Who doesn’t love a cup of tea and a piece of cake? Even those who claim not to have a sweet tooth can rarely resist a morning or afternoon treat in the way of a simple cake and a cup of tea. By simple I mean a cake that isn’t overly fussy and infused with too many flavours, but simple certainly doesn’t mean plain or boring. This recipe is a great example of a lovely simple cake that is moist and flavourful without being cloyingly sweet. This is a favourite of mine and something I make often as it’s easy to make, keeps well and is a real crowd pleaser. The lavender in the icing is optional but I do like the slight floral note it adds to the cake. Enjoy with your favourite brew – I particularly like a nice Earl Grey or Darjeeling to accompany a slice (or two).
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 lemons, zest and juice
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
150g icing sugar
Pinch of edible lavender or poppy seeds – optional
Preheat the oven to 180C, fan 160C. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper. In a large bowl, or in a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, beating in well. Add the vanilla, the zest of both lemons and the juice of 1 lemon. Fold in the self-raising flour and almonds until well mixed.
Pour into the tin and bake for 55-60 mins. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 mins, then remove and let cool completely. Mix the icing sugar with a little of the remaining lemon juice to make a thick, pourable icing. Spoon over the cake and sprinkle with the lavender or poppy seeds, if using.