Lemon Drizzle Cake – a traditional teatime treat

I have wonderful memories of teatime over the years and many of them involve Lemon Drizzle Cake.

Lemon Drizzle Cake - a delicious teatime treat

Lemon Drizzle Cake has a sharp, lemony flavour that is the perfect foil to the comforting warmth of a hot, milky cup of tea.

Lemon Drizzle Cake
I first blogged this recipe back in 2014, but just had to bring it back because it’s so good! Plus, I discovered a new-to-me kind of lemon recently – Bergamot lemons – and couldn’t resist trying them in this classic cake. Bergamot lemons are a slightly darker colour than ordinary lemons, almost orange-y. Their flavour is sweeter than an ordinary lemons as well, and they smell of bergamot, the sweet smelling citrus fruit that is used to flavour Earl Grey tea. Bergamots themselves are bitter, but Bergamot lemons are exactly the opposite. In fact, they are often referred to simply as ‘sweet lemons’. Have you ever heard of Bergamot or sweet lemons?

Bergamot Lemon Drizzle Cake is awesome – I can’t think of any other words to describe it. I’ve never had a Lemon Drizzle Cake I’ve enjoyed so much. But don’t despair if you only have ordinary lemons – they make a seriously delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake too.

What is Lemon Drizzle Cake?

Lemon Drizzle Cake is a delicious traditional British loaf cake. It’s often served at teatime or for a snack at any time of day. The loaf cake is tender sponge, flavoured with vanilla extract and lemon rind. After baking, the warm loaf is studded with tiny holes and hot lemon sugar syrup is poured over top. This makes the cake deliciously tangy and moist.

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Hints and tips for delicious Lemon Drizzle Cake

If you don’t have self-rising flour, simply substitute the same amount of plain (all-purpose) flour, mixing in 2 teaspoons of baking powder along and an extra ¼ teaspoon of salt. Then add the flour mixture to the batter as detailed in the recipe below.

The better the ingredients you use, the better the cake will taste. I always use fresh, unsalted butter, free range or pasture raised eggs and fresh, juicy un-waxed lemons. If you can find Bergamot lemons, you should definitely use them!

Simply stirred together on the stove top, the syrup is quick and easy to make as well. The key with the syrup is to be sure that you poke holes in the warm cake – I use a skewer – and pour the syrup slowly over top, allowing it to absorb before continuing.

Lemon Drizzle Cake - a delicious teatime treat

It may seem like a lot of liquid, but be sure to use all the syrup. It is what gives the cake its characteristic moist texture and fabulous flavour.

Be sure to allow the cake to cool completely after pouring the syrup over top, before attempting to remove it from the loaf pan. If you don’t, it will fall to pieces. When the cake is totally cool, gently ease the sides away from the sides of the pan and carefully remove it. Then simply slice, serve and enjoy!

Printable Recipe

Lemon Drizzle Cake
Serves: 1 loaf cake, approximately 10 slices
  • 125 grams unsalted butter
  • 175 grams golden granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 175 grams self-raising flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • For the syrup:
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Limoncello
  • 100 grams confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or 170°C for a fan oven).
  2. Grease and flour or line a 2 lb loaf tin.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  5. Beat in the lemon zest and vanilla.
  6. Fold the flour and salt into the batter with a wooden spoon.
  7. Stir in the milk.
  8. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin and bake for about 45 minutes.
  9. The cake should be golden and risen in the middle and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  10. Remove the pan from the oven but leave the cake in the cake tin.
  11. Make the syrup by stirring the lemon juice. Limoncello and sugar together in a small saucepan and heating gently until the sugar dissolves.
  12. Make small holes in the cake with a skewer, cake tester or dry piece of spaghetti.
  13. Pour the syrup slowly over top, allowing it to soak in before adding the rest. Be sure to cover the whole cake, including the middle and edges.
  14. Let the cake cool completely in the tin before attempting to remove it.
Slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson's Lemon Syrup Loaf Cake

More Delicious Teatime Cakes

Chocolate Cherry Loaf Cake

Chocolate Orange Marble Cake

Old Fashioned Banana Cake

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1291 great articles for us.
April is a writer, recipe developer, frequent traveller and blogger sharing travel, food, and style. Based in the south of England, April is a British Canadian who is passionate about family, hearth and home, healthy living (with treats!) and the transformative power of travel.
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  1. Lemon cake was one of my Dad’s favorites 🙂
    Maybe because of the years he lived in Britain….
    Your cake looks fantastic
    I suddenly have a craving for a huge slice… 🙂

  2. Perhaps, I shouldn’t have looked at the cake while waiting for dinner to cook in the oven….It looks so yummy!

  3. I found you through the Treasure Box Tuesday and I am glad I clicked your lemon link! I have been seeking out a tasty lemon cake to try. Lately I find myself seeking something lemon flavored and the fact that yours sounds like it would be perfect with tea is another reason for me to try this recipe. I’ve seen a few with lemon glaze toppings, but I fear that would be too sweet. This looks perfect!

  4. I love lemon recipes and your cake looks absolutely fabulous! Thanks for such a great recipe 🙂

  5. My mom makes this, too – it’s what everyone begs her to bring whenever there’s a potluck or holiday gathering. They all LOVE it!

  6. Wish I had a nice slice of your lemon drizzle cake at this very moment. Beautiful recipe and I love the details.

  7. Loaf cakes like this are the best. Plus sweet with tangy lemon, yes please!

  8. Oooh this looks so amazing! Reminds me of the cake at the coffee shop, only 100 times better, YUM!

  9. Oooo this sounds DELICIOUS! I love lemon pound cake, I’m sure I’d love this too! And I’ve never heard of bergamont lemons!

  10. You had me at “lemon drizzle!” I love that you added Limoncello to the syrup. I’ve never heard of Bergamot lemons, but will have to keep an eye out for them.

  11. Reading your post motivates me to book a ticket to England! I love afternoon tea and do believe your lemon cake would be the perfect partner. P.s. Never heard of sweet lemons or Bergamot lemons but grateful for the intro =)

  12. Sounds marvelous!

  13. My mouth is watering, April! My grandmother made an orange juice cake that I just adored and this seems very similar. YUM!!!

    • I’m so glad you like it, Sammi. This is a very traditional recipe so I’m sure your Grandmother’s is very similar. In fact, I’ve recently made a version of this with orange and another very healthy ingredient and I can’t wait to blog it 🙂

  14. Oh My Goodness that looks so so good April, so glad you stopped by Oh My Heartsie Girls Friday Features last week to share, I appreciate it and I am sure that our other visitors will too! I have pinned and Tweeted.
    I hope you have a wonderful week!
    Karren ?

  15. I had this once, at an afternoon tea. Yours looks wonderful!

  16. This is a great cake recipe, April! It is a perfect combination with a cup of tea!

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