St Clement’s Cake – easy orange and lemon cake
St Clement’s Cake is an easy loaf cake flavoured with fresh orange and lemon. It is a variant on a drizzle cake, as the citrus juices, mixed with icing sugar, are poured on to the warm cake. When cooled, this gives makes the cake extra zesty and moist with a sugary topping.
I love drizzle cakes and often make both Lemon Drizzle and Orange Drizzle. This cake resulted from an idea to do a combination. I think it works well as the orange adds extra flavour to the sharp lemon. If you have ever been avoiding alcohol and have ordered a St. Clement’s, consisting of half and half lemonade and orange juice, in an English pub or bar then you will have an idea of how this cake will taste.
In praise of citrus
I am a huge fan of citrus flavours in baking and desserts. If you like those zesty flavours too, here are some pointers.
- The flavour of citrus fruits is concentrated in the zest rather than in the juice. Grated citrus zest is a brilliant way to get maximum flavour into your food. However, make sure that you buy unwaxed fruit and that you wash it before grating. Also, use a fine grater as you do not want big lumps of zest in your cake. Stop grating when you get to the white pith, underneath the zest, as this is bitter and does not add anything to the flavour.
- You can adapt many recipes to use different types of citrus fruits. I have a number of variations on a Lemon Drizzle Cake including Blood Orange Drizzle Cake and Lime and Coconut Drizzle Cake. However, the amount of juice produced by one kind of citrus fruit may be less than another and some are more acid than others. For example, if you are substituting limes for lemons, you will need double the number.
- Citrus juice, as well as adding some flavour and sourness, also has other very useful properties. For example, when making Lime Cheesecake, it is the chemical reaction between the lime juice and the dairy products that causes the cheesecake mixture to set.
Other citrus baking and dessert recipes
- Cakes: Blood Orange Cake, Elderflower and Lemon cupcakes, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Lemon Sponge Cake with Edible Flowers, Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut
- Biscuits: Lemon Biscuits
- Desserts: Lemon Curd Ice Cream, Lemon Pavlova, Lime Cheesecake
Why St Clement’s?
In case you are wondering, the name comes from the 18th century English nursery rhyme and folk song which refers to the bells of a number of churches situated near the City of London. The first verse is Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clement’s. I have happy memories of singing this song as a child and, more recently, with my own children. I am also a born and bred Londoner who worked in the City for many years and was delighted to find many of the churches that are mentioned in the song still standing. The full lyrics are included below.
Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s
When will you pay me?
Say the bells at Old Bailey
When I grow rich,
Say the bells at Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I do not know,
Says the great bell at Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chop chop chop chop the last man is dead
This quick and easy St Clement’s Cake is flavoured with zesty fresh orange and lemon.
- 125 g butter
- 175 g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 175 g self-raising flour
- 4 tablespoons of milk
- 1 lemon and 1 orange (both unwaxed and washed)
- 200 g icing sugar
- Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
- Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter with the sugar. (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier.)
- Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture. If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
- Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
- Add the milk and the grated zest of your lemon and orange.
- Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
- Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, put the juice from your orange and your lemon in a small saucepan. Heat gently with the lid off until the liquid is reduced by half. Then add the icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
- Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing. If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
Keywords: cake, orange, lemon, loaf cake, St Clement’s