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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12th Mar, 2012
I made this cake yesterday. Everyone who has tried it thinks it's delicious, I'll definitely be making it again! Next time I think I may add a thin layer of lemon icing on top, undoes some of the low fat/calories recipe but I think it'd be nice! Good recipe.
7th Mar, 2012
Delicious!! I made this cake using sunflower oil & cut down the sugar to 100g for the cake and 60g for the syrup. Will definitely make again
2nd Mar, 2012
I tried to buy polenta today from Tescos and Sainsburys and they both only sold 'ready made' polenta. Do you think I could substitute polenta with semolina? Thanks.
29th Feb, 2012
Hi Val - olive oil might give the cake a rather odd flavour, but I reckon that sunflower oil would be fine.
29th Feb, 2012
Hi I don't like rapeseed oil. Does anyone know if can I use olive or sunflower oil instead?
27th Feb, 2012
I don't normally make cakes, but I made this yesterday and couldn't believe how easy this recipe was. It turned out exactly the same as the picture and was so tasty, you wouldn't guess that it was low fat. I served it with cream or ice cream and everybody asked for seconds. Would definitely make it again...
22nd Feb, 2012
I finally found a recipe for a lemon drizzle cake that is low fat. It seems quite easy to make, and I fancy lemon and icing sugar frosting or low fat cream cheese with icing sugar and lemon juice for a topping. Can't wait to try it.
22nd Feb, 2012
Made this cake tonight, it is delicious, I will be making this again. Well done Angela, another great recipe.
21st Feb, 2012
Pretty impressed with this cake - lovely sweet and sharp lemony flavour and the polenta gave it a coarse texture, which I like. I do think I'd be able to tell that it was low fat compared with a standard lemon drizzle recipe, but that's not to detract from its good points - it will be a regular for the household cake tin from now on. I am wondering whether I could use the basic recipe and adapt it for a pineapple upside-down cake...
balck777's picture
19th Feb, 2012
Lovely cake. Really moist and tasty, and no-one could guess it was low fat. I made it as a loaf cake instead of round, so I had to increase the baking time by 5-10 mins. Instead of the syrup topping I made lemon icing (icing sugar and lemon juice), thereby undoing some of the healthiness of the cake. Worth it though, because that icing is one of my favourite things. All in all, very successful and I will definitely make again.


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