Wedding cake - zingy lemon

Wedding cake - zingy lemon

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(29 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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wendybea's picture

Please can we have some answers to cooking times for different sized cakes. In fact any answers at all. Useful questions but useless without answers and I can see I'm not the only one frustrated by this. Is there any point in asking? I wonder if I will get an answer?

nimblefingers1's picture

the timings are confusing, I see some others have commented. Come on BBC, answer the question please! My cake is definitely raw in the middle, now back in for 40 more minutes.

rambo197's picture

I am looking for a nice Lemon cake for one of the tiers for my Daughters wedding in Novemeber, can you freeze this recipe? if so how long can it be frozen for. Many thanks Sandra

woodenspoons's picture
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The cake took almost 1.45 hours to cook but looked beautiful when it came out of the oven. I wish I hadn't bothered with the syrup though because it made the cake a bit soggy, it's moist enough without it. If you do want to use it then use just half and let it soak in slowly. Smells lovely, tastes lovely, it is lovely! I'd recommend storing the sponge in the fridge or freezer for an hour or so before slicing it to fill and popping it back afterwards to firm up before icing it, it makes it a lot easier.

jo_chrystal's picture

I absolutely love these 3 recipe's i have made them a few times now, made the Lemon in a 10 inch square and 12inch square choclate for a 50th and didnt alter the recipe and they were fine. I then made two 12 inch square lemon cakes for a double christening and I doubled the recipe and again both were perfect, I have just started making all 3 for my area manager's wedding cake (absolutely bricking it) even though i made loads of time haha they want the lemon and chocolate sizes switching and again I have halved the chocolate recipe and doubled the lemon and again they spot on, good luck guys, and would defo recommend these recipe's to everyone

maxine21's picture

Tried out the the lemon cake for Easter (did put baby Easter eggs on top it looked great) It turned out smashing every one loved it. now my daughter has asked if i would bake her wedding cake for her. Only problem is i have square cake tins and need help with how much ingredients to put in them. Can any one give me advice on this please?
Cooking the Zingy Lemon cake in a 25cm (10 inch) tin
The Rich Dark Chocolate cake in a 30cm (12 inch) tin
Top one should be a small fruit cake so no problem with that one.

tinysparkles's picture
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made this cake last week, was delicious!! the lemon syrup worked for me so im not sure why it didnt work for some.... perhaps your cake was cooled down too much or the syrup was too thick? the syrup did not do all teh way down the cake though but the top certainly absorbed the syrup! will be making it again today but will be filling with buttercream in the middle, no lemon curb though as the sponge and syrup together is lemony enough!

irene1968's picture
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i gave this recipie a try as im not the worlds best cook, but this was a wowwwwwwww.

easy 2 follow, tasted excellent, people that tried it loved it.
im gonny b brave n try the chocolate 1 nxt.

if i can bake any 1 can with goodfood the recipies are very easy 2 follow and understand. You just cant go wrong. i actually impressed my partner and my self.

ujstanton's picture

What size tin should I use to make the cake square. And how long to cook it please

damesgirl's picture
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Made the 3 different flavoured tiers and all of them were fantastic! I got so many complements from our friends and family.
I made the chocolate and the lemon cakes a week ahead and froze them, you would never had known they had been in the freezer, both were moist and delicious, I made the fruit cake two days ahead. I didnt decorate the cakes with sugar paste I covered the choc cake with the chocolate buttercream and the lemon and fruit cake with the lemon buttercream and then covered them in chocolate cigarellos, then topped each tier with chocolates, it looked amazing. I highly recommend all three of these cake recipes. 5 out of 5 stars!

alreidzzz's picture

do you need to trim the top of this cake flat before covering?
thanks for any advice

krissy85's picture
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Could you do this with orange instead? Same amount of juice and just judge by eye the grated orange zest?? Doing this cake for my daughters christening LOVE the lemon but its quite strong for the little ones coming - think orange might tone it down as the cake is gorgeous! I have one in the freezer waiting to ice closer to the date so hopefully it will be ok - has anyone else frozen this cake and if do how does it taste once defrosted? Thanks

frisky53's picture
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Mel--- the buttercream recipe is in the 'creating your wedding cake' recipe on this site. You make the buttercream and then add lemon curd. One thing I discovered about slicing the cake before filling it is to make sure you piece the cake back in the same position you cut it otherwise it can become lopsided when icng is applied.

I have made this cake 3 time now and never had a problem with it rising. Maybe your mixture is splitting? I heard a really good tip about adding the eggs to the sugar and butter. It should be added a little at a time (Like oil to mayonnaise) and just add some sieved flour if it st make sure the oven temperature is correct. My cake was in longer than the recipe said as I increased the quantities.
Good Luck

anjalorum's picture

Have tried this twice now and both times it has not risen and seems heavy HELP

lissa40uk's picture

Looking at the picture it shows the cake (lemon) is three layers is this the same cake or just a picture? The instructions dont mention slicing and butter icing the cake. Sorry am I being stupid :$ ??? Many thanks.

frisky53's picture
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An absolute lovely cake recipe. Made this as a tier of my daughter's wedding cake. Froze it for a month and then iced it. After icing it I had to store it out of the fridge due to lack of space but it was gorgeous.
Everybody commented on how lemony it was. It's now a favourite.
The syrup just adds the zing

soniafromteddington's picture

I have to make a 12" coffee sponge for my daughters wedding cake and I wondered if I could size up this recipe and use expresso coffee instead of the lemon. Do you think this will work because this recipe uses more flour than a normal Victoria sponge?

aeward's picture

Thinking about making my own wedding cake so why not start practising now. Made a very small version of this as a trial. Very very nice! Ended up with a bit too much buttercream but nevermind!!

Going to try it with 1/2 quantities next and then trying the chocolate one too :-)

domi5253's picture

I made this cake for a friend's wedding and everybody absolutely loved it. Thank you for all your advises it was a great help especially as it was my first wedding cake... I transported it from London to Glasgow by car in individual cake boxes and put it together at the wedding reception, everything work fine.
The chocolate lemon and fruit cake are absolutely delicious, I can not wait to used them again..

gjones's picture

I have just made this cake as the middle tier for my friends wedding cake. Although it looked perfect when it came out of the oven, since putting the lemong syrup over the top it appears to have become very soggy. Can anyone help? I was thinking of making it again and leaving the syrup off??? HELP!!!