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

  • kcalories269
  • 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 (111)

lebrant's picture

Why why why, when spending money on expensive ingredients to make this cake, do you not give the size of eggs? I'd love to see the cake "good food" made before it was decorated. I followed the recipe exactly and the result was an almost 2" height (once levelled) cake. The photos show a three layered cake, I would only get two layers from this cake. I used to rate this website, now I don't.

Chene's picture

I've baked this today as the second tier for a wedding cake and it's so flat that it will never slice into three for the buttercream.
Do you think it's the eggs that has caused this as I just used standard eggs?

tartybaker's picture
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This is a really easy recipe to follow. I needed to make this in my 10 inch round cake tin(3 inch deep) I did not need to alter any of the recipe quantities. I baked at 140c for 65 mins then turned down to 120c for 15 mins. The cake was done perfectly after this time.
I left it to cool in the tin for 15 mins. I did not put the lemon syrup on the top. Other reviewers said it did not need it. I agree, the cake was beautifully moist & had a lovely lemon aroma.
I was hoping to slice in two but it just isn't deep enough. I would need to bake another one to do this but, then it would be way too deep. Next time, I think I would make it in x 2 12 inch tins, it would then be the perfect depth for 2 sandwhiched together.
I wrapped it in cling film & foil & will freeze it. I need to use it for a fundraising event in a couple of weeks.

Rifty's picture

Hi, know this is an old post but hope someone will read it! Can anyone tell me if this is good to make as a base tier for a 5 tier wedding cake, base being 15"!

amul's picture

Hope I'm not too late. The reply depends on whether the other 4 tiers will sit on top. If they do, then may I suggest that you place a thin cake board about 12" - 13" on your base cake. Camaflague (?) it with a thin layer of icing. This will dispel your concerns. Be sure to tell the venue manager. I hope this helps. Enjoy the day and apologies if I am too late

ayesha89's picture

Hi, I know this is an old post but I hope someone sees this! I'm making my friends wedding cake and having trial runs- as other lemon cakes have failed me :( any idea how I scale this for an 11in round cake and how long to bake it for on what oven temp? Any advice of would greatly appreciate!! Thanks!!

wendylb's picture

I may be too late now but I scale my recipes using the CakeBakers app called 'Cakeometer; which is ace...I have scaled this recipe for different sizes, although never an 11 otherwise I would post here the amounts x

crazyzoarhaina's picture

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dideedoo62's picture

I just checked the cake after 1hr15min and it is wobbling and runny in the middle. I hope it doesn't sink from opening the door?? It states two cooking times, the very top one 2hrs. How long have others cooked the cake for in an 8" round tin?

Tmumpy55's picture

I recently made all three layers for my grandson's wedding cake and it tasted wonderful, with a close run for favourite between the lemon and chocolate layers. Would definitely use this recipe again. Dowelling definitely needed to support 2nd and 3rd layers. I froze the chocolate and lemon layers until 3 days before the wedding, using that time to buttercream, letting that 'set' and finally icing. Thank you not only for the recipe but all the very helpful comments posted.

beckylew1's picture

I've just checked the cake after 1hr 15 minutes and it's wobbling! Hope it's not ruined now I've opened the oven. Followed the recipe word for word. Is it a typo? Should it be 2hr 15 minutes? It's nowhere near baked. :(

heather2014's picture

Sorry I meant 10inch round not 8 inch

heather2014's picture

Hi please can I have the recipe for an 8inch round. I also tried to make this yesterday using cake release and the cake burnt around the bottom sides and top. Is this because the tin was not lined with paper? I cooked it at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time and the sides and base were not crispy but they were definately burnt. Thanks

nikkinor's picture

I know some earlier comments/questions have asked for times etc for different sized cakes so this may help.
I adapted this recipe as I wanted a 10" square and a 6" square cake to make into a castle birthday cake. I doubled the ingredients which was enough mixture for both cakes. I cooked the 10 inch one for 1hour and 50mins and the 6 inch one for 1 hour and 25 minutes at the same temperature as the recipe. I sliced the cakes in half but they were deep enough to cut into three if required.
I used lemon curd (shop bought-sorry) for the filling and covered with fondant icing. I did not double the syrup ingredients but only used half of it anyway. I found that as some of the syrup went over the top of the cake this made the icing soggy after a few days so would leave out next time as the cakes were moist enough anyway.
I would not hesitate to make this again- it disappeared really quickly with people going back for second helpings and asking for the recipe.

daffers's picture

I made this cake for Easter as a practice for a future tier of a wedding cake. Very easy to make and tasted wonderful, very zingy as the name suggests. I only used about 80mls of the syrup and this kept the cake very moist. I did however need to give it an extra 7mins as mix still coming out uncooked on skewer after recommended time. will definitely make again.

