Lemon drizzle cake

Lemon drizzle cake

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(1459 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 45 mins

Easy

Cuts into 10 slices

It's difficult not to demolish this classic by Tana Ramsay in just one sitting, so why not make two at once?

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal399
  • fat21g
  • saturates13g
  • carbs50g
  • sugars33g
  • fibre1g
  • protein5g
  • salt0.3g
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Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 egg
    Eggs

    Egg

    egg

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

  • finely grated zest 1 lemon
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

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

  • 225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle topping

  • juice 1½ lemons
    Lemon

    Lemon

    le-mon

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

  • 85g caster sugar

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together 225g softened unsalted butter and 225g caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in 225g flour, then add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.

  2. Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (1764)

Cooking6432's picture
0

This recipe is flawed. I made this absolutely as written. The contents spilled all over my oven, the cake was raw inside but crispy on the outside and the glaze doesn't work as posted. Don't waste your ingredients. I'm going back to America's Test Kitchen.

pjtrudgill's picture
0

Attempted this cake last night... there is clearly something wrong it was raw after 50 mins and I used correct size tin it was almost like it was enough ingredients for two cakes! May try next time... this ended up in the bin with a few cooked bits round the side... the skewer came out clean because still liquid inside... needs amending!

ohyeah's picture
5

Regarding the timings, I think its a little unfair to blame the author always, there are many variables which will determine the cooking together with the obvious differences in the oven temps, not all will cook at exactly 160 due to the manufactures specifications, thermostat differences and alike but also I found a huge variation in the cake tins used. My tins which are relatively new and fairly thin behave pretty much "on time" whereas my mothers 70 year old heavy duty tend to take much longer. The results though through experience tend to give the same great final product.

ohyeah's picture
5

tried this cake this morning and found timings a little quick, but just waited till the cake was spring back a the touch and hey presto perfect! Must admit I'll try more lemon next time both zest and juice, can never have too much of a good thing.

acjacobs's picture
5

I've made this a few times now and it really annoys me. There's no way on earth that this cake will cook in 45 minutes. At 160 in a fan oven, this is going to take 75 minutes. After 45 to 50 minutes it's completely raw inside. With all the comments saying exactly the same thing you'd thing that BBC Good Food would do something. If someone followed this and presented it to Gordon Ramsey on one of his shows he'd be putting a slice of bread either side of their face and calling them an idiot sandwich.

And there is absolutely no way it's going to look like that with the instructions given.

The only way I can make it look like that with a nice crispy top is to add just enough lemon juice to the sugar to turn it into a fairly thick paste. Then drizzle the remaining juice over the cake first to give it a soak. Once that's done, pour the paste over and spread it as needed.

ZahraLondon's picture
5

This is my favourite cake recipe ever! Always goes down a treat. Agree with the others, takes about an hour in the oven.
I tend to 'double drizzle' - so the lemon & caster sugar mix to soak into the cake then finished with lemon & icing sugar mix zig-zagged across the cake to make it look prettier.

Janepj's picture
3.75

Agree with comments re cooking time - takes much longer, definitely need extra lemon and I am now using icing sugar for the topping as c sugar so far failed to produce white crunch

Tillbridge's picture

There was no mention of warming the lemon juice and sugar to make the drizzle! My cake is sort of grey now where I poured the lemon juice and sugar over it!

zchatc8's picture

agree with previous comments that it needs to be baked for much longer than suggested - took 1 hour 5 mins in a fan oven at 160, otherwise middle of the cake isnt cooked

amdramqueen133's picture

This is gorgeous! My nephew came back for a second slice.

suses22's picture

Great recipe, made this cake numerous times now and always turns out perfectly, and most importantly the OH loves it!

acjacobs's picture
5

Made this a few times now and it's always turned out perfectly. Agree with others though: 2 lemons!

damdoum's picture
5

I can't count the times I've made this, and it's always, always a hit! easy to make and light and yummy!

allielovetocook's picture
5

Absolutely scrumptious cake! Used a 2lb loaf tin, which was the perfect size. Also used the zest of two lemons (they were medium-sized) in the cake and their juice in the drizzle. Mixed the sugar / juice together right at the last minute before drenching the cake with it, then added a light sprinkle of extra sugar on the top and it made a lovely crisp, sweet layer. I have made this cake before using butter, but this time I tried using Stork with butter and have to say the end result is a lighter cake with a better lemon flavour than when I used butter alone. Will be using the Stork option again, for sure.

Loobyk11's picture

Lovely cake but make sure you use a bigger loaf tin than the 8 X 21!! Much too small... Cake batter all over my oven!

rampervm's picture
5

Made this cake about six times, delicious cake, such an easy recipe

suses22's picture

Fabulous moist cake, so easy to make, and the other half and the neighbours love it

pippa154's picture
3.75

I'm about to make this for the second time. First time it turned out great although I'm not a fan of so much sugar on the top, think I'll just make the holes, squeeze lemon over and sprinkle with a little sugar, instead of mixing and pouring.

pippa154's picture
3.75

Just made this and it looks great, however like many others I had to cook it for a lot longer than 40 mins, mine took about an hour, I guess it's because a loaf tin is very deep. I just put some foil over the top for the extra 20 mins to stop the top burning. I used less sugar for the drizzle, about 70g, makes no difference to the crunch and I like to cut calories where I can!

