How do I make sure that I get a really light lemony cake, without it either being too bland, or too overpowering? Are there any recipes you recommend? Thanks!
We would recommend trying Nigella's Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake in Domestic Goddess (p13). This is a lemon flavoured sponge which is doused in a sweet-sharp lemon syrup. The syrup permeates through the cake, making it moist and very lemony.
When making cakes it is always best to have all of the ingredients at room temperature. As the butter, sugar and eggs are beaten together to form a delicate mixture (called an emulsion), they will mix together more readily if they are the same temperature. This will help to create a light cake base. Some people also like to rub together the lemon zest and sugar before the butter is added. The zest of the lemon contains lemon oils and rubbing the zest into the sugar helps to release these oils and lemon flavour.
Always pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still warm. The cake will tend to absorb the syrup more readily while it is warm. However let the cake cool completely once the syrup has been added, otherwise the cake could crumble.