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Weekday Lemon Cake

A while ago, I spent a couple of days working in a little studio looking out on the most gloriously laden lemon tree I have ever seen – fruit drooping from its branches by the dozen. It truly was a magnificent sight.

In honour of that beautiful tree, and the philosophy of The Plain Cake Appreciation Society – the appreciation of good, simple cake – I give you my weekday lemon cake. A (very) simple melt-and-mix number, perfect for when cake is in order, but fuss is not.

From:The Plain Cake Appreciation Society by Tilly Pamment

Weekday Lemon Cake


plain (all-purpose) flour, to dust

220 g (7¾ oz) caster (superfine) sugar

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

225 g (8 oz) self-raising flour

125 g (4½ oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 eggs, lightly beaten

130 g (4½ oz) Greek-style yoghurt

60 ml (2 fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk


120 g (4¼ oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 160°C (315°F) fan-forced and grease a 1.5 litre (52 fl oz) loaf (bar) tin thoroughly with butter. Dust with a little plain flour, tapping out any excess.

Place the caster sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and use your fingertips to rub the zest through the sugar, releasing the oils and perfuming the sugar. Add the flour to the bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the melted butter, eggs, yoghurt, milk and lemon juice and whisk to a smooth batter, taking care not to overmix.

Spoon the batter into the tin, smoothing the top with a spatula and tapping the tin lightly on the bench to remove any air bubbles. Bake in the oven for 45–50 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake is cool, make the lemon glaze. Combine the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until smooth. Check the consistency of the glaze and add a little more lemon juice if needed until you have a nice drippy glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow to set (or not) before cutting the cake into thick slices and serving with a big cup of tea.

This cake with keep happily in an airtight container at room temperature for 2–3 days.


Earl Grey and white peonies.

‘Images and text from The Plain Cake Appreciation Society by Tilly Pamment, photography by Tilly Pamment. Murdoch Books RRP $39.99.’

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