Bake Off 1: Lemon & Thyme Loaf

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My first Country Bumpkin Bakes Challenge from the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days book.

Serves 8-10
Loaf tin: 8.5 x 17.5cm with 7.5cm sides


For the sponge
• 190g unsalted butter
• 190g plain flour• Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
• 3 teaspoons of finely chopped lemon thyme leaves
• 190g caster sugar
• 3 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 25ml soured cream

For the soaking syrup
• 40g cater sugar• Zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon thyme leaves, plus extra sprigs to decorate


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C, then grease the load tin with butter and dust with flour.

2. Using a hand held electric whisk or mixer with paddle attachment slowly beat together the butter, lemon zest, thyme leaves and sugar to bring the ingredients together, then whisk on a medium speed until light and fluffy. Break the eggs into the bowl one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are well combined.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the creamed butter and egg mixture in two batches and mix together lightly. Add the soured cream and then pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin.

4. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until the sponge is firm to touch / skewer comes out clean.

5. While the loaf is cooking you can make the syrup. Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan along with 40ml of water. (remember to do this – as I forgot!!). Bring this to the boil, allowing it to reduce by about half, then pour over the cooked load as soon as it come out of the oven.

6. After adding the syrup allow the loaf to cool a little in the tin before removing. Decorate with a couple of sprigs of lemon thyme and enjoy with a cuppa tea!

Well overall the baking went pretty smoothly, although I seemed to totally miss adding the water to the syrup, but that might be due to baking at 8am on a Sunday morning – yes I am mad!

The proof in the pudding is when you ask your family or friends to try it out.

The verdict = my mum thought it was my best cake yet, and she’s tasted a few of my cakes over the years and work colleagues –well they went silent and disappeared before you could say ‘lemon and thyme’.

So what to bake next??


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  1. Chris
    August 4, 2011 / 10:03 pm

    colleague verdict… mmmmmm, very very lemony, nicely moist and very morish.

  2. Becky Wren
    August 5, 2011 / 6:25 am

    I'll give you that fiver on Monday Chris 🙂

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