Lemon drizzle cake is the UK’s favourite cake, according to new research, while chocolate cake is the most popular globally. Here’s a rundown of the results, plus a recipe to make the teatime favourite for yourself
For a country that turned a humble baking competition into a global TV sensation (that’s The Great British Bake Off, of course), it’s fair to say the UK knows a thing or two about a good cake.
From a sugar-dusted Victoria sandwich to a thick slab of sultana-laden fruit cake, there are few more British of traditions than settling down in the afternoon with a cup of English breakfast and a slice of something delicious.
However, recent research has revealed that neither of the aforementioned varieties – nor carrot, nor coffee and walnut – rank as our favourite baked treat. That accolade, in fact, goes to the lemon drizzle cake.
Cooker brand Leisure analysed how frequently certain cakes appeared in online searches to discover the most popular cake in different countries. Chocolate cake took second place, with carrot cake in third, while banana cake and red velvet rounded out the UK top five.
The global winner, however, was chocolate cake – the most searched-for bake in 81 countries, including places as far-flung as Iceland, Fiji and Mongolia, while red velvet came second, the favourite in Greece, Peru and The Bahamas, and top among 14 countries in Europe.
In the US, pineapple upside down cake took the top spot, while both Australia and New Zealand favoured banana cake. Lemon drizzle, while number one for UK bakers, only came ninth globally – a travesty, in our opinion. What’s not to love about this sticky, sweet yet sour, deliciously moist and moreish cake?
So if all this talk of cake is making you hungry, here’s a recipe from MasterChef winner Mat Folas that will help to cure your cravings. Tea? Oh, yes please. I’ll have an English breakfast, milk, no sugar, thanks.
Lemon drizzle cake
Recipe from Afternoon Tea at Bramble Café by Mat Follas (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small)
“I made no less than 12 different lemon drizzle cakes when we were thinking about opening the cafe. It’s my first choice of cake with a morning cuppa, so I wanted to get it just right. This recipe is bulletproof and requires very little work as long as you weigh accurately and use fresh eggs. This recipe is also dairy-free for any lactose intolerant guests.”
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 60-70 minutes
Ingredients (serves 8):
Approximately 250g self-raising flour
Approximately 250ml plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Approximately 250g granulated sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
For the drizzle:
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons
50g granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
Non-stick 900g loaf pan, lightly oiled and lined with baking parchment
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 140°C/120°C fan/gas mark 1.
Step 2: Place your mixing bowl onto your scales and zero the scales. Into the bowl, crack the eggs and make a note of the weight. Add the same weight of flour, oil and sugar, then add the lemon zest.
Step 3: Mix for a few minutes with a hand-held electric whisk or in a stand mixer until it forms a smooth batter. Pour into the lined loaf pan, then place in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean and the internal temperature reaches 90°C.
Step 4: Leave the cake to cool for 20 minutes. For the drizzle, heat the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.
Step 5: To finish, use a skewer to make holes in the top of the cake. Drizzle the lemon syrup into the holes and over the top of the cake to infuse the cake with lemon. Remove the cake from the loaf pan and sprinkle a little caster or granulated sugar over the top of the cake to form a lemon crust.
Images: Getty Images, Steve Painter courtesy of Ryland Peters & Small