Step by step recipe and instructions for how to create a classic lemon drizzle cake
Prepare the tins
Line the base of 2 x 7 or 8 inch (18 or 20cm) sandwich tins and grease the sides. I use cake release (available from Annabelle Jane Cake School). Alternatively use a loaf tin or bundt tin.
Preheat the oven
Preheat your oven to gas 3.5/ 165C (155 fan)
Prepare and weigh ingredients
- Weigh 4 eggs into a bowl or jug (usually around 220g) and whisk these lightly with a fork. Remember the weight!
- Weigh the same quantity of cake margarine (or unsalted butter) and caster sugar.
- Either weigh the same amount of self raising flour or you can replace a quarter of the flour with ground almonds. If you are using the almonds, mix these with the flour.
- If you buy a quality flour you don't need to sieve it (it will tell you on the pack).
- Lemon zest - I use the grated zest (the yellow skin, no white bits) of 2 lemons (unwaxed, organic lemons are best). The amount of lemon is personal preference - you could use more or less.
Soften the fat
- Place the cake margarine/ butter into your mixing bowl along with the grated lemon zest. Fat absorbs flavour so adding the zest now makes your cake more lemony.
- Beat (by hand, with a hand mixer or use a free standing machine) until the fat is light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down at intervals.
Cream the fat and sugar
Add the sugar to the softened fat and cream (beat) until it looks very light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl down at intervals.
Add the egg and flour
- Add a little egg along with a spoon of flour.
- Mix on the lowest speed until just incorporated, scrape the bowl down.
- Add about a third of the remaining egg with a spoon of flour. Again, mix on the lowest speed until just incorporated, scrape the bowl down.
- Repeat until all the egg is mixed in.
- Fold the remaining flour through the mixture using a large metal spoon.
Put the mixture into the tins
- Divide the cake mixture (batter) between the two prepared tins.
- Weigh the tins to make sure you have the same amount in each one.
- Spread the mixture out evenly with a slight hollow (dip) in the centre.
Bake your cakes
- Place your cakes in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for around 30 - 35 minutes.
Prepare your lemon drizzle
- While your cakes are baking prepare your lemon drizzle.
- Squeeze the juice from your 2 zested lemons (again you may prefer to use a little less).
- Weigh the juice (probably 50-60g) and place in a small pan. Add an equal weight of caster sugar.
- Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice by stirring over a low heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat.
Remove your cakes from the oven
- The cakes should be pale golden brown and if you press lightly in the centre with your finger - it should spring back.
- Remove from the oven and cover with a clean tea towel.
- After 5-10mins when the cakes are still warm but not hot - use a cocktail stick to make little holes over the top of each cake. If you prefer not to make holes (these are slightly visible) - the drizzle will still soak through the sponges.
- Carefully pour your drizzle over each cake - you can use a spoon or a squeeze bottle.
- Leave the cakes in the tins for around 30-45minutes, then turn out and wrap loosely in cling film. Wait until they are completely cold before filling/ decorating.
Add the filling
- The choice of filling is personal preference. I always use a good quality lemon curd and lemon buttercream (Swiss meringue buttercream is my favourite). Recipes for a selection of buttercreams (including Swiss meringue and Italian meringue) are on our Icing recipes card
- Spread lemon curd evenly over one cake - an angled palette knife makes this easier (available from Annabelle Jane Cake School).
- If using - either spread buttercream over the other cake or, for increased snazziness - pipe your buttercream. If you would like to improve your piping skills our Buttercream piping day is the ideal course.
- Place one cake on top of the other.
- Place your cake onto a pretty plate or cake board.
- Dust the top with icing sugar.
- I added crystallised primroses - see our Crystallised flowers & sweet treats recipe card
If you prefer you can make a lemon icing for the top of your cake by mixing sifted icing sugar into freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Another option is to make a crunchy topping - mix granulated sugar into freshly squeezed lemon juice - when you pour it over the top of your cake, the juice soaks in leaving the crunchy sugar on top - .see our luscious lemon recipe card.
For a grown-up version you can use limoncello - see our luscious lemon recipe card.
Lemon drizzle cake is delicious (especially with a pot of tea) and is at it's best eaten the day it is made.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
If you would like a lemon cake that has a longer keeping time and one that is firm enough to be iced with sugar paste (fondant/ roll out icing) see our luscious lemon cake recipe card