I’ve been making lemon drizzle cake for years but have recently stepped up my baking in an attempt to really nail the recipe. It was hard work eating all those cakes.
The recipe I use is loosely based on the BBC Good Food’s Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe, which is really good but a bit vague in places and, according to the comments, downright wrong when it comes to the size of the loaf tin. I’ve come up with the following tips, which I hope are helpful:
- Before you do anything, weigh your eggs (without their shells). The weight of the eggs determines the weight of the other ingredients. My large eggs weighed 240g so I used 240g each of butter, sugar and flour.
- Lemons really vary in size. I’ve found that 1 large (juicy) lemon or 2 small lemons are enough for the cake and drizzle but you may prefer more zing. Taste the batter before it goes into the oven to check that it’s lemony enough for you and add more zest if it isn’t.
- I use a 900g/2lb loaf tin (measuring 21cm x 11cm at the base and 23cm x 13cm at the top), which needs large eggs (around 240g total) to produce a nicely shaped loaf. Medium eggs (around 200g) are fine too but the loaf ends up flat around the edges of the cake (see second photo).
- I tested butter (second photo) vs Stork with Butter (first photo). The butter cake was richer and the Stork with Butter cake was lighter - both tasted great. As a bonus, Stork with Butter doesn’t need to come up to room temperature before you use it. If, like me, you don’t like the taste of margarine, I wouldn’t recommend using Stork Original.
- My cake always cracks in the middle. Someone suggested reducing the temperature of the oven to prevent cracking but the cake already takes ages to bake and I really don’t mind - it’s home cooking after all.
- If you want a glazed top it’s best to use icing sugar rather than sugar and add the drizzle in two stages. The first drizzle is thinner and soaks into the cake - the second drizzle (made from adding more icing sugar to the first) sits on top of the cake.
In my non-fan-assisted oven, a cake with medium eggs took 50 minutes to bake and one with large eggs took 1 hour. You’ll want to check the cake after 40 minutes to make sure that the top doesn't burn.
Lemon drizzle cake (see intro for quantities)
- 240g room temperature butter (or Stork with Butter. Include extra to grease the tin)
- 240g caster sugar
- 4 large, room temperature eggs (around 240g)
- 240g self-raising flour
- zest from 1 large unwaxed lemon
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 50ml fresh lemon juice
- 50g + 2 tbsp icing sugar
- Cake: Weigh 4 large eggs (shells removed) then weigh the same amount of butter, sugar and flour (roughly 240g each).
- Generously butter and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin (measuring 21cm x 11cm at the base) and preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C fan).
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until combined (I use an electric handheld mixer but a balloon whisk will work).
- Add 1 egg at a time to the butter and sugar mixture, continually whisking. Don’t be alarmed if the mixture looks like it’s curdled.
- Sift a quarter of the flour into the mixture and whisk. Repeat until all the flour has been used up then add the zest of 1 large lemon and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Give the batter a final whisk and taste to check that it’s lemony enough.
- Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin, level the top and transfer to the oven to bake. Set a timer for 40 minutes.
- Lemon drizzle: While the cake is baking, combine 50ml of fresh lemon juice with 50g of sifted icing sugar to make the drizzle. Set to one side.
- Cake: When the 40 minute timer sounds, check the cake. If the top has already browned, cover the tin loosely with tin foil. Set your timer for 10 minutes and when it sounds, test the middle of the cake with a skewer. It should come out clean but if it doesn’t, bake for another 5-10 minutes, until fully cooked.
- Lemon drizzle: Once the cake is ready, leave it in the tin and while still warm, poke the cake all over with a skewer, piercing all the way to the bottom. Immediately pour over ⅔ of the lemon drizzle and leave the cake to cool.
- Sift 2 tablespoons of icing sugar into the remaining lemon drizzle and stir well. Once fully cooled, gently remove the cake from its tin and pour over the remaining drizzle. Allow to set for 10 minutes or so. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days or cut into slices and freeze for up to 3 months.