For the past week I have been enjoying visiting my parents down in Naples, Florida. They are what we Canadians call half-jokingly, half-jealously “snow birds”. In other words, they fly south for the winter! I arrived from chilly London with my shorts, sandals, and bikini, expecting to be basking in the hot sun all week. However, my last week here has been graced with the coolest temperatures and heaviest rain my parents have had since arriving in November! There was even a tornado warning for the area yesterday and I’ve had to swap my shorts and t-shirts for jeans and jumpers. Go figure. I know my friends in the UK will have little sympathy as last I heard there was snow on the ground in London.
Despite yesterday’s blustery and inclement weather, my parents had a barbecue and invited a few friends round. I made two cakes as a belated birthday cake for my mum whose birthday is at the end of December. My mum has coeliac disease, which means that she cannot eat gluten. It’s not simply a lifestyle choice for her, although the recent rise in popularity of going gluten-free means that her options are much less limited than of yore.
For example, ready mixed gluten free flours are now easily available in many supermarkets. Before, my mum would bake with plain rice flour with moderate to miserable results. The best things were treats like brownies, that didn’t require any levening agents, and banana cake, which had the moistness of the banana to help save it from being dry and crumbly. One of the tricks of baking gluten free is to use many types of flours and these ready mixes make that so much easier.
My mum requested carrot cake with cream cheese icing. I used my time old favourite carrot cake recipe, Canada’s Best Carrot Cake. I truly think it is the best carrot cake recipe I’ve ever come across. The pineapple is the secret ingredient.
I also wanted to make a lemon drizzle cake just because I love lemon drizzle cake! This type of cake would normally be disastrous if I tried to make it gluten free, but with the ready mixed flour and a few tweaks of the original recipe, it turned out remarkably well.
It has a good crumb and is not dry and sandy as is often the case with gluten-free cakes. The lemon flavour is strong and it is deliciously moist. I think you could fool people into thinking this cake was not gluten-free at all.
Gluten Free Lemon Drizzle Cake
Makes one 5″x9″ loaf cake
- 1/2 cup / 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup / 200g white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- zest of 1-2 lemons
- 1 1/2 cups / 190g gluten free flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 6 tbsp milk + 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup/100g white sugar + 1/2 cup/125 ml lemon juice (from the lemons and topped up with bottled lemon juice)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice + around 1 cup icing sugar (I didn’t measure, just mixed in sugar until it was the right consistency)
- Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Grease and flour a loaf tin and line the bottom with some baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the lemon zest and vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Mix together the lemon juice and milk.
- Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add the flour and the milk alternately, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the cake batter to the prepared tin and bake for 45min – 1 hour or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, whilst the cake is baking, add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice to a small saucepan. Heat on medium/low heat until all the sugar is dissolved and very gently simmer for a minute or so until the mixture is slightly thickened.
- Once the cake is out of the oven, let cool for 10 minutes before poking holes all over the top of the cake with a tooth pick. Carefully pour the lemon sugar syrup over the top of the cake and let it all soak in. This is the secret to a very lemony, very moist lemon drizzle cake.
- Once completely cool, remove from the pan. Combine the lemon juice and icing sugar until icing the desired consistency is created. I aimed for icing that was thin enough to drizzle easily but thick enough so that it wouldn’t just run off the top of the cake.