There's nothing quite like a slice of homemade baked lemon drizzle cake. The moist, fluffy loaf cake is perfectly complemented by the tart, sweet lemon drizzle. This classic British dessert is perfect for any occasion, from a casual afternoon tea to a formal dinner party.
Whether you're a baking novice or a seasoned pro, this easy-to-follow recipe is your ticket to success. You'll have a luscious, tangy lemon loaf in just one hour that will have you going back for seconds. Try this blueberry lemon version, or maybe this orange drizzle cake is more your style. I'll share my recipe for the best lemon drizzle cake you'll ever taste. I'll also provide tips and tricks to help you make the perfect cake every time. So gather your ingredients and let's get baking!
*This recipe is based on Mary Berry's iconic lemon drizzle tray bake.
⭐️ Why you need to make this recipe
- Easy to Make: This easy lemon loaf requires basic ingredients that you already have and the steps are straightforward. It's perfect for beginner bakers or anyone looking for fuss-free baking.
- Moist and Tender Texture: The combination of moist cake and the drizzle syrup soaking into the crumb creates a soft and melt-in-your-mouth cake.
- Tangy and Refreshing: The zesty notes of lemon add a gorgeous tanginess that cuts through the sweetness, creating a perfect balance of flavours.
- Versatility: It can be comforting as a simple afternoon treat, served as a dessert, or dressed up for special occasions with extra berries and whipped cream. *See the variations section below for more ways to customize.
- Time-Efficient: This classic British dessert is perfect for making ahead. It stays moist due to the drizzle syrup and lemon glaze. The flavours also develop and get even better the next day. And with a baking time of around one hour, lemon drizzle cake offers a quick homemade dessert.
- large eggs- make sure they are at room temperature
- butter- use very soft butter (salted or unsalted both work well)
- self-raising flour or plain (all-purpose) flour with baking powder- because this recipe is made like a traditional pound cake there is no need to use cake flour.
- lemons- fresh unwaxed lemons are best. If you can't get unwaxed, just be sure to wash your lemons well.
- milk- use any kind of milk or use sour cream to make this loaf cake extra moist.
- sugar- caster sugar or granulated sugar is perfect in this recipe. You can also use golden caster sugar but stay away from brown sugar as you won't get the desired results.
- icing sugar (confectioners sugar)- to make the lemon glaze
*Using granulated sugar for the syrup gives the loaf a crunchy lemon drizzle.
See recipe card below for specific quantities.
👩🏻🍳 Mastering lemon drizzle cake: step-by-step directions
Start by preheating the oven, lining your loaf tin with baking paper, and ensuring all your ingredients are at room-temperature.
Start with very soft butter. Cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy and have turned pale in colour.
Add the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar. Whisk gently to combine. Stir in the milk along with the eggs.
💡Expert Tip: Use fresh lemons. The lemon flavour is the star of the show in this simple loaf, so skip the bottled lemon juice and go with fresh squeezed lemon juice.
When the eggs have been mixed into the butter, mix in the flour and lemon zest.
Fold the cake batter until just combined. The batter will be light and fluffy.
💡Expert tip: Don't overmix the batter. Over-mixing the batter will develop the gluten making the cake tough. Mix the batter just until the ingredients are combined.
Spoon the cake batter into the lined baking tin and bake in the preheated oven.
While the cake is baking make the lemon drizzle topping. Once the cake is baked, use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes in the cake and gently pour the syrup over while the cake is still warm.
*Leave the cake to soak in the syrup and cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack or serving platter.
To make the lemon glaze
- Mix the icing sugar with lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved completely.
- Slowly drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake allowing the icing to start to drizzle off the edges and down the sides of the loaf.
- If the glaze is too thin add in some more icing sugar. If it's too thick add in some more lemon juice.
💡Expert tip: Drizzle the glaze while the cake is still warm. The glaze will soak into the cake while it's still warm, making it moist and tender.
- Blueberry Lemon Drizzle Cake: Add fresh or frozen blueberries to the cake batter before baking. The burst of sweet blueberries complements the tangy lemon flavor perfectly.
