I am a little obsessed with this idea of a crunchy/contrasting topping on cakes. I am also a little obsessed with all things lemon – desserts like this Lemon Mousse-y creation or a generous squeeze at the end of Pakistani dishes like fish biryani. When I saw a recipe for a Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, a thoughtful gift from one of my three favourite brothers and his wife, I knew it had to be. The lemon crunch cake is easy to put together – you literally just dump all the ingredients in the bowl and mix till smooth. The fabulous crunch topping is as simple as lemon juice + sugar and it totally works!
The original recipe was called “lemon drizzle traybake”, but since I turned it into a cake because I don’t own a 12*9 pan and found that the singular most delightful feature was the crunch of the sugar topping I felt that a little renaming was in order so Lemon Crunch Cake it is. This is definitely a lemon lovers cake – if you are not of the “gee what else could I put lemon on variety” then you can scale back the lemon juice from the juice of 2 lemons to 1.5, 1 if you just want a mild flavor. I initially made the Lemon Crunch Cake with 3/4 cup sugar in the topping and it didn’t quite cover the top so I suggest going with the full cup if you want the full crunch effect. This cake pairs wonderfully with summer berries and creme fraiche and keeps well for 2-3 days.
Lemon Crunch Cake
For the cake
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/2 cup neutral oil I used canola
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 cup self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Zest of 2 Lemons
For the crunchy topping
- 3/4 cup sugar
- juice of 2 lemons
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 9-inch pan or a 12*9 inch tin
Combine all the inrgedients in a large bowl and beat until blended
Pour the batter into the pan and level the top with a spatula
Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick comes out clean. This took me 45-50 minutes.
Invert the cake out when it is cool enough to handle onto the cake plate you will be using
Combine the lemon juice and sugar for the topping in a bowl and spoon the mixture over the warm cake.
Making your own self raising flour is easy - for this recipe take 2 cups + 3 tbsp flour and combine with 4.5 tsp baking powder + 3/4 tsp salt!
Adapted from Mary Berry's Baking Bible