Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Zesty Drizzled Lemon Cake with Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten free)

February.............. month of love and valentines................ and a good excuse for more cake (like I need an excuse......).

I don't see myself as a cake decorator, but for this cake, I have given it a go. Armed with a new Wilton 2D piping nozzle and a couple of YouTube videos, I decided to try my hand at some apparently simple roses. I've never tried this before.........and I was really worried about making a hash of it. I can be a bit of a perfectionist and I really hate to fail at anything. I had visions of shamefully having to scrape the whole thing off and admitting defeat, or grabbing the spreader out of the drawer and hastily attempting to smooth down ugly blobs of icing to hide complete rose carnage.

But you know what? It was quite straight forward and I'm chuffed to bits with the result. Okay........... it's not by any means perfect, and you do have to use your imagination a bit (or probably a lot) to conjure up a true reflection of roses, but I made it and it looks just fine. My beautiful heart cake covered in pretty sparkly pink roses (almost).............. perfect for Valentines!

But pretty isn't all............. this cake is lush on the inside too! A wonderful zesty lemon sponge drizzled with lemon syrup. Moist, citrussy, soft, deep and delicious. All covered with a sweet, creamy, rich, decadent cream-cheese frosting, flavoured with intense roasted strawberries which complement the lemon perfectly and tint the icing the most beautiful shade of natural pink. Sprinkled with glitter for some special celebratory sparkle.

This month's AlphaBakes challenge (co-hosted by Caroline at Caroline Makes and Ros at The More Than Occasional Baker) celebrates the letter 'Z'. Thanks Caroline and Ros............. Tricky one!

Or is it? This cake is full of Z........... Z for Zesty, using the finely grated Zest of 2 lemons (alongside a good dose of Zingy lemon extract) in the sponge, and drizzled (yes that's two more Z's) with sherbertty lemon syrup. Ha! I had no idea you could get so much Z into one cake!

I am also entering it into the brand new Love Cake challenge, being hosted by Jibber Jabber. Designed for those of us who love to bake (and I assume eat) cake and giving us an opportunity to share our yummy creations with the world, this month's theme is aptly 'Baking With Passion'.

This cake is definitely fully of it! From the choice of ingredients to the greedy eating of it. Made with love and care, decorated with hearts and flowers, shared with family and friends.............. Even distribution of the last piece was passionately debated, but ultimately shared and enjoyed between my husband and my daughter............. exactly where it was meant to be.

This weekend we have Granddad's birthday. ........... Guess what cake my daughter wants us to take?!

Zesty Drizzled Lemon Cake with Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cake

Ingredients - (sponge)          

150g plain gluten free flour 
75g fine ground polenta
115g ground almonds
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
225 ml milk
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
100g unsalted butter - room temperature 
285g golden caster sugar
2 large eggs - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ teaspoons lemon extract
zest of 2 lemons - finely grated

(Drizzle Syrup)

Juice of 1 lemon
50g icing sugar


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C / 350 F / Gas 4.
  2. Base line a deep 9 inch round non-stick baking tin (or any other shape you want to use) with baking paper.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, weigh and mix the flour, polenta, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure any lumps are completely broken down.
  4. Mix the milk with the vinegar in a jug and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  5. Cream the sugar with the butter in a large bowl until pale and fluffy.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until fully combined and smooth.
  7. Add the vanilla and lemon extracts and lemon zest and beat again. 
  8. Gently fold in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk-vinegar mix about a third at a time until just combined (do not over-mix).
  9. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for between 30 to 45 minutes (depending on how deep the cake is), until the top springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to stand in the cake tin for about ten minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Meanwhile, make the drizzle syrup by mixing the lemon juice with the icing sugar in either a small saucepan or a heatproof glass bowl and either stir in the pan over a gentle heat until fully dissolved and simmering or heat in the microwave until dissolved and just beginning to boil (stirring frequently in between microwave bursts).
  12. When ready, use a skewer to make a number of small holes in the surface of the cake and drizzle the lemon liquid onto the sponge, directing into the holes, so that it soaks into the inside of the cake (I used a syringe for accuracy).
  13. Allow the cake to settle for a couple of hours before icing.

Roasted Strawberry Frosting


150g unsalted butter - room temperature/softened
130g cream cheese (I used Mascarpone)
500g icing sugar
3 tablespoons roasted strawberry puree.


  1. I used roasted strawberries that I had in the freezer made as in this post, which I pureed in a liquidizer. If you don't have roasted strawberries or don't want to make any, use pureed fresh strawberries instead.
  2. Beat the butter with the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth and fully combined.
  3. Gradually add and beat in the icing sugar and strawberry puree until the icing has a good spreading or piping consistency which will hold its shape. Adjust the levels of icing sugar as necessary - adding more if too soft or less if too stiff. 
  4. Spread or pipe the icing onto the cake base and decorate as you wish.

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  1. It looks beautiful and I like the idea of a strawberry and lemon flavour combination =)

  2. This looks beautiful and the combination of lemon and strawberry looks delicious. A very worthy entry for this month's 'Baking with passion' Love Cake theme. Thanks for linking up.

    1. Your welcome. I enjoyed every minute of it!

  3. I'm jealous of your cake decorating skills! Looks absolutely beautiful and faaaaaar too delicious - I am upset that I am unable to try some right now :-(

    1. Ahhhhh. Thank you Aimee. If I could send it in the post I would..... I have just made another one for granddad's birthday!

  4. Beautiful piping. Those roses look stunning and such a gorgeous colour too

    1. Thank you! For a first attempt I was quite pleased. And I agree, the colour is (was) lovely (and very tasty).

  5. Beautifully decorated - this is perfect for Valentine's day! A great idea for alphabakes too, I hadn't thought of zest!

    1. Thanks Caroline. 'Z' was definitely a tricky one!!

  6. Your roses are beautiful, very impressive and I love the idea of making icing out of roasted strawberries - wonderful.

    1. Thanks Choclette. Icing really isn't my forte, but I was shocked at just how easy the roses were! And I will definitely be using the roasted strawberry icing again......


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