Wedding cake - zingy lemon

Wedding cake - zingy lemon

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(28 ratings)


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Cooking time

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs Plus cooling

Skill level

Moderately easy


Serves 30

Tier two of our three tier wedding cake, this gives a real citrus hit and the drenching of lemon syrup keeps it beautifully moist

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition info

Nutrition per serving



  • 350g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 140g plain flour
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • zest of 4 lemons, juice of 3 (about 100ml/3½fl oz)

For the syrup

  • zest and juice 2 lemons
  • 100g golden caster sugar

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  1. Heat oven to 160C/fan140C/gas 3. Prepare the inside and outside of a 23cm tin, as before. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in the eggs a little at a time. Add a tbsp of the plain flour if it starts to split. Fold in the flours and a pinch of salt, followed by the lemon zest and juice.
  2. Spoon the mix into the tin and bake for 1 hr 15 mins until well-risen and golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the syrup by heating the sugar, lemon zest and juice in a small pan until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
  3. Once the cake is out of the oven, leave to cool until it’s just warm, then use a skewer to poke holes down to the bottom all over the cake. Pour the syrup over, letting it completely soak in after each addition. Leave to cool completely, then either wrap or fill and ice the cake. The unfilled cake will keep well if you wrap it with baking parchment and cling film for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to a month.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, June 2006

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Kiraniya's picture

I scaled down the recipe to 2/3 the quantities, and used regular caster sugar, about 80ml of lemon juice and the zest of 2 lemons to make a 7inch round or an 8inch heart cake.

I agree with other commentators that this cake doesn't really rise enough for it to be cut into 3 layers - I didn't cut it at all but baked a second 2/3 quantity cake to use as a second layer. I also didn't use the syrup as it was lovely, moist, tangy and so fresh without it!

As I was making this as a birthday, I covered it with lemon buttercream, and it went down a treat!!! Brilliant recipe :)

marijas's picture

I baked this on Friday, iced it on Saturday and served it on Sunday. As with many of the other posters, I found that the given cooking time wasn't sufficient whatsoever. My 'skewer' (I use a raw spaghetti) came out covered in cake batter. This isn't very acceptable in my opinion of a recipe posted on Good Food. To make up for this, I put the temperature of the oven up slightly by 15 degrees and cooked it for another 15 minutes, at which point the skewer came out perfectly dry. The cake rose beautifully but on the day, contrary to many of the other commentators, it wasn't that moist at all. I imagine that was because I put up the oven temperature. So while the taste is good, the recipe is seriously flawed.

Tigerlillybud's picture

This recipe is the one I was most worried about when making my granddaughters christening cake, I opted to choose this for the top layer just in case the lemon was a little too much, it went down a storm and was the favourite ahead of chocolate and victoria sponge tiers. I now am making this again for a christening cake this weekend, also for a 60th birthday cake in December. I will make the larger size though as mine didn't rise too much either.

Marie 2's picture

what size eggs did you use?

ninnynookums's picture

Can anyone tell me how long this cake will stay fresh once iced. I need to make chocolate and lemon tiers to go with 2 fruit tiers on my son's wedding cake. But i have to transport it to Scotland 5 days before the wedding!! Will be pleased for any tips. Thanks

jerebe's picture

I made this cake on a Thursday night, wrapped in grease proof and foil overnight, decorated Friday night, ready for daughters 21st party on Saturday night. We cut it Monday night, her actual birthday and was moist for about 2-3 days after, as we covered it in foil. I didn't use the lemon drizzle as others said it made it too wet, it was fine without it.

cazthesexychef's picture

I made this cake as one of the layers for my sisters wedding last Saturday it went down a storm... I also used the basic recipe for a vanilla bean cake for another tier, Fantastic raves.. Cake orders are through the roof !!!
I would use this for all layers another time just using dowels and boards for support...
Thank You to the creator of the recipe....

Marie 2's picture

Did you just omit the lemon and add vanilla bean to this actual recipe to come up with your vanilla cake?

billers1990's picture

Is it possible to use this recipe for all three layers of a wedding cake? Would it be sturdy enough to hold the weight? Thanks

deeday's picture

This is the best cake I have eaten in quite a long time. I made it for a wedding this past saturday. I used lemon curd filling between the cake after cutting it into two. Then I used buttercream to cover the whole cake; before using fondant and referigerated for 2 days before the event. The guests loved it & I got an order for this particular one for an upcoming anniversary. Thanks whoever uploaded it.

sallyt22's picture

Fab recipe for a wedding cake. Delicious, would definately make again and again

lucylacy's picture

Just wish I'd had Mary Berry to hand when attempting this one. Although I did the scewer test the cake dropped when it cooled and was a bit of a doughy texture. The mixture did separate a bit when I started adding the eggs and I did add a bit of flour then. Any suggestions welcome. I'm supposed to be making this for my daughters wedding in August and having trial run(s). At this rate I'll be popping down to Waitrose last minute :(

supercakes's picture
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I made this cake after a disaster with Mich Turner recipes and it was my life saver! I used an 8" square cake tin, kept the same quantities as above and it came out perfect. The cake was delicious and will def use again! Thank you so much for this recipe! Also I noticed that lots of posts are querying what to do if they want to change the recipe to scale up/down tin sizes, I used a website called which has a 'cakeometer' which calculates the differences. It does not however provide cooking times, so just be sensible and keep an eye on things!

emsaustin's picture

Beautiful cake but the syrup left the cake too soggy so will make again leaving that out

claudette2002271's picture

I made 3/5 of the recipe for a 7 inch round tin and it only rose to two inch what height is the cake mean't to rise too. The Chocolate cake was huge and tasted fatastic.

jemma3621's picture

Can anyone tell me how me how deep this cake should be? Also i would like to make it in a 10" square what quantities should i use and how long should i cook it in a fan oven? I a bit short of time so would need to know today.

bridgetjanejones's picture
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I made this for a 70th birthday and used an 8inch tin. I did not need to adjust any quantities and it cooked in the time stated. I did however only divide it into two layers as it did not seem thick enough for three.

Everyone said it tasted wonderful. The lemon taste was perfect and it was still moist even though it didn't get cut for eight days.

Would definitely use this recipe again.

dawncr57's picture

Hi! I am making the lemon cake for my granddaughter's christening cake, having 2 tiers both in lemon.
Can you help me out with the quanitity and cooking time needed for a 5" / 13cm cake tin size pleas?
Thank you very much!

mrsshambo's picture

My niece asked me to make her wedding cake but as both of us are coeliac we are having a problem finding recipies that suit. Would it be possible to make these cakes with gluten free flour? Has anybody done so and how did they turn out?