When I was a kid, I thought a cake had to have chocolate frosting to be good. Now I know that is not necessarily true. Sometimes, simple ingredients and a plain-looking cake can actually be quite tasty.
Case in point...the plain loaf cake I made for our dinner on Sunday night. It is a very straightforward recipe that you can vary according to your tastes and menu. I served it with fresh strawberries and nearly everyone had second helpings. You should plan accordingly.
Plain Loaf Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened (need some to butter pan, too)
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top
1 lemon (you'll use both zest and juice)
3 large eggs
1 1/3 cup cake flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the inside of a 9x5 loaf pan and then line with parchment or wax paper. Make sure the paper lies smooth and flat at sides.
Cream the butter and sugar. Zest the entire lemon and add, blend. Add the eggs one a time and start to add a little bit of the flour in between, mixing. Gently mix in the rest of the flour, and finally add the juice of the entire lemon.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sugar (I probably used 1 1/2 Tbsp). Bake for 1 hour or until cake tester/toothpick comes out clean. Remove to wire rack and let it cool for a bit in the pan before you turn it out.
Variations: You could add poppyseeds, nuts, or chopped chocolate. You can also vary the juice/liquid. Try an orange, or a flavored liqueur. You can play with the liquid amounts, but I would stay in the range of 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup. Try serving it with different types of fruit, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, etc...You get the idea.
The recipe is from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess. The variations are mine.
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