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


Questions (38)

Ghd22's picture

Hi I made this beautiful cake for my sisters wedding cake, I now need to make it as a top tier could you tell me how I will convert to 15cm round deep cake thankyou

picklestick's picture

i would like to use this for the top tier of a cake I am doing. The top layer will be 14cm across, do you have suggested ingredient quantities for this size?


12hutch34's picture

I am making a heart shaped wedding cake ..12inch &10 inch cake tins.I don't know whether to follow quantities for round or square cake tins. Can anyone advise me on this?

louise_garrod's picture

Please can you advise what size eggs this recipe uses? Thanks!

kimberly84's picture

Hi team,

I was wondering if this recipe was for a square 10inch cake? I typed in 'lemon recipe for 10inch cake tin' and this was the 1st one up. If its not - how can i adapt the recipe for a 10inch sq cake?

Thank you!


kitchendemon's picture


Is it best to leave it in the tin to cool and then pour the syrup on before removing, or take it out of the tin as soon as it's out of the oven?


goodfoodteam's picture

Hi and thanks for getting in touch with us. It's best to leave the cake in the tin to cool for 20 mins, turn out and brush/spoon over the  syrup.

lizziej01's picture

Hi can you give me the quantities needed for 12,10,8,6 and 4 inch tins please

Tracey Pears's picture

I made the lemon cake last night in a 23cm tin and it came out fantastic it baked for 1 hour 35 min and I put the lemon sugar syrup on. It rose to the top of the tin as well. I did one cake as a practice for a wedding cake I am going to be making for my sons wedding. My only concern is it seems so light and moist will it be okay to put another 3 inch cake on top and cover it with fondant.

goodfoodteam's picture

It should be fine if you use cake rods to support the layers above. If you can't get cake rods, try drinking straws. Once the cake is iced, push the rods into the cake then mark where they meet the top. Remove them and cut them so that they are flush with the cake when pushed back in. Put a few of these into the middle of the cake to support the upper layers. 

kitchendemon's picture

I've made this for 3 weddings now - it's totally fine if you use doweling rods. Make sure you place the upper tier on a cake card and it'll be grand.

super_fluffy_cake_ninja's picture

I make a super light Victoria sponge on a regular basis and can quite happily put another sponge on top and cover with fondant. If you have another tier on top then do use dowels and support the next tier with a cake board.

lily'scakes's picture

I made the lemon cake and was very pleased with it ..... Cooked a treat . I am slightly confused with the syrup ..... Do you strain the zest away from the syrup as obviously the zest doesn't sink into skewer holes ???

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi lily'scakes, thanks for getting in touch. The zest and juice get poured over the cake. You're absolutely right, the zest will sit on the top of the sponge and the juice will go into the cake. However, the oils from the zest will have mixed in with the juice to give a stronger, lemony flavour and this will go through the cake in the syrup. If you prefer to strain the zest out you can do so, but the lemon flavour may not be as prominent. Hope this helps. 

lily'scakes's picture

Hi wandered if anyone knows this answer ?

twhite's picture

Can this zingy lemon layer be used as the base? Will it support the rich chocolate and light fruit cake?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi twhite. Thanks for your question. We haven't tested this recipe as the base layer so cannot guarantee perfect results and it would also mean adjusting the recipes for the layers above so that they are the right size. However, if you decide to go ahead, you could try using cake rods or drinking straws to support the cake; just push them into the cake at regualar intervals, trim them so that they stick out just about 0.5mm taller than the cake and make sure the layers sitting on top are on thin cake boards. Hope this helps, let us know how it goes. 

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.


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