Lighter lemon drizzle cake

Lighter lemon drizzle cake

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(47 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 40 mins


Cuts into 12 slices
Angela Nilsen gives one of our site's most popular cakes the ultimate healthy makeover by reducing fat

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal243
  • fat10.2g
  • saturates1.4g
  • carbs35.4g
  • sugars21.5g
  • fibre0.9g
  • protein4.7g
  • salt0.34g
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  • 75ml rapeseed oil, plus extra for the tin
    Rapeseed oil

    Rapeseed oil

    If you want a light alternative to other cooking oils, rapeseed is a great choice and has…

  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 50g ground almond
  • 50g polenta



    An Italian storecupboard staple, polenta has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy…

  • finely grated zest 2 lemons



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

  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs



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

  • 225g natural yogurt

For the lemon syrup

  • 85g caster sugar
  • juice 2 lemon (about 5 tbsp)



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


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Lightly oil a 20cm round x 5cm deep cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. For the cake, put the flour, baking powder, ground almonds and polenta in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the lemon zest and sugar, then make a dip in the centre. Beat the eggs in a bowl, then stir in the yogurt. Tip this mixture along with the oil into the dip (see step-by-step number 1), then briefly and gently stir with a large metal spoon so everything is just combined, without overmixing.

  2. Spoon the mixture into the tin and level the top (step 2). Bake for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cover loosely with foil for the final 5-10 mins if it starts to brown too quickly.

  3. While the cake cooks, make the lemon syrup. Tip the caster sugar into a small saucepan with the lemon juice and 75ml water. Heat over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Raise the heat, boil for 4 mins until slightly reduced and syrupy, then remove from the heat.

  4. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool briefly in the tin. While it is still warm, turn it out of the tin, peel off the lining paper and sit the cake on a wire rack set over a baking tray or similar. Use a skewer to make lots of small holes all over the top of the cake (step 3). Slowly spoon over half the lemon syrup (step 4) and let it soak in. Spoon over the rest in the same way, brushing the edges and sides of the cake too with the last of the syrup.

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Comments, questions and tips

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3rd Sep, 2019
I think this recipe is lovely , even my fussy kids like this. Made it a few times now following the recipe as it is . Will make again. Delicious
surfnirvana's picture
3rd Apr, 2019
Lovely lemony, moist cake that isn't too sweet. Very easy to put together. I didn't have rapeseed oil so used vegetable oil and I think I would leave the polenta out next time and double up on the ground almonds. Took it to the office and it was devoured!
26th Sep, 2018
Lovely cake. Moist, not too sweet. Disappeared very quickly. The odd piece that was left the next day was even better. Definite regular bake now.
30th Sep, 2016
I make this a fair bit, use 100g of ground almonds, instead of polenta, and add blueberries. I make in a loaf tin and it is delicious!
15th Feb, 2016
Made this yesterday and it was superb! Followed recipe exactly except for replacing the rapeseed oil for coconut oil and made individual mini loaf cakes (cooked for about 20 mins).
7th Feb, 2016
Just made this and it is scrumptious! I altered it slightly and used 200ml egg white rather than whole eggs, to reduce the calories/fat a bit and also added some fresh raspberries. Perfect.
13th Jan, 2016
Rapeseed oil should not be heated and should not be used in cooking. It is lower in saturated fat than butter, which may be why people believe it to be a healthy option. However, saturated fat has been shown repeatedly not to be the cause of heart disease or furred up arteries; indeed rapeseed oil is more likely to contribute to these as the molecular structure at the end of its process is not recognised in nature and so is in effect a poison.
3rd Jan, 2016
Nice, but a bit dry - I guess that's what happens when you reduce fat. Good for tea with some custard though.
25th Oct, 2014
I tried this today and it's easily as good as any higher calorie version I've had before, if not better. The cake had a nice light texture. I used coarse cornmeal, 2% fat yoghurt and organic rapeseed oil, which didn't have a strong taste or smell, so don't be afraid it will spoil the cake. I used slightly less water for the syrup after reading the comments and I pierced the cake loads, but there was still more syrup on top than inside the cake. Fortunately the zest ensured the inside was still lemony.
23rd Oct, 2014
Looked nice, smelled nice... but no, didn't taste nice, ended up on the bird table.. Easy recipe but would rather not have any cake at all than eat this one.


hkeen's picture
19th Oct, 2019
Could you substitute semolina for the polenta
3rd May, 2014
Can I swap the yogurt for something else?
goodfoodteam's picture
13th May, 2014
Hi there. For best results we wouldn't substitute the yogurt, it's a lighter version of the classic lemon drizzle and needs the yogurt for the texture.
21st Jun, 2014
Love life
21st Jun, 2014
21st Jun, 2014
23rd Mar, 2014
I replaced the rapeseed oil with grapeseed oil as I find that rapeseed oil can be bitter in cakes. I also replaced the polenta with almond meal, used 2 x 125g tubs of low fat natural yogurt and omitted the water from the syrup. Honestly the best lemon drizzle recipe I've ever made. Such a light and moist cake. You could easily serve it warm with a dollop of vanilla yoghurt for a dessert.
7th Feb, 2016
I did pretty Much the same thing but also substituted the whole eggs for 200ml whipped egg white. Lowers the cals/fat even further!
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