225g (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature + extra for greasing
225g (8 oz) granulated sugar
225g (8 oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature (for at least 30 minutes)
zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
250ml crème fraiche
225g (8 oz) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved if large, to serve
Preheat the oven to 170C (325F / Gas Mark 3). Butter a 1L loaf tin (about 21½ cm x 11½ cm (8 ½ x 4 ½ in))
Place the butter and sugar in a food mixer set with the beater attachment and beat at high speed for a few minutes until pale and fluffy.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a small bowl.
Add the eggs, one at a time into the butter mixture, beating at a medium speed until well mixed and scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Beat in the lemon zest and juice and vanilla extract also. Turn the speed down to low and add in the flour mixture, beating until just incorporated to give a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and tap it several times on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Sit on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 1 hour - 1 hour 10 minutes until golden and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and leave to cool in the tin on a rack for about 30 minutes. Then run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the cake and leave right side up on a wire rack to cool completely.
To serve, slice into 10 x 1cm (½ in) thick slices and arrange 1-2 on each serving plate. Spoon some crème fraiche to the side and scatter the strawberries over.
In place of the lemon zest and juice, flavour the cake with orange, chopped nuts or chocolate chips.
This can be served with strawberries, raspberries and / or chocolate. It can be served as a morning cake with coffee too. It has various uses and does not necessarily need to be for dessert.