Wednesday, 18 May 2016


Now here's something a bit different for you. Having acquired a packet of Portlebay lemon sherbet popcorn I decided that it would make fabulous topping for the top of a loaf cake. Of course a lemon loaf cake was going to work well but I wanted the cake to sparkle as much as the popcorn topping. I'd seen thyme being used in lemon cakes before so I couldn't think of a better time to try it for myself. The subtle flavors of the sherbet in the popcorn and the thyme in the sponge together with the lemons is amazing!

So Portlebay Popcorn! This Devon based company are producing an array of unique and fun popcorn flavors including the lemon sherbet variety I've used as the topping of this cake. Check out their website here or give them a little google to find where you can find your nearest stockist. It's worth it trust me! If you can't get hold of it you could try and make your own (don't ask me how but you can try!), or just top your cake with the delicious lemon cream cheese frosting.

Speaking of which, you don't need to use a cream cheese frosting if you don't want to. A plain water icing or a buttercream frosting will work as well if you just add a little lemon zest or juice so you get that lemony flavor through it or you can forgo the topping and just have a beautiful naked loaf cake. The cake itself is moist and delicious on it's own anyway thanks to the syrup brushed over the top at the end. The toppings are there just to make things really pop!

Now don't panic about the thyme. It really does work I promise. Give it a go once and see for yourself. If you really don't like it or can't bring yourself to try it you can leave all the thyme out of this recipe and just make a delicious lemon loaf cake instead. All you need now is a 1lb loaf tin and you're ready to go;

Lemon And Thyme Popcorn Cake

250g Softened Unsalted Butter
Zest Of 3 Lemons
3 Tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
230g Golden Caster Sugar
3 Whole Eggs
190g Plain Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Large Pinch Of Salt
25ml Soured Cream
Juice Of 2 Lemons
125g Cream Cheese
500g Icing Sugar
25g Lemon Sherbet Popcorn

  1. Begin by getting your oven on to 180 degrees (160 fan) and grease a 1lb loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together 190g of the butter, the zest of 2 lemons, thyme leaves and 190g of the golden caster sugar until light and fluffy. Break the eggs into the mix one at a time, beating after each addition until well combined.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and fold through until just combined and no streaks of white are visible. Add in thesoured cream and fold through again, until no white streaks are visible in the mix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. 
  5. Just before the cake is ready, add 40g of golden caster sugar, zest and juice of 1 lemon and 50ml of water into a saucepan on a medium heat, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the mixture has thickened and reduced by half. 
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and prick gently with a fork over the top. Brush the syrup over the cake until it all soaks up into the sponge. Leave the cake to cool completely before transferring to a wire rack.
  7. In a new bowl, gently beat together the remaining 60g of butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and 2 tbsp of the remaining lemon juice until just combined. Don't over beat or the frosting will become too runny. Pop the frosting in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up slightly.
  8. When the frosting has firmed up, spread it over the top of the cake and finally, scatter the popcorn over the top of the frosting to finish.
If you have any  thyme leaves left then scatter them over the top for a little finishing touch and then your cake is ready to go. The sponge should be incredibly moist having soaked up all that lemony syrup whilst the thyme adds an earthy undertone to the cake that really does work (I promise you!). The added fizz and crunch of the lemon sherbet popcorn adds an extra taste sensation and element of texture that makes this cake something just that little bit more interesting and special than your average lemon drizzle cake. If your looking for something a little bit different for afternoon tea then this lemon sherbet and thyme popcorn cake is perfect!

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