This deliciously moist and tender lemon loaf cake will have you saying ‘holey moley’ even without the delicious chocolate rocher glaze and amusingly attractive jam or compôte-filled hole! Though you do get that ‘wow factor’ and extra deliciousness by bringing all the elements together.
And it’s surprisingly fast and easy to make!
I gave myself the cake mould with cylinder insert as a Christmas present (not getting paid or anything to advertise, but that’s one place where you can find it). But you can use a standard tin and just make the lemon loaf cake, with its perfect fresh citric tang from the lemon zest and maple syrup lemon soaking syrup. The lower-sugar sponge, with reduced sugar and optional birch xylitol, is melt-in-your-mouth tender. And you can add freeze-dried raspberry pieces for extra zing.
You can also cut holes manually into your cake slices to fill with compôte or jam, or serve on the side. The raspberry purée compôte insert is healthier, sweetened with pure maple syrup but good-quality jam or marmalade with high-fruit content is a perfectly delicious option. I loved the simpler versions of this cake.
For an extra special decadent touch, I recommend covering the cake with this super easy, delicious rocher glaze of melted chocolate, oil and toasted almond. Wow – or holey moley!
After initially resisting the temptation, I was finally inspired to buy the insert cake mould by Mercotte, French blogger and presenter of Le Meilleur Pâtissier baking show (France’s GBBO). She’s had fun making various insert cakes, which you can see here. I adapted elements from these to create my own.
The lemon cake’s based on French pâtissier Hermé’s, and the compôte and rocher glaçage on Mercotte’s recipes. My cake is optionally glutenfree, the sugar’s reduced, lemon juice increased, and optional freeze-dried raspberry pieces are added.
You can use plain all-purpose or cake flour instead of a glutenfree blend and sweeten with just caster sugar. In the darker earlier sponge, maple syrup replaced some sugar and it was delish. In my last prototype, accidentally reducing the amount of sugar and replacing some with xylitol provided me with my favourite crumb and best rise. Vive les accidents! 🙂
Anyway, all the versions were delish, so please adapt to your taste and have fun with this cake.
- Sponge: 30 mins (+ 45-55 mins baking); 5 mins for syrup; cool 2 or more hours.
- Compôte: 10 mins (+ 5-10 mins cooling). Jam: 5 mins.
- Rocher glaze (freeze filled cake minimum 1 or 2 hours before glazing): 10 mins to make (+ about 10 mins to cool); 10 mins to cover.
- Set before eating: 2 hours or overnight.
Use a 1lb standard 20cm-long loaf tin or insert tin. The insert tin I used was ordered from here – for if you’re a tin-collector like me. 😉
If you want help justifying a new tin: um, money saved from not going on holidays, lots of time at home to bake, no money spent on new clothes + you deserve a nice new tin!
- 60g/1/4 cup + 3/4 tsp butter
- 160g/1 and 1/3 cups less 1/3 tsp gluten free flour mix (I used Doves Farm self-raising gf) or plain/all-purpose or cake flour
- 2g/1/2 tsp baking powder
- 75g/1/3 cup caster (superfine) sugar
- 25g/6 tsp ground birch xylitol (sugar substitute) or 30g/4 tbsp icing (powdered) sugar
- finely-grated lemon zest from 1 and 1/2 to 2 lemons
- 150g beaten egg (about 3 small-medium eggs)
- 82g/ml whipping cream, 35% fat minimum
- 18g/3 and 1/2 to 4 tsp white or dark rum (or freshly-squeezed lemon juice)
- 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
- Optional: 1 – 2 tbsp or more small freeze-dried raspberry pieces
- A little butter and flour for the cake tin
Lemon soaking syrup
- 50g/ml freshly-squeezed lemon juice, to taste (from 1 lemon)
- 40g/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 35g/ml water
If using a Capfruit raspberry purée: 170g/ml purée + 10g sugar
- 155g/ml raspberry purée
- 25g/5 and 1/3 tsp caster sugar
- 3g/scant 3/4 tsp pectine NH
- 18g/1 tbsp and 1 tsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Alternatively, use good-quality raspberry jam or lemon marmalade with high-fruit content (60 to 80%).
- 200g/7oz milk chocolate, good-quality couverture like Cocoa Barry Alunga 41%
- 52g (1/3 cup + 4 almonds) raw almonds (then skin: place almonds in bowl of boiled water 5 mins. Repeat. Pop skins off easily between finger and thumb. Dry.)
- 40g/3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
Larger quantity to make coverage even easier: 250g/8.8oz chocolate; 65g (1/2 cup less 5 almonds) almonds; 50g/1/4 cup less 1 tsp oil.