Liz197227's picture
5

I made this cake & it turned out lovely, i put exrta lemon in mine & to make the drizzle heat a little lemon juice in a pan & put sugar into it then leave it to cool down a little then pour over the cake. I line my cake tins with cake tin liners. I get them from the poundshop you get about 25. You can get loaf tin liners & cake tin liners.

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Questions (30)

Val46's picture

My lemon cakes (and other loaf cakes!) always seem to end up with a "crack" down the centre, and around the edge is always done first, but the centre takes longer, where am I going wrong please? Too much liquid?

goodfoodteam's picture

Thanks for your question. It sounds like your cake tin is a bit too small. If the cake is significantly peaked it'll be much higher in the middle and will therefore take longer to cook than the outer edges. Hope that gets to the bottom of it. If not, take a look at our Top 10 cake problems fixed article for more advice.

Shanicetsang's picture

Can I use this recipe for an 8" cake?

goodfoodteam's picture

If you don't have a suitable loaf tin, you could use an 8 inch round tin instead but you will need to adjust the timings slightly to accomodate the different depth of cake mixture. We'd suggest keeping an eye on your cake from about 3/4 of the way through the stated cooking time to ensure it doesn't become overcooked. Once the cake starts to look golden and feels springy to the touch, then take it out and test it to see if it's done.

laura_j_83's picture

Just wondering - should I be using medium or large eggs?? :-)

JEMBull's picture

Can anyone tell me if you can make this cake with gluten free SR flour. Thank you.

rampervm's picture
5

How many grams is the juice of 1 1/2 lemons? I am in Trinidad and the lemons are certainly different to those in London.

goodfoodteam's picture

Thank you for your question. It doesn't really matter if the lemons differ in size a little. If you happen to have very big lemons, you could try using just one. Hope this helps.

topthorn10's picture

Could I do this in a 7" round cake tin?

L.J's picture

hello!
does anyone have any idea about icing this? if i wanted to make it in to more of a birthday cake, i want to add on the glaze, but then would i ice over the top - any help would be greatly apprecaite.....i am WAY out of my depth!!!!! x

jule955's picture

Hi L.J,

I usually do that with my lemon drizzle - bake it in two round tins, drizzle both cakes and sandwich them with icing. I use the icing recipe from the link below. It makes enough to ice the top of the cake as well, but not quite enough to do the sides too. Everybody so far has loved it, but I'd be careful not to use too much of it; I drizzle my cakes a lot more than the Good Food recipe suggests, so the sweetness of the icing really balances out the sharpness of the lemon. But it might make the whole thing too sweet if you go with the original cake recipe.

http://www.hippopotamousse.com/2013/07/triple-lemon-drizzle-birthday-cak...

genty01's picture

How do you freeze this? Should I put the drizzle on when I defrost it or does that freeze OK as well? Thank you

genty01's picture

I want to make two of these and freeze them for a party. Do I freeze without the drizzle or will the drizzle freeze OK as well? Thanks.

demri1's picture

Stupid question, but if I'm planning on doubling the size, can I use a round cake tin instead of a loaf tin?

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question. When altering the quantities of a cake there is no excat formula for scaling up tin size or cooking time. For best results, make two loaf cakes instead. 

millid02's picture

Hi all I just made this cake again but this time I melted sugar with lemon juice for topping.
I think this may have been wrong as it didn't form a crust. What do others do regarding this. Many thanks in anticipation. Christine

goodfoodteam's picture

Hi there, thanks for your question, there is no need to melt the sugar, just mix with the lemon juice. Thanks.

goodfoodteam's picture

Flour is always plain unless otherwise stated, this will be why the cake sank in the middle.

mellymak's picture
3.75

The recipe doesn't specify whether or not we must use self-raising flour, but I did. In SA, normally the recipes do specify this, maybe its a UK thing that this is just assumed. Was I supposed to use self-raising? I also added 5ml of baking powder.

The cake was delicious but the middle of the cake was not cooked and it sank in the middle. I did test the cake and the skewer seemed shiney rather than wet. I wasn't sure if it still needed to be cooked further so I waited an extra 10mins. I was nervous to leave it any longer as it was going very dark on the outside. Did this happen because I used to much raising agent?

bardez's picture
5

Recipe says "225g self-raising flour"

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Tips (28)

sarahjo33's picture
5

A lovely recipe, came out perfect. When the cake had cooled I cut in half and spread a layer of lemon curd and a layer of lemons butter icing and sandwiched back together. Everyone who had a slice came back for another. I also used the rind of 2 lemons in the cake which gave a more powerful flavour. A winner in our house

ciao's picture
5

Overspill? Try oven bottom liner sheet couple of pounds from b and m . It cleans much more easily than oven bottom.

ciao's picture
5

Made this 3 times now. Today I've added dessicated coconut and also coconut essence (lake land's is lovely) to the mixture. Also try using icing sugar on top instead of castor. I also fin this takes much longer to cook - 1 to 1 and a half hours.

