced (gave me roughly 60ml of juice)
55g sugar


Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees celcius, and grease and line your loaf tin, which should be roughly 21x11x6 in size. I found some loaf baking papers, pre-cut to size so you can simply pop in the tin, in my local pound shop and they are brilliant – worth picking up so you don’t have to faff with greasing (coz we all know it sucks).

In one bowl, throw in the eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon essence, lemon zest and yogurt and whisk it all together until it is all combined. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder, flour and salt. You then need to whisk in the flour mix into the wet ingredients – I like to do this a tablespoon at a time so you don’t get a floury eruption all over your kitchen (lessons learnt, eh?). I also hand whisk this, so I avoid over mixing the cake batter, but, you do you, and if electrical floats your boat, go for it.

Pour in the vegetable oil and fold in using a spatula. It takes a few minutes for it to fully combine into the batter – don’t freak out if you see a layer of oil, it will go away, I promise. Pour your batter into the loaf tin, and pop it on a rack in the middle of the oven for 45-50 minutes. This is the perfect time to do the washing up, although getting your fingers into the bowl and scooping leftover batter into your mouth is also perfectly acceptable.

Keep an eye on the cake whilst it is in the oven to make sure the top doesn’t burn (baking paper over the top will stop this if you notice it), and slide in a skewer to see whether the cake is done – it should come out clean. If not, back into the oven. Leave it on a wire rack in the tin until it is cook enough to handle (15 mins or so), and then remove the tin, leaving the cake on the rack to cool.

To make the glaze, heat the lemon juice and sugar on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Slowly pour this over your cake (and pop a plate under the rack so you don’t get it everywhere), and leave until the cake is completely cool. This is the hardest bit, but try your best to refrain from digging in straight away… a pot of Yorkshire Tea is an essential accompaniment.

Yassss, thou shalt never be hangry again!

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