Why you’ll love it
This classic lemon drizzle cake is perfectly zingy, moist and soft. It’s buttery and lemony and perfect for any get-together from morning tea to a birthday celebration. Lovely served on it’s own, with a drizzle of cream or even a scoop of ice cream for an indulgent dessert.
It all starts with a supremely moist lemon loaf cake. It’s incredibly simple to make – just mix the cake batter by hand in mixing bowls; no stand mixer, no creaming butter and sugar. For a very small effort, you’ll be rewarded with a tangy lemon cake that’s fluffy and tender all at once.
Next is the lemon glaze, that sets into a crunchy coating on top of the cake but also seeps down into it, keeping it moist and loaded with lemon flavour.
You’ll love this gluten-free flourless lemon cake too. It’s an absolute favourite on the blog.
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Ingredients for lemon drizzle cake
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- Sugar: I use caster sugar (superfine sugar) in all my baking but you can just use white granulated sugar in the cake itself. I find caster sugar is better for the crunchy coating. Feel free to use golden caster sugar too. You must use caster or granulated sugar here, there should not be icing sugar (powdered sugar) in any part of this cake.
- Lemon: A good lemon drizzle cake must have lemon and my recipe calls for both the lemon zest (bold lemon flavor) and lemon juice (flavour, tang and to help keep it moist). Make sure to use fresh lemon juice – it’s worlds above the bottled variety in flavour.
- Flour: You just need plain flour (aka all purpose flour). You can use self-raising flour but leave out the baking powder. You could try a gluten-free flour blend, though this recipe has not been tested with it.
- Baking powder: Baking powder leavens or lifts the cake.
- Butter: I stick to unsalted butter for this recipe, but you can use salted butter, just leave out the extra salt.
- Eggs: I use free range eggs.
- Milk: Use whole milk for the best texture and flavour, though other varities of milk or plant-based mylk will work too.
- Oil: Oil is added to this cake batter for it’s wonderful ability to keep cakes moist. You can swap it for more butter if you prefer.
- Vanilla extract: While optional, vanilla extract adds lovely flavour.
How to make lemon drizzle cake
You’re going to love how easy this lemon drizzle cake recipe is to make.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- Grab a large bowl and massage together the lemon zest and sugar (photo 1). This releases the oils and aromas from the lemon zest and intensifies the lemon flavour.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, salt – and give it a good mix (photo 2).
- For the wet ingredients, just combine them in a medium bowl, whisking well to make sure the eggs are totally beaten.
- Now just combine the two by pouring the wet ingredients into the sugar and flour mixture (photo 3). Stir it with a spatula until smooth, being careful not to overmix.
- Pour the cake batter into a loaf pan (photo 4) and bake!
A microplane is excellent and frankly, the best way to zest your lemons. It gives you nice fine lemon zest rather than big chunky bits that can be bitter.
- For the lemon drizzle, just combine sugar and lemon juice in a jug, mix it well (photo 5).
- Once the cake is baked, poke it all over the top with a skewer (leaving the cake in the pan), then drizzle over that lemon glaze (photo 6). Let it sit for 10 minutes, then take it out of the pan to cool on a wire cooling rack.
Tips and tricks
- For best results, weigh your ingredients: As cup measures vary and the way people add ingredients to their cup measure vary, the best way to get perfect results is to weigh ingredients where a weight is provided. This is especially important for things like flour. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, spoon the flour into your cup measure, then level off with the back of a knife without packing it down.
- Loaf cakes can overbake easily due to their shape and all ovens vary so keep a close eye on it in the last 10 minutes of baking and remove it from the oven when a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs attached.
- Don’t overmix the batter: Mixing too much or for too long can result in a dry or tough cake texture. If you’re finding there are lumps you can’t get out, give it a gentle whisk until smooth.
- Don’t slice the cake until you’re ready to serve, or unless you’re freezing the slices otherwise the slices may dry out.
Lemon drizzle cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-4 days.
It also freezes well for up to 2 months. Cut it into slices first then either wrap them really well in cling film/plastic wrap or store them again in an airtight container with a small piece of baking paper or parchment paper between each.
Lemon drizzle is just lemon juice and caster sugar or granulated sugar.
This could be due to being a bit heavy-handed when turning the cake in the oven, or opening the oven door too much which causes the oven to cool down.
You may not have cooked it long enough. Make sure to insert a toothpick right into the middle when checking to see if it’s done.
Did you try this recipe for lemon drizzel cake?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
- 1 cup caster sugar or white granulated sugar (200g/7oz)
- zest from 2 medium lemons, finely grated
- 260 g plain flour (all purp flour) (2 cups / 9.1oz)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 113 g unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly (½ cup / 4oz)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾ cup whole milk, room temperature (250ml)
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE DRIZZLE
- ½ cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Make sure to melt your butter (in a medium mixing bowl) in the microwave first until just melted and set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) / 350F. Grease then line an 8×4 inch loaf pan or similar with baking paper.
- Combine the melted butter, eggs, milk, lemon juice, oil and vanilla and whisk well.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to gently combine just until there are no lumps left. If it looks too lumpy, just give it a light whisk, be careful not to overmix though.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for around 45-55 minutes (notes) or until a toothpick comes out with a sticky crumb or two attached. Watch it carefully towards the end as loaf cakes can have a tendency to over-bake quickly.
- WHILE THE CAKE BAKES, MAKE THE DRIZZLE:In a small bowl, combine the ½ cup caster sugar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes all over the top with a thin skewer. Drizzle over the lemon drizzle mixture evenly. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the loaf pan, then use the baking paper at the sides to lift it out and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
- All ovens vary – always test for doneness 5-7 minutes before the recipe suggests.
- Baking time will also depend on what you bake it in. Glass or ceramic will take longer. My own 8×4 loaf tin it takes 52 minutes, while my 8.5×4.5 (only slightly bigger) takes 47 minutes. Check it earlier.
- Loaf cakes retain a lot of heat due to the shape of the tin so don’t let it overbake. It will carry-on bake after you remove it from the oven.
- Cooling the cake: Loaf cakes can take a couple of hours to cool. To speed it up, let it cool at room temperature for half an hour, then transfer to the fridge.
- This cake is best eaten at room temperature and can be stored in a cool place like the pantry. You can store in the fridge but make sure to take it out in time to come to room temperature before serving.
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