It’s a safe bet that you’ll find slices of this cake offered in tea rooms, coffee shops, home kitchens, and take-aways throughout the Emerald Isle. It’s a “standard” to which bakers often add a personal touch — think extra lemon (or orange) zest in the cake or fresh herbs in the drizzle — and it would be a delightful addition to your Easter menu. Nicholas Mosse (Bennettsbridge, County Kilkenny), one of Ireland’s most well-known pottery brands, favors the cake so much that they suggest you add fresh rosemary to the topping and serve it, appropriately, on one of the pieces in its Wildflower Collection: Clematis, Blue Blossom, and Wildflower Meadow (photo courtesy of Nicholas Mosse). You’ll find it and other yummy springtime sweets in my new cookbook Delicious Ireland. To order a signed copy, visit irishcook.com.

LEMON LOAF WITH ROSEMARY DRIZZLE

Makes 1 Loaf

For the cake

10 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups demerara sugar

2 large eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, sifted

Steps:

     1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with no-stick baking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both sides (to use as handles to lift the cake from the pan).

     2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and zest. Beat in the flour, milk, and salt until the mixture is smooth. Transfer to the prepared pan; smooth the top.

     3. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until the top is brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes; lift the cake from the pan. Prick the top with a fork.

For the drizzle

6 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 sprigs fresh rosemary

Steps:

     1. In a small saucepan, bring the water, sugar, lemon juice, and rosemary to a boil. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Let steep for 10 minutes; strain the rosemary.

     2. Slowly drizzle the warm syrup over the cake. Let cool completely before cutting into slices. (The cake is best eaten fresh but will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a week; or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months).

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Tags: Baking, Cooking, Desserts, Irish Kitchen, Irish cooking, Meals, Recipes

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