Light, Fluffy, and Citrusy: The Ultimate Lemon Drizzle Cake!

Lemon Drizzle Cake

This lemon drizzle cake is pure magic! This cake is a cinch to make in a food processor or Thermomix and is one of the easiest cakes you could ever make. This light, fluffy butter sponge cake is drizzled with a simple sugar and lemon sauce that when cools, gives this cake a wonderful crunchy sugar icing layer. This lemon drizzle cake uses up 2 whole lemons including the zest so nothing goes to waste. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader.

Lemon Drizzle Cake is a classic English lemon cake. This buttery sponge cake is often served at tea time and goes perfectly with a cup of tea or coffee (I love it with Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea). Some say that it came from a pound cake but the current day lemon drizzle cake is a lighter affair made with baking powder or self raising flour. Some lemon drizzle cakes have a lemon juice and powdered or icing sugar icing on top but I love lemon drizzle cake with a crunchy sugar icing. And this one is a beauty because it can all be done in a food processor or Thermomix so it takes less than 10 minutes prep time and around 5 minutes for the drizzle!

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Tips For Making This Lemon Drizzle Cake

This cake is really so easy so you don't really need any tips but just to be sure here are 6 tips to ensure success:

1 - The softened butter should be soft enough so that it is easy to pass a butter knife through it without adding too much pressure. Room temperature can be a bit misleading as during winter, butter is still very firm even at room temperature. I often microwave it on the lowest 10% defrost setting to get the right consistency.

2 - Lemons really vary in size and juiciness (I was using juicy home grown lemons) so I've specified the exact amount of lemon juice.

3 - Don't use caster or superfine sugar for the crunchy drizzle as it will be too fine and will absorb into the cake and you won't get that lovely crunchy sugar topping. You want to use "white table sugar" or "white sugar" which is the slightly coarser version of white sugar that you would say use in a cup of tea or coffee.

4 - Make sure to follow directions re timings about when you add the icing. You want to add it while the cake is still warm so that the juice gets absorbed into the cake but the sugar sits on top.

5- With the crunchy drizzle icing, make sure to strain the lemon juice before mixing it with the sugar. If you get bits of pulp they will show up through the icing. Mix the sugar and lemon juice together just before you use it.

6 - I baked this in a square cake tin but you can also bake it in a round 20cm/8inch cake tin.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I made several versions of this lemon drizzle cake until I arrived at the perfect one. The first one had a very coarse texture and I made the mistake of using caster sugar in the icing so that the whole frosting disappeared into the cake. I was devastated. But then I started to receive more lemons from friends and neighbours. Monica had given me some Meyer lemons before she left for overseas and then Valentina had given me a big bag of her home grown lemons (plus the beautiful bunch of flowers in the pictures) and then my neighbour Sally gave me some home grown lemons. I had an entire crisper full of lemons. I felt like this was fate and this unexpected bounty of lemons was a sign that I had to keep going until I got to the perfect lemon drizzle cake.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

My second lemon drizzle cake was based on this yuzu pound cake which was velvety and buttery but wasn't as light as I wanted it (pound cakes are dense and velvety in texture). Then one morning I woke up determined to get it right. I had wasted so much butter and eggs in this lemon drizzle endeavour that I was getting sick of wasting money and ingredients on this cake. And do you know how the saying goes that the third time's the charm? It was! This lemon drizzle cake was so light and fluffy and fine in texture. Nowhere like the coarse texture of that first cake. The hardest thing was waiting for it to cool before taking a bite into it. I was so happy that I passed a plate of this over the fence to neighbours on both sides and then dropped some at another's house. After all I had three lemon cakes that needed eating!

So tell me Dear Reader, who eats all of your cakes? Is it your family or friends or do you give away some of your baked goods? Have you ever tried lemon drizzle cake?

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 55 minutes

Makes 12 squares of cake

  • 330g/11.7ozs cake flour*
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 200ml/7ozs milk (full cream or skim)
  • 50ml/1.7flozs lemon juice
  • 220g/7.7ozs caster or superfine sugar
  • 190g/6.7ozs butter, softened
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 3 eggs, room temperature

For Drizzle

  • 180g/6ozs white (not caster or superfine) sugar
  • 60ml/2flozs lemon juice, strained (no pulp)
  • Lemon zest for sprinkling on top (optional)

Cake flour can be bought at the supermarket. You can also make it at home. To make 1 cup/150g/5.2ozs of cake flour replace 2 tablespoons of plain all purpose flour with cornflour/fine cornstarch and whisk well. I usually mix up a big batch of this and keep it in a container ready for baking cakes as it produces a softer texture.

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 150C/300F fan forced and line the base and sides of a 20cm/8inch square cake tin with parchment up the sides so that you can easily lift it out of the tin. In a jug whisk the cake flour and baking powder together. In another jug mix the lemon juice and milk and allow to curdle.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Step 2 Conventional -Place the sugar, butter, lemon zest and vanilla in a food processor and process for 2 minutes. Add eggs in one at a time and pulse after each addition and repeat until they're all added in and you have a smooth mixture. Add in half of the flour mixture and half of the milk mixture and pulse. Then add the remaining flour and milk and pulse until just combined. Scoop into the baking tin and smooth over the top and bake for 50-55 minutes until the centre springs back when touched.

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Some of the rind of the home grown lemons was green in parts, hence the green flecks

Step 2 Thermomix - Place the sugar, butter, lemon zest and vanilla in the Thermomix and set to 2 minutes/speed#5. Crack eggs into a bowl and set to 30 seconds, speed #5. Remove MC and drop in eggs one at a time until they're all added in. You can stop and scrape down the sides after the second egg just to ensure that they're well incorporated. Add in half of the flour mixture and half of the milk mixture and set to Turbo 2 seconds. Then add the remaining flour and milk and set to Turbo 2 seconds, twice. Scoop into the baking tin and smooth over and bake for 50-55 minutes until the centre springs back when touched.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Step 3 - Remove the cake from the oven and wait for 10 minutes while it cools off a little. Gently lift the cake out of the tin using the parchment and place on a cooling rack sitting on top of a plate or tray to catch any drips. Carefully remove the parchment. Mix the sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl (don't try and dissolve the sugar just mix briefly to combine) and spoon this sugar mixture immediately over the cake while it is still warm. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle Cake

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