- Preheat oven to 160ºC/320ºF fan or 180ºC/355ºF static oven
- Melt butter on low heat then allow to cool a little (but not solidify)
- Whisk flour and baking powder in small bowl to combine
- Whisk lemon zest and sugar, and xylitol if using, in large bowl to infuse 10 minutes or more.
- Butter and flour tin or line with baking paper. For insert tin: grease tin and cylinder; line longer sides and base with baking paper; flour tin ends and cylinder (shaking tin and rotating cylinder to cover completely in flour).
- Add egg to zesty sugar and whisk 10-20 minutes until frothy and pale (5-10 mins on standmixer).
- Whisking briefly between additions, add cream, rum then salt. Slowly and gradually stir in flour until smooth. Slowly stir in cooled melted butter.
- Stir briefly until batter is smooth and everything combined. Don’t overmix. It should be a fairly thick dropping texture that ‘drops’ slowly off spoon or spatula.
- If adding freeze-dried raspberry, fill mould 1/4 of the way with batter then sprinkle with some pieces (I experimented on half the loaf cake, leaving the other half just lemon).
- Add more batter on top then sprinkle on more raspberry pieces.
- Repeat till you use up all batter and smooth to make level, even surface. Make sure you don’t have big pieces of raspberry on the surface, as they’d darken in the oven.
Place in middle of oven and immediately lower heat to 150°C/300°F (fan oven) or 170°C/340°F (static, non-convection oven).
Bake 45 to 55 minutes until light golden brown. A skewer inserted in middle should come out clean; when top is pressed lightly with a fingertip, it should spring back slightly.
Printable illustrated recipe
Lemon soaking syrup
1. Once baked, leave cake to cool in tin 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan on low-medium heat, warm 40g/2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey/sugar) and 35g water until almost simmering then take off heat. Let cool 5 mins then add 50g/ml lemon juice.
Skewer holes all around cake then gradually spoon over lemon syrup to soak into sponge. The syrup pools at edges but eventually gets absorbed.
Allow cake to cool completely in tin.
2. Once completely cooled, twist cylinder tube a little to loosen. Pull out tube and unmould cake.
3. You can glaze domed cake as it is. Or to get squared angles like I did, trim domed top off to get flat surface. Turn cake upside down (so trimmed flat top is underneath).
(or 150-200g jam/marmalade)
Whisk pectin and sugar well in small bowl. On low-medium heat, warm fruit purée in small saucepan to around 40ºC/105ºF, with heat steam rising up from purée. Whisk in pectin and sugar. Bring to boil. Boil 1 minute or so, whisking continuously. Take off heat and whisk in lemon juice.
Allow insert jam to cool. Turn cake so it’s standing, with bottom end blocked off with plastic film (or metal pastry scraper). Pipe jam into hole in loaf cake. Check it’s gone all the way through.
Instead of compôte you can simply use jam – photos 3 and 4 above show lemon marmalade piped at one end then raspberry jam at the other, producing two cakes in one, both delicious!
Chocolate rocher glaze or glaçage
Freeze cake minimum 1 or 2 hours before glazing.
- Toast almond slivers and pieces on tray, in oven for 5 to 8 mins or so – at 155°C/310°F fan or 175°C/350°F static oven. Watch carefully; they burn fast. Allow to cool completely before adding to chocolate.
- Melt chocolate in bowl over bain marie (alternatively, in double boiler or in spurts in microwave). Take off heat and stir in almonds.
- Stir in oil.
- Place loaf cake on wire rack over a baking tray (lined with foil or baking paper) to catch dripping glaze. Slide long offset spatula knife under cake (or other similar tool). Wait until glaze has cooled to tepid (30 to 35°C).
- Pour glaze over cake to cover as much as possible. Use butter or spatula knife to help spread out over sides.
- Use spoon and small spatula or butter knife to cover holes.
- Scrape excess glaze from tin underneath to use again.
- Use to continue covering whole cake.
When ready, use offset spatula to move cake to final serving plate or cake board.
Note: store excess glaze in airtight tupperware in fridge to use in a future cake or as top layer on millionaires shortbread.
Eating and storing
Before eating allow the rocher glaze to set a few hours or overnight.
Store cake in airtight tupperware at cool room temperature up to 4 or 5 days. Slices can be frozen, wrapped in plastic film or reusable plastic wallet. Defrost at room temperature a few hours or more before eating. Nom nom.
Loved all the versions. Uncovered with yummy jams:
Delish with amazing rocher glaze, healthier raspberry compôte and added freeze-dried raspberries…
… or with a simply lemon loaf.
Aren’t holey cakes great? But if you’re still not tempted to get the insert mould, simply make the rocher-covered lemon cake and serve with compôte.
Meanwhile, please have a slice of holey moley lemon cake!
Thanks for dropping by dear reader! Wishing you a holey better upcoming Spring and year with lots of sweet treats. Happy baking and eating! 🙂 Lili x