Preheat oven to 170°C.
- Mix together flour, almond flour and salt, set aside.
- Beat butter, sugar and lemon zest on high-speed for about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs one by one, mixing well before adding the next.
- Add gradually the dry ingredients and milk to the batter while stirring.
- Fold in poppy seeds and combine well.
- Grease a large 24 cm long cake tin (2 liter) and pour the cake batter into it.
- Bake for approx. 1 hour and 15 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave the cake to rest 10 minutes before pouring over the hot lemon syrup.
- Meanwhile bring sugar and lemon juice to a boil. Boil for approx. 1 minute, then turn off heat.
- Pour evenly over the cake while still in the tin.
- Let the cake cool completely before icing it.
- Stir together icing sugar and lemon juice until completely combined and smooth in consistency.
- Remove cake from tin and spread lemon icing on top with a small palette knife.
- Sprinkle with puppy seeds and leave to dry before cutting the cake.
This citrus flavoured treat is a classic British bake especially used for teatime. Enjoy a nice cuppa and a slice of this delicious lemon drizzle loaf with zesty lemon and deliciously sticky icing. It is moist, buttery, and speaks of a hot summer's day with lemonade and sunscreen and you can easily make it at home to get a taste of summer, lemon, and sweet sugar.
This recipe shows you how to make a lemon drizzle sauce and icing that will melt in your mouth with its smooth texture – with a twist because of the lemon juice and zest. Use it as a birthday cake, bake it when it is rainy and windy or enjoy it with a group of friends and a pot of hot tea.
What is a lemon drizzle cake?
A lemon drizzle cake is a spongy, buttery, and lemony cake with a lemon drizzle icing and syrup. Despite the similar looks, a lemon drizzle cake is not the same as a sponge cake. A sponge cake contains no or very little butter, and it is lighter and not always leavened with baking powder or baking soda.
Our lemon drizzle cake recipe contains a lot of butter. First of all, butter adds flavour to the cake. It is also fat, and fat makes a cake rise and make it fluffier and softer. We recommend Lurpak® unsalted butter as it is perfect for bakes like this lemon cake with drizzle so you can control the amount of salt going into your cake.
And what is its history?
It is not easy pinpointing when the zesty lemon drizzle cake first made its appearance. Despite that, it is abundantly clear that it is 100 % British. The common understanding is that it goes back a few hundred years and it was recently voted the favourite cake flavour in England. And we can understand why. Who can resist the sweet and sour mix of smooth and soft cake with lemon?
Our best advice on how to make lemon drizzle cake
You will want your lemon cake with drizzle to get moist and buttery. If not, it loses its lemon drizzle magic. Our best advice is to poke holes in your loaf or cake, for example with a skewer. Poke the holes right after baking and pour the lemon drizzle syrup over the cake while it is still in the tin. The holes will evenly distribute the lemon drizzle, and you can choose to either make the holes only in the top of the cake or all the way through. That way, you have complete control of how your lemon drizzle is spread in your cake.
A lemon drizzle cake recipe like ours has both lemon syrup and lemon drizzle icing. You drizzle the syrup over the cake in the tin, so it is completely absorbed before icing it. It is the perfect combination of a lemony icing and the syrup that brings moisture and even more flavour into the cake.
To keep it moist and evenly baked, place the cake on the middle shelf in your oven. The cake does not get as much heat here, which will prevent the crust to form too early in the process while the cake is still rising. On the middle shelf, your cake will rise and form a crust at the same time. You should also avoid opening the oven door as this can cause your cake to sink because of the sudden changes in temperature.
Remember room temperature ingredients
A common mistake when baking this lemon drizzle cake is to use cold ingredients. For a spongy, moist, and light cake you need a lot of air in your batter. Room temperature ingredients such as butter, eggs, and milk traps air by forming an emulsion. The trapped air expands in the oven and makes your lemon drizzle cake deliciously fluffy and moist.
Just remember to take out the ingredients from the fridge before starting so they have enough time to reach room temperature. Note that the butter should not melt but only soften.
What should a lemon drizzle cake look like?
Normally, a lemon cake with drizzle and icing will have the shape of a loaf, so you can cut even slices and get an even distribution of lemon drizzle inside it. But you can also make a squared or round lemon drizzle cake. It is only your imagination that controls how your zingy lemon drizzle cake will turn out.
Lemon drizzle topping typically consists of syrup and icing, but you can also decorate your cake with candied lemon slices, lemon zest or even crunchy pecans.
How long can you keep a lemon drizzle cake?
Your lemon drizzle cake will keep for up to three days, but if you store it in the fridge, it might even keep for up to a week – if you can resist the temptation for that long. You can also freeze it for up to one or two months.
Can I change the ingredients?
Yes, most of the ingredients can be substituted for other types, and you can add more and less of some of the ingredients as well. Notice that we included almond flour in the recipe. It is a bit different than all-purpose flour, but you can easily substitute it if you do not have almond flour at home. But remember that you might need more egg or raising agent as almond flour and all-purpose flour are not completely the same.
Eggs are great for adding moisture and bringing ingredients together, so you can choose to add an extra yolk or two if you feel like it.
You can also use more lemon juice and zest if you want a lemonier taste and some bitterness from the zest. If you like only a touch of lemon, you can use less than what it says in the recipe.
Why did my lemon drizzle cake not rise?
After looking forward to a perfect, curvy, and scrumptious lemon drizzle cake, you check the oven and see that it did not rise. And did it also sink in the middle? First: do not worry. Even if your cake did not rise or it sank in the middle, it will still be delicious. But why did this happen? Maybe the oven was too hot, so the cake rose too fast. When it does that, it is not able to support its own weight, so it collapses. It is also possible that the batter was over-beaten which puts too much air into the cake. This has the same effect: it rises too fast and collapses.
Is this lemon drizzle gluten free?
No. Because it contains plain flour, our lemon drizzle recipe is not gluten free. If you substitute the plain flour with more almond flour, you can make it gluten free. But you should be aware that the two flours are not completely the same, so maybe you need to change the recipe a bit to obtain the correct texture.
Experiment with the flavours in your drizzle cake
Granted, a lemon drizzle cake is unique and delicious because of the lemony flavour. But if you just love the texture, syrup, and icing, you can experiment with the flavours to make more cakes just like it.
Try substituting the lemon juice and zest with orange. It will be a sweeter cake, but you will still get that special drizzle cake feeling. Only with a sweeter and fruitier orange flavour.
You can also add more sugar to your lemon drizzle cake if the lemons are a bit too zingy. You can also use less syrup but let us be honest: the syrup and icing are some of the best parts of this lemon drizzle cake.
Go crazy with a lemon drizzle with lemon curd
Did you fall completely in love with our lemon drizzle cake recipe? Then try experimenting a bit with it so you can get even more of the tasty lemony cake. Try making lemon drizzle muffins and fill them with lemon curd. Lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd takes the lemon taste to a whole other level while still giving you the satisfaction of a lemon drizzle cake.
Use the same batter but use muffin liners. Only fill them halfway, add a teaspoon of lemon curd and top it off with more batter. Bake for about 10-15 minutes. Check the oven often to make sure not to over-bake them. Drizzle the lemon juice and add the icing. Enjoy your lemon drizzle muffins with a lemony secret that explodes in your mouth when you bite into it.