I recently came across dried Hibiscus flowers on one of my many compulsive deli wanderings. Ruby red in colour, it is consumed as a tea, with a tart berry-like flavour, often requiring the addition of sugar to counteract this. I love using teas to flavour cakes and decided to try Hibiscus in a loaf cake, paired with the classic combination of lemon and raspberry. This cake recipe is deliciously moist due to the addition of natural yogurt, and the hibiscus flavour is introduced as a drizzle syrup, and in a tangy cream cheese icing. I decorated with candied hibiscus flowers, pistachio praline crumb (I do like to add pistcachio to all things possible!) and thyme flowers, but would be equally as good just with a smattering of fresh raspberries. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite brew!
(Note: If hibiscus flowers are hard to find this recipe is delicious as a simple lemon raspberry loaf cake. Simply substitute lemon juice for the hibiscus water in the syrup and omit the hibiscus syrup in the icing. Or ice with a simple mix of icing sugar and lemon juice!).
Lemon Raspberry Hibiscus Loaf Cake
Ingredients for the Lemon Rasberry Cake:
- 190g unsalted butter
- 190g caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 190g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- Finely grated zest 2 lemons
- 25g natural yogurt
- Handful of frozen raspberries
Ingredients for the Hibiscus Syrup:
- 75g caster sugar
- 75g boiling water
- Handful dried hibiscus flowers
Ingredients for the Hibiscus Lemon Cream Cheese Icing :
- 100g cream cheese
- 2tbsp natural yogurt
- 1tbsp icing sugar
- 2tbsp hibiscus syrup
- Finely grated zest 1 lemon
To decorate (optional):
- Candied Hibiscus flowers (you can buy these in a syrup in some good delis)
- Thyme flowers
- Pistachio crumb
- Other options include fresh raspberries, candied lemon peel and edible flowers!
Step 1: To make the lemon raspberry cake, preheat the oven to 170°C/315F. Grease and line a loaf tin.
Step 2: Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer (or hand mixer) until pale. Scrape down sides regularly.
Step 3: Beat in the eggs one at a time.
Step 4: Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
Step 5: Add the flour to the butter and sugar mixture and mix on slow speed until just combined.
Step 6: Add the natural yogurt and mix again until combined.
Step 7: Pour the batter into the lined tin. Push the raspberries about half way down into the cake so they are dispersed throughout the loaf. Smooth over the top and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 50 mins or until the top is springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Step 8: To make the hibiscus syrup, add the hibiscus flowers to the boiling water and leave to steep for 10-15 mins.
Step 9: Drain the hibiscus water into a small saucepan and add the sugar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved and a syrup formed.
Step 10: To make the hibiscus cream cheese icing, mix together the cream cheese, yogurt and lemon zest until combined. Add the hibiscus syrup a little at a time until the desired consistency and taste is achieved (you don’t want it to be too runny).
Step 11: To assemble the cake. When the cake is cooked remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10mins before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool further.
Step 12: While the cake is still warm, poke holes in the top with a skewer and pour the warm hibiscus syrup over the top.
Step 13: When the cake has cooled completely, cover with the icing and decorate as you see fit! I used candied hibiscus flowers, pistachio praline crumb and thyme flowers. Some fresh raspberries would work equally well!
Storage: Due to the cream cheese icing this cake needs to be stored in the fridge. Bring to room temperature before serving and consume within 1-2 days.