Tuesday, 1 June 2010

"We don't like cricket...oh no! We love it!"

Nothing quite epitomises summer for me than cricket. If you've hung around here, or indeed spent much time in my company, it probably hasn't escaped your attention that I am a massive cricket fan.

There's just something so gosh darn civilized about a gentlemanly game that takes places at an almost leisurely pace over an entire day and include a break at 3.40pm for afternoon tea. If you're familiar with other bastions of gentlemanly culture, cricket may well conjure up images of fluffy clouds in blue sky, teams all decked out in white, and spectators politely clapping at the end of each over between mouthfuls of strawberries and cream and swigs of Champers. All of which should be accompanied by the soothing tones of Test Match Special (minus Boycott of course, nothing soothing there!)

The reality of course looks rather more like this:

Five hours of drizzle, rain and inclement weather. If you go to the cricket in England (rather than sensible places like the West Indies, or Australia) chances are you should pack for the arctic. N laughed as he saw me stuffing a quilt, raincoat, hat and scarf into my bag on Saturday, but true to my expectations I spent five hours at Lord's huddled underneath the aforementioned bedding wishing I'd bought some gloves as well.

That's the reality of the British summer. And I embrace it. Partly because I have to, and partly because no matter what at 3.40pm there is a break and out comes the tea and cake. If I do nothing else in preparation for an afternoon of cricket it is to prepare a cake. I've talked about this before, and fruit cake is almost always what I make.

But sometimes I need a little sunshine, and so sometimes I make something a bit brighter in the hope of tempting out the rays and casting off the raincoat. If you need a little sunshine, especially after a damp bank holiday weekend, I suggest you dust off your mixing bowls, search out some good lemons and have a crack at this. It's a great cake for transporting because it is incredible dense and holds up well. I think I might add a strongly lemony buttercream next time. But then again I might not.

Lemon Vanilla Yoghurt cake - makes one 9x5 loaf. (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups Plain Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup vanilla yoghurt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
Juice and zest of two unwaxed lemons
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

Whisk together the cups flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and oil. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, but mix thoroughly.

Pour the batter into the  pan and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick of skewer in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a baking tray. While the cake is still warm, gently poke wholes all over it with a toothtpick and then brush the lemon syrup over it with a pastry brush until all the syrup is absorbed. Cool and then enjoy, preferably in front of the cricket.


  1. Yuuuummmmm.... I would give anything for a slice of that lemon cake right now! In fact, maybe work wouldn't notice if I snuck off and baked instead... xx

  2. Although both of my parents were cricket addicts I've never managed to summon any enthusiasm. As for cake? Now you're talking!

  3. How funny to read this when I went to my first cricket match last night. Surprisingly for me I didn't hate it and would happily go again. I think that's due to being able to chat, drink and eat lovely picnic food and if the weather is fine.