Recipe: Luscious Lemon Cake

The classic cake that launched a thousand lemon drizzles - perfect for a coronation tea

  • place PRE 15 minutes
  • place COOK 45 minutes
  • place SERVES 6 - 8
  • printicon

This delicate sponge, moistened with a tart lemon syrup, must be the all-time family favourite, and the star of a thousand coffee-morning cake stalls. Perfect for a coronation tea. If you have any left over, it will keep moist refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week and can be frozen for up to three months.


  • Preheat oven to 180°C.

  • Brush a 2lb loaf tin (25 x 10cm) with oil and line the bottom with baking paper — this is important.

  • Put the eggs and the sugar in a mixer or food processor and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides down once with a rubber spatula.

  • Remove the lid and add the fat a spoonful at a time together with the lemon zest, then pulse until it disappears. The mixture should now look like mayonnaise.

  • Add the milk, flour and salt and mix until creamy — scrape the sides down if necessary. (To mix by hand, put all the cake ingredients in a bowl and beat with electric beaters of or wooden spoon until smooth.)

  • With either method: turn the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth level. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden and springy.

  • Place the cake, still in its tin, on a cooling rack.

  • Gently heat the sugar and lemon juice until a clear syrup is formed.

  • Prick the warm cake all over with a fork, then gently pour the syrup over it, spooning it from the sides until it has been completely absorbed.

  • Leave until the cake is cold, then carefully turn out on a serving plate.

    Recipe adapted from ‘Mother and Daughter Jewish Cooking’ by Evelyn Rose and Judi Rose (William Morrow & Co)


125g soft butter or margarine
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour or 175 g plain flour plus 1 ½ level tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk (3 tbsp if food processor is used)
Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon, unwaxed if possible
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
For the lemon syrup
75 g icing sugar
Juice of 1 ½ large lemons (4 tbsp)

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