Lorraine Pascale’s Lighter Blueberry and Lemon Drizzle Cake

I have now finished work and am officially on maternity leave! Cue renewed energy and, more importantly, time to bake again! Hurrah!

I decided to make something from my, as yet unused, copy of Lorraine Pascale’s A Lighter Way to Bake. I like the idea of this book although I have to admit I’m always a bit skeptical of ‘lighter’ baking. I think for the best results, you need to use proper sugar, full fat etc. But I’m sure there are some pretty good compromises out there so thought I’d give something a go.

I settled on the Blueberry and Limoncello Drizzle Cake (although I made it with lemon juice instead of Limoncello, hence why I’m calling it Blueberry and Lemon Drizzle Cake). The recipe includes Greek yoghurt and four egg whites but other than that, the list of ingredients is pretty much what you’d expect for a cake.

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It’s pretty easy to make, although I’d recommend getting everything ready and weighed out before you start. I often do this when baking but didn’t on this occasion and found it a bit frustrating to keep having to stop to weigh, separate eggs and whisk egg whites up etc.

The icing isn’t really a typical ‘drizzle’, which I think you make using caster sugar and lemon juice (or orange/lime etc). This is more of a runny, lemony icing. Still yummy, but doesn’t quite have the same crunch as a traditional drizzle topping. Speaking of toppings, Lorraine advises to stir in half the blueberries to the cake mix and then use the other half to top the cake  (before baking) in lines across the centre. I think it would work better to just stir them all through, or at least scatter the blueberries across the top more randomly. I didn’t think the lines/decoration worked.

Finally, I must mention the cooking time – mine took forever! The recommended cooking time is 25-30 minutes – mine was still very wobbly in the middle after 25 minutes. I left it for about 40/45 minutes after which I thought I had better take it out. However, it was a little underdone and could have done with even longer. So I’ve no idea how well this was tested but either the temperature is wrong or the cooking time is way off.  Bear that in mind if you make it, as my cake ended up a little heavy because it was underbaked – I’m not convinced that this recipe has been that well tested to be honest!

My husband really enjoyed this cake but I was a little disappointed with it. If I were to make again, I think I’d make my usual lemon drizzle cake and just add blueberries!

Lorraine Pascale’s Blueberry and Lemon Drizzle Cake (with a few tweaks!)
Serves 12

Spray oil (I don’t use it so just used a bit of olive oil to grease the tin)
125g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g full fat Greek yoghurt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
4 egg whites, whisked until light and frothy
250g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of two lemons, finely grated
200g blueberries

For the icing
50g icing sugar, sifted
2tbsp lemon juice (or limoncello if preferred)

– Preheat the oven to 170C (fan 150C) and set the shelf in the middle of the oven. Grease a 20cm round cake tin with spray oil (or olive oil) and line the bottom with baking parchment.

– Put the sugar, butter and yoghurt into a large bowl and whisk like mad using an electric mixer until well combined. It won’t become light and fluffy, and will have some little lumps in it but apparently this is what you are looking for, as long as the mixture has combined well.

– Add the whole eggs and half the flour and beat again for a good few minutes until the mixture is well blended and looks a little smoother. Fold in the whisked egg whites with the rest of the flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Then beat until you have a smooth batter (I thought this defeated the object of folding in the egg whites but that’s what is advised anyway! Another reason I’m not convinced that this recipe has been well tested/proof read!)

– Stir through the blueberries (or stir in half, smooth the top of the cake down with the back of a spoon and then scatter the remaining blueberries on top). Bake in the oven for at least 30 minutes, but bear in mind it will probably take longer. Keep an eye on it and take out once a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the sponge feels firm to the touch.

– To make the topping, put the icing sugar into a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice/limoncello. Once the cake is cooled, place onto a serving plate and drizzle the icing over the top, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Store in the fridge.

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