Wedding cake - zingy lemon

Wedding cake - zingy lemon

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(33 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs Plus cooling

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: per serving

  • kcal269
  • fat8g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs33g
  • sugars0.17g
  • fibre20g
  • protein4g
  • salt0g
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  • 350g unsalted butter, softened
  • 350g golden caster sugar
  • 6 egg, beaten



    The ultimate convenience food, eggs are powerhouses of nutrition, packed with protein and a…

  • 140g plain flour
  • 280g self-raising flour
  • zest of 4 lemons, juice of 3 (about 100ml/3½fl oz)



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

For the syrup

  • zest and juice 2 lemons



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 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 35 mins or 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.

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Comments (116)

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

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

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?


Questions (41)

JCH's picture

I posted a question on 4th Jan, and a month later still have received no reply. What sort of website is this, when GoodFood don't respond at all?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi JCH, really sorry to keep you waiting. Normally we like to answer the user questions as soon as possible. However, your question is a bit more specialist as the recipe relates to baking and the method will have been triple tested at the temperatures given and for the times shown so we are concerned that it hasn't been successful for you and has taken a long time to bake for others too. We are in the process of fitting a full retest of this recipe into our kitchen schedule and will let you know the results as soon as we can. Can I ask, how long did it take to completely cook through in the end at 140C fan? 

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi again JCH, thank you for your patience. We have now retested the cake again in our kitchen and taking our findings, your questions and the other comments into account we have amended the recipe to suggest cooking for 1hr 35mins or until risen, golden and a skewer comes out cleanly. Many thanks again for bringing this to our attention.

JCH's picture

Like some of the other users of this recipe I cooked this for 1hr 15 min at fan 140, but it was completely uncooked in the middle. (I have an oven thermometer which clearly showed 140 throughout.) Should I have cooked it for 2 hours, as it said at the top of the recipe (and if not, why does it say 2hrs?)? Or should I have cooked it at 160 even though I have a fan oven?'s picture

I need to double the quantities of the zingy lemon cake, could you please give me a temperature and cooking time. It will be cooked in the 23cm tin as before. Thank you. Marion

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there thanks for your question, we would not recommend you doubling the ingredients for the same size tin, it is likely to overfill the tin and not cook through. Instead make two cakes for best results.'s picture

Could you kindly answer my question as I need to bake a double size soon. Thank you. Marion

Lucymac10's picture


Should the cake bake for 1hr 15 as per recipe method or 2 hrs as per 'cooking time' instructions?


goodfoodteam's picture

1hr 15 mins as per the recipe, thanks.

Ice-cream in the rain's picture

How structurally strong is this cake? I'm making a 4-5 tier wedding cake and wondered if it would hold the weight? I'm not using fondant but will be using ganche to cover it

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. As it has not been tested as a 4-5 tier cake we wouldn’t want to advise you incorrectly, but you may need to use cake pillars and supports to help.

Cake mad's picture

I need a really nice madiera cake recipe for a 12 inch x 3 inch square tin please help

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. This is a good recipe for Madeira cake: however for the size tin you require you would probably need to triple the quantities there, remember that baking large cakes can be a tricky experience, as few recipes are written for bigger sizes and simply doubling up ingredients does not always produce the expected results, I hope this helps.

Cake mad's picture

Has anyone got a really good Madeira cake recipe for a 12 inch x3 inch square tin looking for really nice moist recipe

Cake mad's picture

Please could you tell me the amounts for a 10 inch 8 inch and 6 inch I would be ever so gratefully please

ersatzvanilla's picture

I'd like to make the rich dark chocolate wedding cake in a deep 6inch round tin and am wondering how much mixture to use. Does anyone have any idea? Thanks

ersatzvanilla's picture

Does anybody know why the zingy lemon cake does not rise very well? I made this cake last week, and ended up having to do another cake afterwards as the first one was only 2inches tall and clearly not deep enough to split and fill. Each cake took a full 2 hrs to bake. But the cake was delicious and had a fantastic cutting texture. Any tips on how to get it to rise more would be gratefully received. Thanks.

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there. You need to make sure you have encoporated enough air into the mixture in order to get a good rise, make sure you beat the mixture until it is pale, light and fluffy.

haroldhamster's picture

Just a quick egg question - did folk use medium or large?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. Medium eggs are called for in this recipe. In fact, unless otherwise stated all recipes on the site containing eggs require them to be medium in size.

Best wishes, BBC Good Food team


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