I am personally a HUGE fan of lemon cake, and have been experimenting to discover the most perfect recipe for a long time! FINALLY I achieved the results I've been dreaming of! This is one of the softest, lightest, fluffiest lemon cakes you will ever taste. I served it without any toppings as it was just perfect on its own with a cup of tea...but it can also be served with softly whipped cream or a simple lemon glaze.
Make sure ALL the ingredients are at room temperature before you start.
Grind the sugar to a powder and set aside.
Sift the flour twice with the salt and baking powder.
Grease and line an 8" round pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 170 C.
Beat the butter with the sugar until light and creamy. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Now add the freshly squeezed lemon into the milk and stir. The milk will thicken slightly on adding the lemon, that's ok.
Add a third of the flour and beat until combined, then add half the milk. Don't panic if it looks curdled, it will be fine. Again beat the batter until milk is mixed in. Add another third of the flour, mix it in, and then add the remaining milk. Finally add the last of the flour, the zest and the vanilla essence. Beat just until everything is well combined. Do NOT over-mix at this point, you can even finish up the mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula. The batter will be very light and fluffy.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
Remove from pan and let it cool completely before frosting/slicing.
For a simple lemon glaze, take 1 cup icing sugar, add a few drops of lemon juice (freshly squeezed) and add them in, keep mixing until the glaze is of pourable consistency. You can add a few tbsp of warm water as well for a less intense lemony flavour. Pour on the cake and allow to set.