Introduction: Torta Di Sorrento (Lemon Drizzle) and the Science Behind It

If you ever get the chance to visit the South of Italy, please try and see the little town of Sorrento. Not only is it extremely picturesque but the food is incredible. Lemons are sold on stalls at the side of the road and some of them are as big as melons. Lemons from Sorrento not only look good, they taste beautiful. This recipe was given to me by my sister after a holiday in Sorrento, and it is the ultimate lemon cake, even made with 'normal' lemons.

Step 1: Ingredients:


150g soft salted butter plus extra for greasing

150g caster sugar

Zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons

3 large eggs

150g self-raising flour

2 tablespoons full-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

icing sugar for dusting


100g icing sugar

2 large unwaxed lemons, juiced (use the ones previously zested)

Step 2:

grease with butter and line a 900g loaf tin and preheat the oven to 160°C/gas mark 3.

Step 3:

cream the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, with an electric whisk(if you dont have one u can use a food processor), until soft and light. Whisk the eggs and sift the flour. gradually add the eggs and flour t the butter mixture. beat well together with the electric whisk.

Step 4:

Stir in enough milk, along with the vanilla extract, to make the mixture drop easily from a spoon. Spread the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 45-5 minutes.

Step 5:

Remove from oven, once cooked, and stand the cake still in its tin on a wire rack to cool

Step 6:

To make the syrup, gently heat together the icing sugar and lemon juice (note, if you juice the lemon by hand make sure if any seeds get into your juice that they are removed before heating because it causes the syrup to have a very sour taste and poor odour) in a medium saucepan until a syrup forms.

Step 7:

Use a fork to prick the top of the warm cake all over. Gently pour the syrup all over the cake and leave to cool completely.

Step 8:

Turn out the lemon cake onto a serving plate, dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

Step 9: Science Behind the Steps

Why creaming the butter and eggs are important:

when you cream together the butter and eggs you are adding creating air into the mix. This is important because it means while cooking, the cake raises and should create a light fluffy mixture.

Science behind why you use self-raising flour and why its sieved:

The use of self-raising flour is important while making cakes because usually this type of flour also has a much lower gluten content than normal flour. This is important because while making a cake you don't want to use a gluten-heavy flour because it makes the mixture heavy and dense.

Self-raising-flour also is good to use because it already had bicarbonate of soda in the flour so you don't have to buy and add it your self.

Similarly, while you sieve the flour you are putting air into the flour, this like when you cream the eggs, butter and sugar mean's that when the mixture is cooking it helps raise the mix and gives it a fluffy texture.

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