Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

It's never too late to learn to bake with Mrs Simkins                                                        May 2010  

It’s Never Too Late to Learn to Bake with Mrs Simkins

Cooking with Mrs Simkins: How to Cook Simple, Wholesome, Home-made Meals Popular cookery author Mrs Simkins is recognised for her straightforward writing and easy-to-follow recipes.

Her work, which includes a weekly column in the popular Blackmore Vale Magazine in the West Country, is based on a lifelong interest in food and developing new recipes plus over thirty years cooking for family and friends.

See Mrs Simkins Suggests... for kitchen equipment suggestions

Her first book ‘Cooking with Mrs Simkins’ is out now and available from Amazon. Her second book ‘Tea with Mrs Simkins’ will be published in September.



Baking may be one of those things you have always meant to do but have never quite got around to. Maybe you do bake but feel you could improve a bit more. Maybe you are an accomplished baker already but just love trying out new recipes or new ways of doing things. Whichever applies to you, I hope you will find something in this monthly column that will appeal!


This month

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon drizzle cakeThis is a classic tea-time lemon drizzle cake, not too sweet, and not too sharp, moist and light. Lemon Drizzle Cake is always popular and you can whiz up this version in the food processor: you don’t need anything very complicated just the straightforward kind with a blade (see Mrs Simkins Suggests, this month). This recipe gives you the option to make either a loaf shaped cake or a round one.


For the Cake

110g (4oz) butter, softened
110g (4oz) unrefined caster sugar
175g (6oz) plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons of cream of tartar
2 fresh eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons warm water
Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the Drizzle:

Juice of 2 lemons and 2 level tablespoons unrefined caster sugar

Preheat oven to 160C (fan ovens) or equivalent

You will need either a greased, and preferably lined, 1lb loaf tin (in good condition, preferably anodised) or 18cm (7inch) round loose bottomed cake tin

Whiz the butter and sugar together in the food processor until combined and fluffy. Carefully sieve in some of the flour to cover the butter and sugar, and add the eggs. Add the rest of the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, lemon zest and warm water. Whiz until everything is smooth and glossy. You may need to stop the machine a couple of times and scrape the mixture down from the sides with a flexible spatula.

Pour into the prepared tin and cover loosely with greaseproof paper, tucking it under the tin to secure. You need to have the tension of the paper just right so that it protects the cake from drying out without dipping down onto the surface and sticking to it.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, for the loaf cake and 40-45 for the round cake, until risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Whilst the cake is baking, heat the lemon juice and sugar together in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved. Put aside to cool.

When the cake is ready, leave it in its tin and prick the surface lightly: if you have a fairly thick needle this won’t make such noticeable holes as a cocktail stick or fork, and spoon the drizzle evenly all over the top. If you have one of those Perspex gravy separators with a thin, round spout, this would be ideal for pouring the drizzle over with, alternatively spoon it over.

Keep the cake in the tin until it is completely cold and the drizzle has soaked in. Transfer to an airtight tin.

You can email Mrs Simkins at

Mrs Simkins Suggests...


Kenwood mixerKenwood FP220 Compact Food Processor £47.95

This is the food processor that I use. I had a similar one for the best part of twenty years until it eventually stopped working on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago just as I was making the pastry for a final batch of mince pies. This did represent a slight crisis in the kitchen department so my husband jumped in the car and managed to replace it with the current model.

It is such a versatile machine and makes life so much easier. Even if your cake-baking skills are a bit shaky you can use it to mix up a promising cake. Shortcrust pastry is simple in a food processor and it’s handy for some kinds of biscuit dough as well. It’s great for soups and sauces, making breadcrumbs and I don’t know what else besides. It also comes with a couple of extra blade attachments and a blender.

If you do decide to invest in one, make sure you store it at the front of a cupboard that’s easy to get to: so it is handy and available and not a real hassle to get out.


Previous articles in the series:

Cookery Column 1 - Baking scones
Cookery column 2 - Easter biscuits
Cookery column 3 - Lemon Drizzle cake



Advertise on