Lemon drop chilli loaf cake served on a cake stand

Lemon drop chilli loaf cake

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(1 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins Cook: 40 mins Plus cooling


Serves 10-12

Combine lemons and lemon drop chillies to create a cake with a real citrussy kick. This easy bake makes a stunning centrepiece dessert

Nutrition and extra info

  • un-iced
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: Per serving (12)

  • kcal633
  • fat27g
  • saturates16g
  • carbs87g
  • sugars61g
  • fibre1g
  • protein9g
  • salt0.9g
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  • 250g butter, plus extra for the tin



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 400g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200ml buttermilk or natural yogurt
    Buttermilk pancake mixture in bowl with whisk



    There are two types of buttermilk. Traditional buttermilk is a thin, cloudy, slightly tart but…

  • 6 lemons, zested and juiced



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

  • 400g golden caster sugar
  • 6 large eggs



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

  • jar lemon curd (around 300g), for the centre

For the chilli caramel

  • 4 dried lemon drop chillies
  • 100g golden caster sugar

For the frosting

  • 50g butter, very soft



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 50g golden icing sugar
  • 100g full-fat soft cheese, any liquid drained


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Butter and flour two 20cm cake tins. Mix the buttermilk (or yogurt) with 2 tbsp lemon juice.

  2. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy, then add the lemon zest. Gradually add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold the flour into the batter, followed by the buttermilk mixture. Spoon the batter into the cake tins and level the surface. Bake for 25-30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to sit for 10 mins, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.

  3. To make the caramel, put 1 chilli in a jug and add 100ml boiling water. Leave to steep for 10 mins (don’t leave it any longer or the chilli flavour will be too strong). Strain into a pan, then scatter over the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar melts, then boil until you have a light caramel. Take off the heat and quickly dip the remaining whole chillies in, then leave them to set on a piece of baking parchment. Put the pan back on the heat and stir the remaining lemon juice (from the cake mixture), reserving 1 tbsp, into the caramel to make a sauce. 

  4. To make the frosting, beat the butter until very soft. Beat in the reserved 1 tbsp lemon juice and the icing sugar, then fold in the soft cheese – don’t beat it or the mixture will soften too much. If it’s too soft, chill for 10 mins.

  5. Drizzle a tiny bit of caramel over one cake, then add a layer of lemon curd and place the other cake on top. Spread the frosting over the top, drizzle over the remaining caramel and decorate with the chillies.

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Comments, questions and tips

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31st Jan, 2020
After spending the whole of the summer growing lemon drop chillies from seed as I couldn't but dried ones anywhere here in the UK and then weeks drying them out, I was very disappointed that the resultant cake didn't really taste of or have any chilli heat. I am a big chilli fan as I suspect anyone looking at this recipe would be. The recipe made it quite clear not to seep the chilli for longer than 10 minutes but either it needed longer or more chillies needed to be added to the water. The water did taste mildly of chilli but this was not enough to flavour the sauce. As for the sponges, The recipe states two 20cm tins but I found they needed 20 minutes more in the oven to cook than mentioned here and when they came out they were far taller than in this photo. I suspect the cake in this image was cooked in larger tins which would reduce the cooking time. Perhaps this is a misprint. As for the frosting. The recipe urges you to use very soft butter...RESIST. Use utter that is just soft enough to work with and don't add the lemon juice. If the mixture is too soft when you add the full fat cream cheese, no matter how carefully you are folding it in, it will go runny. Putting it in the freezer to firm up won't work either as once you remove it, it will melt at room temperature and become runnier than it was before. Really weird and makes no sense but there you are. I only required half as much lemon curd as the recipe suggests but that might be because they used larger cake tins so have a larger area to cover. If I had put 300g of curd in between my sponges it would have all squidged out the side. Also there was loads of sauce but I used that to pour over the cake slices on serving. The flavour was good but not too different from a lemon drizzle cake but more effort. If the chilli flavour had come through it would have made it stand out more. If the recipe had fewer errors it would also have been less hassle to make and seemed more worth the effort.
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