Rkepinska's picture
5

Oh and grate two lemon rinds into the mix not one.

Rkepinska's picture
5

Change fan oven temp to 140 and bake for 1hr 10mins plus swap caster sugar for granulated sugar for the topping glaze thing.

vembley's picture

Use a large tin. I made this cake for the second time, and forgot that the tin is too small. Whilst it it lovely, the dimension of the tin are clearly wrong. Perhaps they should be inches not centimetres? The cake is lovely, but I would recommend checking the cake 10 or 15 minutes before the end as you may want to cover it in foil to stop the top browning too much. Even though I used a larger tin, the cake rose well over the top which then makes it tricky to pour the lemon and sugar mix over to. Lovely recipe, just needs to be in a bigger tin!

dazhuntley's picture

My advice, for what it's worth; Use LARGE eggs. For the drizzle, do 3 lemons with 120g sugar, punch 2 dozen holes deep into the cake with your skewer. Don't focus on the 'topping' focus on getting as much of that juice down the holes as possible. The topping comes from what won't go down. Moist, juicy, heavenly cake every time.

alexandervchan's picture

Delicious, just use a bigger tin...

Hilarygypsy's picture

Delicious every time - really soak the cake with drizzle, made with granulated for extra crunch! I make a separate topping with icing sugar and more lemon juice, mixed to a thick pouring consistency to spread over cake when cool, on a rack, and allow to gently pour down sides. Have also mixed lemon juice with lime juice. First cake to go at the Macmillan coffee morning!

Pumpkineater84's picture

Ignore my last tip just tried and its gorgeous only thing I would do differently next time I would make another 1/3 of the drizzle topping and make holes ever so slightly larger so drizzle distributes deeper into the cake this is really good recipe

Pumpkineater84's picture

Also just thought I bet this would be gorgeous with limoncello in mix or mixed with some of the topping? And might try this again substituting the lemons with grapefruit it could be gross but might be nice

Pumpkineater84's picture

Whatever size tin you use good to always put the tin on a baking sheet or traybake tin I have had dreaded overspill of cake mix in oven before and it takes forever to clean oven never again! Cake took 65 mins in my oven at 160 fan after 50 mins covered with foil and re checked every 5mins looks great loing forward to trying it when it cools down

vicki_mh's picture
5

I've adapted this for a lemony sandwich. Add 2tsp of baking powder to the batter then split between 2 20cm sandwich tins. I also always use the zest of 2 lemons in mine for a stronger lemon taste. Sandwich with whipped up mascarpone (or cream if you prefer) and lemon curd, and pour over the lemon/sugar mix as usual.

Nightbaker's picture

Made this cake several times and never failed. Just soaked last one in lemon liqueur, not tried it yet. I use loaf tin liners from Morrison's, no messing around greasing or cutting up baking paper etc

love.orange123's picture
5

So simple and yet such a lovely treat. :)

I don't have a scale so I was forced to use cup measurements. For the cake you can use 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of sugar and 2 cups of flour, 4 eggs and the zest of two lemons (I love a strong lemony taste!)

Nightbaker's picture

Bake 2 cakes in 21cm x 10cm loaf tins. Same instructions as per with the following changes - mix is for 2 cakes: 300gm baking marg, 250gm caster sugar, 3 eggs, 300gm self raising flour, rind from 2 lemons and juice from half lemon. 160c fan assisted. 45 - 50 mins, test with skewer. Cakes have always split but no problem. Add juice from lemons to caster sugar for moist drizzle or icing sugar for crisp topping. Never fails.

angie120's picture

One lemon = 3 tablespoons if you don't have any lemon just add I bit of the juice to the mix

dhanisha_j's picture
5

After reading the reviews I attempted to make this last night. It was the easiest recipe to follow and the cake turned out PERFECT! The sponge was so soft and moist, it went down like a treat. I made a few changes:
* Bakes in a 9inch round tin
* Put 1 and 3/4 of lemon zest in the cake mix
* Used 1/4 to cover the top of the cake for decoration
* Put 1/2 lemon juice into the mix.
* Baked at 160 fan for 40 minutes
* Poured the lemon syrup on the cake whilst it was hot.

Definitely a winner!!!

princesspuppet's picture

I add lemon liquor to mine to give it a real kick.

amatuercakes's picture

Used lemon juice from a bottle instead of lemons! Didn't add lemon into the actual cake mix, aside from a little lemon juice (again from the bottle). Use fresh lemons if you can, but my version was still a hit. (Must say I guestimated the amount of lemon juice for the drizzle). Sponge was absolutely gorgeous. Used a standard cake tin instead of the loaf tin, didn't find any problems wih this. I did find however that the lemon mix didn't seep into the cake. But overall very good recipe, and I'll definitely make it again.

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