Lemon Syrup Cake with Lemon Cream

11:30 am on 22 August 2011

The lemon cream is a magical little recipe where, by simmering sugar and cream for exactly three minutes then adding lemon zest and juice, you form a set lemon cream that is silky smooth. There is no doubt a scientific explanation. However, we have yet to discover it and possibly half the fun is trying to guess.

Soul LemonCremeIngredients

Lemon cream

  • 600ml cream
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 small lemons, zest and juice

Lemon syrup cake

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3 medium-sized eggs
  • 150ml milk
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 lemons, finely grated zest and juice
  • 100g granulated sugar


Lemon cream

Combine the cream and sugar in a large pan and bring gently to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for exactly 3 minutes. (Less than 3 minutes and the cream won’t set; longer than 3 minutes and it can separate a little once set, with a watery layer on the bottom).

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly before adding the lemon zest and juice (this ensures a fresh lemon flavour rather than a cooked one).

Leave to infuse for 15–30 minutes, then pass through a chinois or fine sieve to remove any pieces of lemon. Pour into 8 little Chinese teacups (or ramekins) and place in the fridge to set. The cream should set within an hour.

Serve this with lovely light lemon syrup cake: place a cup of the lemon cream on a flat dessert plate, and add a serving of the cake to the side.

Lemon syrup cake

Don’t be tempted to use an electric whisk or beater for this cake, as it turns out much lighter and fluffier when mixed in the food processor.

Preheat the oven to 160ºC and line a 30cm x 23cm x 4cm baking tin with baking paper. Place the butter and sugar in a food processor and blend until pale and fluffy. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary, then add the milk and whiz until creamy.

Sift the flour and baking powder, combine with the lemon zest and gradually add through the tube with the motor running, again scraping down the sides as necessary. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing the surface. Bake for 25–30 minutes until the cake is golden and slightly shrinking from the sides, and when an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Combine the lemon juice and granulated sugar, stirring well to combine, then prick the warm cake all over with a skewer. Spoon the cold syrup over the top. Leave to cool, allowing the juice to sink into the sponge. The surface will have a nice crystalline sheen. Cut into slices to serve.

Wine recommendation

Jo Burzynska MA AIWS

Wine editor - Viva, New Zealand Herald

Author of Wine Class: All you need to know about wine in New Zealand (Random House)

Framingham Noble Riesling Marlborough 2009 375ml)

Saint Clair Awatere Valley Reserve Noble Riesling 2009 (375ml)


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