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Traditional English Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

Cooking is one of Eileen's passions, and she hopes that you'll try out her recipes and enjoy them.

This is lemon perfection at its best, and it's so easy to bake, too!

This is lemon perfection at its best, and it's so easy to bake, too!

Hello from England! Whenever we are blessed with great weather, I need something to serve that is light and tasty for teatime in the garden with friends and family. My mind instantly goes to an old family favourite, Lemon Drizzle Cake.

This is an incredibly easy recipe. I don't think recipes have to be difficult to be dazzling, and this cake is simplicity itself. The golden rules is that as long as you remember to use good quality ingredients, your cake will taste all the better for it. This is also the ultimate in quality fast food, as the preparation time is only 5-10 minutes. This means that if a friend calls to say they're popping over then this cake can be in the oven before they're even in their car. Cooking will only take 35-40 minutes in the oven, so with very little effort you'll have an amazing result and a very happy friend.

You will need a 2-pound loaf tin for this amount of cake batter—but the ingredients are easily halved if you want to make a smaller batch. If you'd like to make individual treats, you can always bake the mixture in cupcake form. I use large muffin cases, and since it rises it gives you a flat top when it's baked, which is ideal for icing.

This is the perfect cake for a traditional English teatime treat, or for when guests pop round. Treat yourself and your guests to this moist, lemony masterpiece.

The finished cake! It'll be hard to keep from eating it all yourself.

The finished cake! It'll be hard to keep from eating it all yourself.


  • 4 oz soft butter
  • 6 oz self-raising flour
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large, fat, juicy, unwaxed organic lemon
  • Plus an additional 4 oz caster sugar


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or 160 degrees if it's on the fan setting or Gas Mark 4)
  2. Line your loaf tin with a cake liner. If you don't have any, grease the loaf tin and cut a strip of baking parchment which will run along the bottom and up both sides. It should look something like this: \___/. This will help you remove the cake easily.
  3. Put the butter, flour 6 ounces of caster sugar, eggs, baking powder, and milk into a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth consistency.
  4. Add the zest of half your lemon and pulse a couple of times just to make sure that it mixes into the cake batter, but not enough to chop it all up—you want to be able to see those lovely little bits of lemon zest!
  5. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin—this is the point where the wonderful smell first catches your attention and it's really hard not to eat the uncooked batter.
  6. Bake in the centre of your oven for 35-40 minutes. Remove when a toothpick will come out of the cake cleanly.
  7. Place the tin on a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.
  8. While this is cooling, zest the rest of your lemon and place in a bowl. Roll the lemon backwards and forwards on the table with the flat of your hand and then juice. Add the juice from your lemon to the zest and add 4 ounces of caster sugar—Stir gently and it will form a lemon water icing.
  9. Using a skewer, make holes in the top of your cake and start to pour the icing over the cake. The icing will eventually settle on top of the cake but it will also seep into the cake making it deliriously moist and lemony. I also pull the cake slightly away from the sides with a butter knife and pour some icing in there as well.
  10. Leave the cake to cool for an hour—this gives time for the sponge to soak up all the icing and for the icing on the top to harden.

Freeze for Later Use

Did you know that you can freeze cake? I slice all my cakes, wrap them in clingfilm and pop them in a large freezer bag. When I'm making packed lunches I just put a slice into the lunchbox straight from the freezer. By the time it's lunchtime, it's perfectly defrosted and tastes just as fresh as when you made it. Unfortunately, this tip takes away your excuse to eat up the entire cake now before it goes hard—sorry.

Delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake

I just love cutting through that crisp lemon topping, and that first bite and lemony hit is unbelievably good. I always opt for the end pieces—more crunch for your bite.

I hope you'll all give this recipe a try. It is so easy, and I'd love to hear what you all think of my recipe.

Use parchment paper to make taking the cake out easier after baking.

Use parchment paper to make taking the cake out easier after baking.

For the icing, mix the lemon zest with caster sugar and lemon juice.

For the icing, mix the lemon zest with caster sugar and lemon juice.

Questions & Answers

Question: Can I freeze an English lemon cake?

Answer: Yes you can, mind you though it has never last that long in our house


Antoinetta Silicato on October 12, 2019:

Can the milk and baking powder be eliminated from the ingredients? I never had luck with this cake, as it always collapsed.

Eileen Goodall (author) from Buckinghamshire, England on October 18, 2018:

@Nick Rowe - I am so glad you no longer have a soggy bottom - and that it has been a success

Sandra on October 18, 2018:

The best and easiest Drizzle Cake I have ever made........

Nick Rowe on September 23, 2017:

Update... soggy bottom solved, too much baking powder. Your cake went down a storm at a family gathering in Canada this summer. #internationalacclaim

Eileen Goodall (author) from Buckinghamshire, England on May 01, 2016:

Hi Nick, glad you like the cake, I can't understand why it would collapse, normally that's a sign of too much baking powder. I have always used a teaspoon of baking powder, which is a flat not heaped teaspoon, and it's been fine, you could try halfing that and see if that solves the problem. Let me know if that helps - good luck!

Nick Rowe on April 27, 2016:

It's a fab cake, lovely recipe. But after five or six successes, I now find the middle of my cake keeps collapsing. Please advice... Confused of Dorset.

Eileen Goodall (author) from Buckinghamshire, England on November 01, 2011:

Lemon Drizzle Cake in the oven now, took under 5 minutes - and the smell in the house is heavenly!

Eileen Goodall (author) from Buckinghamshire, England on September 03, 2011:

Thank you so much Peg x

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on August 24, 2011:

This looks absolutely yummy. I like the way you've described things. I can really hear your accent. Lovely!

"the perfect cake for a traditional English teatime treat or for when guests pop round"

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