Blueberry Lemon Drizzle Cake

Happy, bright lemon cake with semolina and blitzed blueberries. # 243: Blueberry Lemon Drizzle Cake

Happy 2022! After the luscious chocolate-filled holidays, I tend to lean towards citrus bakes. Don’t worry, I have plenty of chocolate things planned for this year! But the first few weeks of the year are an ode to zingy lemon sunshine.

The acidity in the lemon syrup makes this cake pop and sparkle with each bite. Choosing to call that goosebump-inducing cringe when lemon hits the back of your tongue “sparkle.” Feels appropriate.

Quick poll: are blueberries truly blue? Whenever I bake with them, they turn a really deep purple color. It’s pretty of course but definitely not blue! All in favor of changing their name to purpleberries, say “aye.”

Whatever color they are to you, they really are the perfect pair for lemon. They bring a more mellow sweetness, helping to balance out that acidic zing.

This recipe is from Crumb by Ruby Tandoh (another GBBO alumna!) and I’m falling in love with her writing. Her style is so casual and yet you can tell how much time and research went into every sentence. It makes it easy for me to trust her flavor combos and recipe twists – like adding semolina to a classic lemon drizzle cake.

I added in the blueberry for very official, scientific reasons:

  • I had a small handful of freeze-dried blueberries left in the bag and was cleaning out the pantry
  • My nails are painted blue right now
  • I love lemon blueberry pancakes

Look how the sugar forms perfect ridges when I poured it over the butter! So satisfying. This is definitely one of the reasons why I have this blog – I find moments like this SO cool and neither Nate nor my cats are interested in sugar patterns.

Creaming butter and sugar by hand is also pretty satisfying (when in small quantities… nobody got time for creaming a pound of butter.) It changes from sandy clumps of sugar-encrusted butter into a smooth, fluffy cloud. If you pinch a bit of it between your fingers, you shouldn’t feel any of the sugar granules. I’m gonna have to look this up, but I’m assuming that beating the butter helps release water that starts to dissolve the sugar and help it come together into a cohesive mixture.

Aaaand then you have the scary step where you add the eggs and batter looks super curdled, eek. Have no fear, it’s just a normal argument between the water in the egg and the fat in the butter. They are not friends and would prefer to not emulsify. Flour acts as a buffer, like a hedge between grumpy molecule neighbors.

King Arthur Flour recommends adding a tablespoon of the recipe’s flour along with the egg to help prevent the curdling all together, but it’ll fix no matter when you add in the flour. Of course, this recipe is going to look grainy no matter what you do (thank you, semolina!)

To swirl or not to swirl? I decided to smooth it on top and wait to see what happened in the oven.

Ok it kind of swirled itself! And sunk a little in the middle, sigh. I might have underbaked it a tiny bit, even though a cake tester came out nearly clean. Off to buy myself an oven thermometer, be right back.

Also pause in honor of this supremely sparkly cake stand my mom got me for Christmas. Is it over-the-top? Yes. Is it fabulous? 100%.

A lemon drizzle cake is a classic example of a cake soak being put to good use. You make lemon simple syrup (lemon juice instead of water) and pour it over your freshly baked cake to up the pucker element. I added a sprinkle of the powdered blueberry, because why not?

I tried to pour the syrup evenly over the cake, but quite a bit went into the slightly sunken middle. Just means the first bite of each slice will be very zingy! Prepare yourself.

Like a sparkly cake halo!

This cake has aspirations.

The blueberry batter turned into a surprise middle, which is kind of fun.

Happy munching!

Recipe mostly from: Crumb by Ruby Tandoh

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