Lemon sponge cake recipe

(3871 ratings)

Lemon cake is delicious, quick and easy to make and this lemon cake recipe is a real winner. Infused with fresh lemons and topped with a sweet lemon curd

Lemon cake recipe
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time35 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories527 Kcal26%
Sugar51 g57%
Fat28 g40%
Salt3.5 g
Protein5 g10%
Carbohydrates65 g25%
Salt3.5 g

Our delicious lemon sponge cake recipe is a tried and tested treat, from the Woman's Weekly kitchen.

This delicious, quick and easy lemon sponge cake recipe is moist, sweet, buttery, and infused with fresh lemon. We love a lemon cake for its fresh and zesty flavour. With lemon syrup poured over the sponge while the cakes are still warm, the result is a sticky teatime treat, packed with vibrant flavours.


  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2tbsp milk
  • Finely zested rind of 2 lemons
  • 4 level tbsp caster sugar
  • 4tbsp water
  • Juice 2 lemons
  • 3 level tbsp lemon curd
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 4 level tbsp lemon curd
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 x 18cm solid base sandwich tins, buttered and base-lined




  1. Set the oven to 180°C. To make the cake: Beat the butter. Add the remaining ingredients to it and beat until smooth. Divide mixture between sandwich tins, and level surface.
  2. Bake cakes in the centre of oven for 30-35 mins, or until they have risen and feel just firm to the touch in the centre.
  3. Meanwhile, to make syrup: Pour 4tbsp water into a small pan; add sugar. Place pan on a low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring mixture to the boil; boil rapidly for 1 min, then remove pan from heat and add lemon juice.
  4. When cakes are cooked, remove from oven and pour syrup over each one. Leave cakes in tins for about 10 minutes until syrup has soaked in, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Cut each cake in half horizontally, to give 4 layers in total. Sandwich together with 1tbsp lemon curd spread between each layer.
  6. To make the frosting: Beat butter until very soft, then add remaining ingredients and beat well until fluffy. Spread over the top and sides of the cake.

Top tips for making this lemon sponge cake

If you’ve got leftover lemon sponge cake the best place to store it is on the kitchen counter in an airtight container. You may want to add a piece of kitchen towel into the box or cake tin to help balance out the moisture levels as the cake may sweat. You can also keep your lemon cake in the fridge but be aware that it may dry the cake out.

If your cake has sunk – did you open the oven door while baking? – and its not suitable for serving, there’s no need to waste it. Just break into crumbs, mix with buttercream and form cake pops.

To make sure your lemon sponge cake isn’t dry, you need to use the exact measurements. If you add too much flour or too much baking powder or soda it can really dry your cake out. When whisking your mixture, if it appears dry and isn’t loose and smooth, you may want to add some more lemon juice, a dash of milk or water to loosen the mixture.

Make sure you don’t over bake your lemon cake. Over baking will not only dry your cake out but it will also make it burn slightly around the edges, especially as the cake contains lemon juice. Use our what's wrong with my cake? guide for more tips and tricks when it comes to baking.

You can freeze cake at the end of step 5. Allow the cake to defrost before filling and frosting.

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Food & Recipes writer

Sue McMahon is a former Food and Recipes Writer at GoodTo and Cooking Editor at Woman's Weekly. Her primary passion is cakes and Sue regularly travels the world teaching cake decorating. Her biggest achievement to date was winning the Prix d’honneur at La Salon Culinaire International de Londres beating over 1,200 other entries.