Lemon balm is one of those herbs that once you have it you always will, it will happily self seed if it likes you garden and can become a bit of a pest. It has limited uses such as in a tea or a nice refreshing bath, so I thought I would have a go at using some in a cake recipe. Lemon balm or melissa for the unintiated has a lemon sherbet flavour with a herby back end on the tongue, so should be a perfect marriage for a traditional lemon drizzle cake.
Melissa is a very old fashioned herb and would have been a typical inclusion in the traditional cottage garden which is the style of gardening I favour, it has none discript white flowers, followed by loads of tiny dark seeds, which should be cut off unless you want to commercial harvest the plant.
I have tried cooking with the herb before but I don't have particularly fond memories of the result, but I think I used the older leaves which tend to go woody and be less flavourful.
So firstly choose your favourite lemon drizzle cake and then add to the normal lemon zest in the sponge mix an additional 2tbsp of finely chopped lemon balm leaves. You normally make a lemon syrup to make the drizzle so I also added chopped lemon balm to my syrup too. The result is a moist lemony herby cake, very pleasant and a very good keeper if wrapped in foil and stored in a cool place.