- Coconut Lemon Drizzle Cake: Add shredded coconut to the cake batter for a tropical twist. You can also sprinkle toasted coconut on top of the cake before drizzling it with the lemon syrup.
- Ginger and lemon drizzle cake: This variation adds ground ginger to the batter, which gives the cake a warm and spicy flavor. The glaze is made with lemon juice and ginger syrup, then topped with some pieces of candied ginger.
- Almond Lemon Drizzle Cake: Add almond extract or fold in ground almonds into the cake batter. The combination of lemon and almond creates a delightful flavor pairing.
- Raspberry Lemon Drizzle Cake: Incorporate fresh raspberries into the cake batter or layer them on top of the cake before baking. The tartness of raspberries complements the citrusy lemon flavor.
Top tips: Making the cake batter: for light and fluffy cake batter measure your flour correctly. Too much flour will make the cake dry. Mix the batter until just combined. Over-mixing will make the cake tough.
Top tips: Baking the perfect lemon drizzle cake (or any cake): Do not open the oven door until the cake is almost done.
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This can vary widely depending on your oven. For this loaf cake, start checking for doneness after 35 minutes, but it may take up to 45 minutes for your cake to be fully baked.
Lemon loaf cake can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To store the cake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Lemon cake can also be frozen for up to 2 months.
- To freeze the cake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer-safe bag or container.
When you are ready to eat the cake, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator. For the perfect dessert serve at room temperature with berries and whipped cream as a dessert, or plain with some tea for a snack.
Cakes most often sink in the middle because of the way they are baked.
Underbaking a cake will result in a gooey center that will sink upon cooling.
Over-baking the cake will result in the cake rising too much and then collapsing.
Start to check your cake about 5 minutes before the specified baking time to ensure a perfectly moist and tender crumb.
The lemon drizzle glaze should be thin enough to drizzle easily, but thick enough to stay on the cake. To get the perfect consistency for the glaze, start by adding ¼ cup (75ml) of lemon juice to ½ cup (50g) of icing sugar. Stir the glaze mix until the sugar dissolves. If the glaze is too thin, add more sugar. If the glaze is too thick, add more lemon juice.
Absolutely! You can make this lemon drizzle cake gluten-free or dairy-free. To make a gluten-free lemon drizzle cake, use gluten-free flour in place of plain flour. To make a dairy-free lemon drizzle cake, use dairy-free butter and dairy-free milk in place of regular butter and milk.
More easy cake recipes
If you tried this Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a star rating whilst you're there!
Need help with meal planning? You can find our (Aldi ingredients only) weekly meal plans here! Sign up to receive them free every week or take our quick meal planning course and use all these recipes to create your own meal plans.
The Best Easy Homemade Lemon Drizzle Cake
- 225 g (1 cups) butter, very soft
- 225 g (1 cups) caster sugar
- 4 (4) large eggs
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 225 g (1 5/7 cups) self-raising flour
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) lemon zest
For the lemon syrup
- 1 ½ (1 ½) lemons
- 85 g (⅖ cups) caster sugar
For the drizzle
- juice from ½ lemon
- 100 g (⅘ cups) icing sugar sifted
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan (180ºC conventional) and line a 2lb loaf tin with baking paper.
- In a large bowl use an electric whisk to beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the caster sugar and whisk again until pale in colour.
- Add in the eggs one at a time, whisking after each one. Stir in the milk and sift in the flour and add the lemon zest. See notes* Scoop the batter into the lined tin and bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes, until the cake is golden and springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the cake from the oven and make the lemon syrup. Whisk the lemon juice and the sugar in a small bowl and pour over the warm cake to soak in. Leave in the tin to finish cooling completely.
- Once the cake is cooled completely remove from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Make the lemon glaze by whisking the icing sugar and the lemon juice. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with some lemon zest.
- Once the butter and sugar are light and fluffy, add in the eggs and mix with the electric whisk again. At this point, the mix will more than likely look split. Don't worry. This is perfectly normal and adding in the flour, will bring it all back together.
- You can use sour cream instead of milk to give the cake a fresh flavour and more moisture.
- Start to check the cooking time of the cake after 35 minutes. But in some ovens, the cake may take up to 45 minutes. A toothpick should come out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.