For all the tins, trays and moulds that can be used to great effect in baking, there’s nothing quite like a simple loaf cake to reassure one that all is OK with the world. This is timeless, easy and also keeps well, for 3 days, stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
190g caster sugar
2 lemons: finely grate the zest to get 2 tsp, then juice to get 2 tbsp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
90g self-raising flour, sifted
⅛ tsp salt
110g ground almonds
70g icing sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan (200C/gas 6). Grease and line a loaf tin 11cm x 21cm, and set aside.
2. Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and vanilla in the bowl of a free-standing food mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat on a high speed for 3-4 minutes, until light, then lower the speed to medium. Add the eggs, in small additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl. The mix may split a little, but don’t worry: it’ll come back together. Add the flour, salt and almonds in three additions. Finally, fold in 150g of blueberries, by hand, and pour into the prepared loaf tin.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining 50g of blueberries over the top of the cake. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, until the cake is golden-brown but still uncooked. Cover loosely with tinfoil and continue to bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and cooked. Test by inserting a knife into the middle: it’s ready if it comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside, in its tin, to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Meanwhile, make the icing. Put the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice into a bowl with the icing sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour over the cake and gently spread out: the blueberries on the top of the cake will bleed into the icing a little, but don’t worry, this will add to the look.
SAVE 20% ON YOTAM’S NEW BOOK
Ottolenghi Simple by Yotam Ottolenghi with Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth will be published by Ebury on Thursday, price £25. To order a copy for £20 (a 20 per cent discount) until 17 September visit mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p&p is free on orders over £15.