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Easy Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

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This easy Lemon Drizzle Cake is a beautiful recipe, perfect for days when you’re craving a decadently tender dessert with abundant lemon flavoring. Or when you’re looking for a traditional tea cake you know everyone will love.

Top view of sliced Lemon Drizzle Cake with lemon slices

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Simple enough for everyday baking or deliciously special for tea. The traditional drizzle, applied after baking, creates a wonderful crisp crust on all its own. Or, you can be slightly decadent and top that with an easy lemon glaze.

Are Lemon Drizzle Cakes Popular?

The Telegraph recently answered the question of, “How Lemon Drizzle Became Britain’s Favorite Teatime Treat.”

And in their article, they referred to a survey of tea lovers and their preferences…

“So, 40 percent of Brits claim that lemon drizzle cake is their preferred choice of tea-time treat, beating both Victoria sponge and Chelsea buns as well as classics such as chocolate and carrot cake to claim the top spot in a recent survey. But when did the love affair with lemon drizzle start, and what else have we forgotten in our rush to grab the last slice?”

Closeup view of slices of Lemon Drizzle Cake

Where Does Lemon Drizzle Cake Originate From?

Lemon drizzle cake is a traditional British cake and a staple of afternoon tea. Although there is little known about its origins, it is believed the first recipe was introduced by Evelyn Rose in the July 1967 edition of the Jewish Chronicle.

However, Annie Gray for The Telegraph writes:

“The sponge cake, the first recipe for which appeared in English in 1615, rapidly took off, going off in one direction to become a savoy cake (a fatless sponge, ideal for trifles), and in another to be termed a pound cake (the recipes requires one pound – roughly 500g – each of the four main ingredients, flour, butter, eggs, and sugar). It’s from the latter that the lemon drizzle derives.”

Unsliced glazed Lemon Drizzle Cake for tea

What Then is a Lemon Drizzle Cake?

Essentially, Lemon Drizzle is a sponge cake with citrus. In this case, lemon.

It’s a simple-to-make cake with easy ingredients and preparation. This recipe calls for baking the cake in an 8-inch x 4-inch loaf pan which is baked for about 40 minutes.

While the cake cools, holes are poked at intervals on the surface of the cake. A lemon drizzle is poured over the loaf and seeps into the crumb, creating a dazzling, delicious, and decadent teacake.  

Stacked slices of iced Lemon Drizzle Cake on a scalloped cake stand

Lemon Drizzle for Afternoon Tea

As noted, a Lemon Drizzle Cake is perfect for teatime. Especially, I think, in the spring. If you love tea time as much as I do, you might love to take a look at Spring Afternoon Tea: Easy Recipes and Ideas.

You may also love the always popular Easy Make Ahead Tea Sandwiches Recipes as well as a great overview on How to Serve an Easy Afternoon Tea.

Lemon Drizzle Cake ingredients on a round wood board

Lemon Drizzle Cake Ingredients

Here are the simple ingredients needed to make a Lemon Drizzle Cake. The exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Unsalted butter, softened
  • Granulated sugar
  • Large eggs
  • Fresh lemon
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt

For the Drizzle

  • Lemon juice
  • Granulated sugar

For the Glaze

  • Powdered sugar
  • Lemon juice

How to Make a Lemon Drizzle Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8″ x 4″ loaf pan; set aside.

Step 1: Cream the Butter

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined and stir in the lemon zest.

Step 2: Sift the Dry Ingredients

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the butter mixture. Then spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Step 3: Bake the Cake

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a thin cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step 4: Drizzle and Let Cool

Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan while making the drizzle.

To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice and sugar until combined.

Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork. Pour the drizzle over the top of the cake, this will allow the juice to seep into the cake making it moist and delicious. The top will form a beautiful crisp topping.

Optional Lemon Glaze

This additional lemon glaze is not traditional, it’s not really needed… but it is so pretty… and incredibly deliciously decadent.

And while you’re already having an over-the-top delicious cake… sometimes more is even better.

The glaze is a simple powdered sugar glaze moistened with lemon juice to desired consistency. And if you want to thinly slice a lemon, it’s pretty on top too.

Here’s to spring, teatime, and lemon!

Top view of sliced Lemon Drizzle Cake

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Top view of sliced Lemon Drizzle Cake with lemon slices

Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

Yield: 10 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This easy Lemon Drizzle Cake is a beautiful recipe, perfect for days when you're craving a decadently tender dessert with abundant lemon flavoring. Or when you're looking for a traditional tea cake you know everyone will love.

Ingredients

Lemon Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Drizzle Topping

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 ½ lemons)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease an 8" x 4" loaf pan; set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined and stir in the lemon zest.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt and fold into the butter mixture. Then spoon the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a thin cake tester (or toothpick) inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan while making the drizzle.
  6. To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice and sugar until combined.
  7. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork. Pour the drizzle over the top of the cake, this will allow the juice to seep into the cake making it moist and delicious. The top will form a beautiful crisp topping.
  8. Keep the cake in the pan until completely cool, then remove, slice, and serve.

Notes

Lemon Glaze

This is a decadently delicious cake. And honestly, it doesn't need an additional Lemon Glaze. But, I think it's pretty, and of course, makes the Lemon Drizzle Cake even more delicious. Simply combine 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or the amount needed to achieve desired consistency. Pour over the cool cake and let harden for a few minutes before slicing. Top the cake with thin slices of fresh lemon.

Storing the Lemon Drizzle Cake

The cake will keep in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days at room temperature. It can also be frozen in an airtight container for up to 1 month.

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