This very refreshing cake pushes it way into dessert territory with its creamy filling. And that is no bad thing!
Essentially it is a layered lemon drizzle cake, filled and topped with a mixture of cream and lemon curd. I have added fresh lemon thyme to the cake itself and to flavour the drizzle and filling: thyme can work so well in cakes, adding an extra depth of flavour and a gentle, heady aroma.
The filling and icing can be spooned over and swirled for ease, or piped: it is purely personal choice!
A very easy cake
Seriously, the cake mixture is made in moments, is totally fool-proof and is gorgeous to eat: you literally just mix the ingredients together to form a thick batter, pour it into tins and bake.
You can instead make a Victoria Sandwich, filling and drizzling in the same way.
The thyme syrup is quick and easy to make but it can be made in advance.
A light, tangy filling & topping
The filling is very light, has a lovely tang from the lemon curd and melts in the mouth as you eat it. I add a little melted white chocolate to the filling so that it holds it shape just a little more than just using the cream and the lemon curd (almost like a mousse), but you can leave out the chocolate.
You can just use cream as the filling and topping, or leave the cake un-topped (perhaps dusted with icing sugar), but the inclusion of the lemon curd makes it even more special.
For a cake such as this I like to keep it simple with just a few decorative touches.
Here I used some thyme flowers, sugared thyme and candied lemon: all of which are edible. But grated lemon zest and grated white chocolate also work very well.
Top tip: the thyme syrup can be made ahead and in larger quantities if preferred. It will keep in the fridge in a screw-top jar for about a month.
Recipe: lemon thyme drizzle cake – makes one 7″ cake
- 6 large eggs
- 375g caster sugar
- 150ml full fat milk
- 290g self-raising flour, sifted
- grated zest of 3 large lemons
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
- a generous pinch of salt
- about 1 tablespoon thyme or lemon thyme leaves (from about 8 large sprigs)
- 100g sugar
- 100ml water
- 8 large sprigs of thyme
- juice of the three lemons
- 50g caster sugar
Filling and topping:
- 300ml double cream, whipped until firm peaks form
- 120g best quality lemon curd
- 6 tablespoons of the cooled thyme syrup
- 50g white chocolate, melted and cooled
(1) Preheat the oven to 170C (fan).
(2) Mix the cake ingredients together just until you get a smooth, thick batter.
(2) Pour into the cake tins, coming to about half a centimetre from the top: it should level off by itself but use a knife to help it if need be!
(3) Bake for about 40 minutes until well risen and golden brown: it takes longer than a normal Victoria sponge cake. Check it is fully cooked by inserting a skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean it is ready.
(4) Leave for about 10 minutes before turning out onto cooling racks and removing the greaseproof.
(5) Meanwhile make the thyme syrup and the drizzle, which takes moments to put together:
For the thyme syrup, put the ingredients into a small pan, bring to the boil, making sure the sugar has dissolved. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half and is thicker and syrupy. Remove from the heat. You can either strain it now or leave it to cool with the thyme still in it, which allows the thyme to infuse further.
For the drizzle, mix the lemon juice and sugar together. Stir in 3-4 tablespoons of the thyme syrup.
(6) While the cakes are still warm, make a few holes in the cakes with a skewer and spoon the drizzle over the surface of the cakes. Leave to cool fully.
(7) Mix the lemon curd with the thyme syrup and the chocolate. Fold into the cream either fully or leaving it marbled. Chill until needed.
(8) Sandwich together and top the cakes with the lemon curd and cream mixture. For the topping, either spread it over roughly, swirl it or pipe it. Alternatively, fill the cake but just dust the surface with icing sugar.