Wedding cake - zingy lemon

Wedding cake - zingy lemon

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(40 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 2 hrs Plus cooling

More effort

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 eggs, 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


  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, questions and tips

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Carley Wallace's picture
Carley Wallace
29th Nov, 2018
Hello! This recipe looks awesome and I can't wait to try it for my sisters wedding. I do have a question about the oven temp. My Canadian oven doesn't have a gas and fan setting. As I need one temp,wbat would you recommend me baking this at? I thought 350f but I wanna double check!
21st Aug, 2018
Thank you Jane Hornby for this recipe. I used a 23cm tin for the second tier of a wedding cake, and poured elderflower liqueur onto the cake while still warm. It froze beautifully, and I filled it with lemon buttercream before icing it. It made a perfect platform for flowers, and the cake was moist, sharp and delicious. So much so, that it all went very quickly (120 guests). I would definitely use this recipe again, for everyday as well as for special occasions.
16th Mar, 2017
I made this for my brother's wedding 6 years ago and since then has been my go to lemon cake recipe. I scale it up and down as needed and even make cupcakes with it. One of the best lemon cakes i've ever eaten (if I do say so myself :))
6th Jan, 2017
I made the whole wedding cake for my daughter's best friend's wedding and it was very successful - everyone loved it! Have just used the Zingy Lemon Cake recipe to make a Baby Shower cake for the same friend. Again it worked really well. As a previous person commented, it is important that the eggs and butter are at room temperature. I always assume large eggs when baking. And yes, I have produced a great 4" deep cake each time!
27th Nov, 2016
Lemon juice in cake mix meant it didn't rise at all. Went in the bin
The White Monk's picture
The White Monk
20th Apr, 2017
Sorry to hear your cake did not go well. Don't give up. This recipe really does work but needs carful attention. Not suggesting you were not carful in anyway. Did you weigh out the correct amount of lemon juice in the recipe? If you put too much it can mean the cake becomes too moist and does not rise correctly. Weigh everything out carefully and don’t use more than 100 mL lemon juice. Just by the feedbacks on this page its worth having one more go :) I have had my disasters too with cakes and I once doubled the lemon juice on this recipe with terrible consequences! I wanted even more lemon flavour!! All the best with your future bakes.
25th Sep, 2016
My first attempt at a two tier cake...this is very easy and tastes of lovely zingy lemon.
2nd May, 2016
To all those who got a flatter, dense cake: I just made this for my wedding and my first attempt was about 2-3 inches tall and felt pretty dense. My mistakes were: I didn't beat the butter and sugar together enough - for those using a kitchen aid, a flex edge beater attachment is a must for this recipe! My butter was too cold My eggs were too cold - make sure both eggs and butter are at warm room temperature when you start baking Basically, because there is no rising agent in the cake (other than in the SRF), it relies heavily on the air you beat in at step 1. Another tip, gently fold in the flour, do not beat at this stage. I followed the above, and my second attempt was a soft, bouncy, 4inch high cake that can definitely be sliced twice for filling. Good luck!
9th Apr, 2016
Made this for my wedding. As others have commented, there's no way this could be sliced into three, really didn't rise as much as I'd hoped. I made the lemon buttercream and added a layer of lemon curd too. Was all lovely. Flavours great. Check out my blog for details: http://itsonlyvintagebutilikeit.com/food-2/its-only-a-wedding-cake-but-i-like-it/
21st Oct, 2015
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.


16th Aug, 2018
Do you use large or medium eggs?
goodfoodteam's picture
21st Aug, 2018
Thanks for your question. Our baking recipes use medium eggs unless otherwise stated.
9th Jun, 2018
I would like to make this recipe for a 6, 9 and 12 inch wedding cake. Can you tell me how I adjust the recipe please. The wedding is next Saturday, so an urgent reply needed. Thanks
goodfoodteam's picture
13th Jun, 2018
Thanks for your question. Unfortunately we are unable to give exact quantities and cooking times without testing the recipe for these. We'd suggest looking at our creating a wedding cake recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4578/creating-your-wedding-cake as well as our wedding cake recipe collection: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/wedding-cake
10th Feb, 2018
I made this just now and the top is cracked a bit like a muffin. What did I do wrong?
goodfoodteam's picture
12th Feb, 2018
Thanks for your question. Sorry to hear your cake didn't turn out as you wanted. A cake can crack if too much raising agent was used, the oven temperature was too high or a smaller tin was used. Hope this helps you get to the bottom of it.
6th Nov, 2017
Would this recipe be suitable for adding poppy seeds? Thank you!
goodfoodteam's picture
9th Nov, 2017
Thanks for your question. Yes you can add poppy seeds.
18th Jul, 2017
I have made a 14 inch square fruit cake for my brothers wedding. next tier is going to be a 12 or 10 inch which goes better. Can anyone help which Size to go for and how to scale this recipe up. Thanks
22nd Jun, 2017
Hi, I was searching for a 10" square lemon cake and this one came up. Is this recipe for that shape/size?


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