Thyme & Lemon Cake

Saturday 1 September 2018

"Its so comforting to have a piece of cake, just one small slice" ~Mary Berry

I'm with Mary Berry on cake.  A house without some cake in it is just a house. Comfort = Home. Cake in a house makes it a home! And this is a really, really LOVELY cake! 

The recipe is adapted  from one in the Nigel Slater cookbook entitled The Kitchen Diaries ll.  
If you have been reading me for any length of time you will know I have a healthy respect for Nigel Slater and his cookery. 

I've not really done much of his sweet baking however, mainly just his savoury cooking.  I wanted to make some use of the thyme in our garden however, while it was still lovely and usably fresh. 
It would have been really nice had I used it while it was flowering, but hindsight is always 20/20.  I was a little bit nervous using a baking recipe from Nigel however  . . .

Lemon and thyme are a marriage made in heaven.  The two are just meant to be together, and when I was reading this cake recipe, I just thought  . . .  this is going to be a beautiful cake. 
I trust Nigel and  I was right to do so!!! 

It is an incredible cake with beautiful flavours.  There is a very subtle flavour of lemon and thyme in the cake itself. 
This comes from the use of finely grated zest of a lemon and fresh thyme leaves. 

I used Dorie Greenspan's trick of rubbing the lemon zest and thyme into the sugar, to really help infuse the flavours into the cake, and I am happy that I did because the flavours were really subtle. 
 I think they would have been hardly noticeable had I not done this, so I have added those instructions to the method. 

Most of the flavour comes from the use of a delicious lemon and thyme syrup that you spoon over the hot cake as soon as it comes from the oven.  
The cake itself is a lovely moist and buttery sponge, and that syrup soaking into the surface tips it over the edge into gorgeousness!

The hardest part was waiting long enough for it to cool so that we could slice into it!!

Nigel recommends serving it with a dollop of yogurt. I served it with some plain thick Greek yogurt. 
We love Greek yogurt in this house. 

I added a tiny drizzle of liquid honey on top for Todd.  It was fabulous and added a really special touch that we both loved.

Altogether it was a lovely, lovely cake and one I can see myself baking again and again. 
Thank you Nigel!  You can bake!

Yield: 8

Thyme & Lemon Cake

prep time: 15 minscook time: 45 minstotal time: 60 mins
Lemon and Thyme are a marriage made in heaven.  Adapted from a recipe in Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries ll.


200g butter (3/4 cup + 1 tsp)
200g caster sugar (1 cup plus 2 1/2 tsp fine sugar)
4 large free range eggs
100g plain flour (3/4 cup plus 3 TBS)
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds (1 cup plus 3 TBS)
the finely grated zest of one lemon
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
To glaze:
4 TBS caster sugar
the juice of 2 large lemons
2 TBS water
1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves


Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.  Line an 8 X 4 inch loaf tin with baking paper. Butter the paper.  Set aside.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and then stir in the ground almonds.

 the butter with an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.  Measure the
sugar into a bowl and rub together with the lemon zest and thyme
leaves.  Beat into the butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time.  If the
mixture begins to curdle add a TBS of the flour mixture.  Once all of
the eggs have been beaten in, fold in the flour mixture. Spoon into the
prepared baking tin.

Bake for 45 minutes, until well risen and the top springs back when lightly touched.  Remove and set on a wire rack.

 together the lemon juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan to
dissolve the sugar. Stir in the thyme leaves.  Prick the surface of the
baked cake with a skewer and then spoon the syrup over top allowing it
to soak in.

Leave to cool completely.  Cut into slices to serve.

Note - Nigel recommends serving this cake with thick yogurt.
Created using The Recipes Generator

You really need to do yourself a favour and bake this lovely cake.  Don't be afraid of using savoury herbs in a sweet bake, the thyme really works beautifully here.  I think you are going to love this!  Bon Appetit and Bon Weekend! 

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  1. I just love anything with lemon in it, so this cake has my name written all over it. I must check later today if we have some thyme still growing in our allotment garden, otherwise I have everything else on hand. I can't wait to try it!

    1. I think you are going to absolutely fall in love with this cake Marie! It’s really, really nice! Xo

    2. I made this today for afternoon tea. It was really lovely! As I'm something of a lemon-o-holic, I used the grated rind from both lemons in the cake batter (you need to juice two lemons, so I figured why waste the rind!) and the lemon flavour was fabulous. I doubled the thyme as well as I don't really do "subtle". The only minor hitch was that a lot of the syrup mixture soaked through to the bottom of the cake. Maybe it was too warm when I spooned it over. I'll try and let it cool a little next time before spooning it over. But the flavour and texture are lovely. I used a dollop of yoghurt to serve, but really it is very tasty just on its own as well. Very much a keeper and I'll be making it again. ♥

    3. Nothing wrong with adding extra flavour Marie! Pleased you enjoyed despite the syrup soaking through. I quite enjoyed that myself! I can appreciate we are all different! It is very tasty on its own, agreed! I hope you do make it again! I was thinking lime and basil would also work! Xo

  2. Must be great! I know you love him..and I agree w/ Mary..a little home made treat in a home is just so cozy and welcoming!

    1. There is no greater pleasure than welcoming a friend with a slice of cake and a nice cuppa Monique! Makes them feel right at home! Xo

  3. I need to save this one. Lemon is my thing. And my thyme is one of my most reliable crops. Wish I had my printer here so I don't lose this one!

  4. I want to run out and buy all the ingredients I don’t have right now! Looks delicious

    1. It’s a really fabulous cake Carol! You are in for a real treat! Xo


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