Yuzu syrup cake

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This cake is an adaptation of a lemon syrup cake that I normally make.  I love making this cake as firstly you never have to worry about it being dry as the syrup takes care of that,  and secondly I have never met anyone who doesn’t love this cake. True story.

The first time I made this cake was when I was living in Paris.  I was studying french at the Alliance Francaise and at the end of each term we would have a little party to celebrate how crap we all were at french.  Everyone would bring little delights from their corner of the world and we would all try and explain in our broken french what they were.  Most of the time you would just smile and nod politely and then pop one in your mouth and work it out from there.

At my first one of these parties, I made this lemon syrup cake. I took it to class, I de-robed it from the foil that was covering it and everyone peered in and then looked at me for an explanation.  Who knows what I said but everyone seemed really hesitant to try it, then I’m sure out of sheer politeness my teacher reached her hand in and picked up a slice, while everyone glared at her, put it in her mouth and then exclaimed that it was one of the best cakes that she’s eaten and that I must give her the recipe.  I kid you not within the next few mins the entire cake was gone, GONE! and I was then furiously writing down the recipe for everyone…  SUCCESS!

Today I’ve adapted the recipe slightly.  I was lucky enough to be in possession of a yuzu fruit which are hard to get outside of Japan, but they were selling them at my local japanese supermarket so I thought I would take this rare opportunity and snap one up (in hindsight, I wish I had bought more, dang it!).

For those of you who don’t know what a yuzu is, it’s a citrus fruit that originated in Asia and is particularly popular in Japan.  It looks like a yellow mandarin or a squat lemon and the skin is uneven in appearance.  They say the flavour is more similar to grapefruit with overtones of mandarin and certainly when I grated the rind for the cake, I could definitely detect the scent of mandarin.The fruit is used in the same way that we would use a lemon, i.e. using the zest and juice as a seasoning rather than eating it like an orange.  As I said it is tough to find yuzu outside of japan but you can find yuzu juice at the japanese supermarket.  So you can substitute this for the real thing.

Yuzu syrup cake

What you need:

  • 125 g butter, softened to room temperature
  • 185 g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 185 g SR flour
  • zest of yuzu (optional), or you could use zest of 1 lemon or lime
  • 4 tbsp milk

For the syrup

  • 6 tbsp yuzu juice (or substitute any other citrus fruit)
  • 6 tbsp icing sugar

For the glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp yuzu juice (or substitute any other citrus fruit)

What to do:

Pre-heat the oven to 160C/320F

Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (see pic below).  Add the 2 eggs one at a time, mixing well in between each egg.  To help prevent the batter from curdling, you could add a bit of flour before adding in the eggs however I wouldn’t worry too much about it as it will come together in the end.

Add the zest and milk and mix well until combined.

Add the flour and mix briefly until only just combined.  You don’t want to mix too much otherwise the cake will be tough as you have worked the gluten in the flour too much.

Pour it into a small to medium lined loaf tin.

Bake for 40 mins or until the cake passes the skewer test.

While still hot, prick the cake all over with a skewer and drizzle the syrup over the cake.  Let it cool.

Mix together ingredients for icing and once the cake is cool, drizzle the icing over the top of the cake.



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  • Leah

    I can testify to the awesomeness of the lemon syrup cake, will try this variation when I source some yuzu juice 🙂