Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake recipe

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Use just a handful of store cupboard ingredients to make this mouthwatering lemon drizzle cake recipe by Mary Berry

Mary Berry's lemon drizzle cake recipe
(Image credit: Future)
  • Nut-free
Serves8
SkillEasy
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time40 mins
Total Time1 hours
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories395 Kcal20%
Sugar35 g39%
Fat19 g27%
Protein5 g10%
Carbohydrates50 g19%

This soft, moist lemon drizzle cake recipe is by baking legend Mary Berry. Infused with lemon zest and drizzled with a zingy lemon juice icing.

Using store cupboard ingredients to make this delicious lemon drizzle cake is an easy way to impress your friends and family. It takes 20 minutes to prepare and uses Mary’s classic ‘all-in-one method’. This means all of the ingredients are mixed together at the same time, saving you time and washing up as you can weigh the ingredients straight into the same bowl. 

If this is not what you're looking for we've got a great range of other lemon cakes to choose from too including our easy-to-make lemon pound cake, mouthwatering lemon cupcakes, and lemon cake with poppy seeds.

Ingredients

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 175g softened butter
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ¾ level tsp baking powder

For the lemon drizzle topping:

  • 100g granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon

WEIGHT CONVERTER

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Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Grease and line a loaf tin with enough baking paper to leave a small overhang. This will make it easier to lift the cake out.
  2. In a large bowl add the sugar, flour, butter, eggs, lemon zest and baking powder. Beat together with an electric whisk until smooth.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake tin and promptly place it on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown, shrinking away from the sides of the tin and springy to touch.
  4. Meanwhile, make the lemon drizzle topping. Mix together the sugar and lemon juice. When the cake is out of the oven and still warm, carefully spoon over the drizzle mixture.
  5. Once the cake is cool, lift it out of the tin and slice.

Watch how to make Mary Berry's lemon drizzle cake recipe

Top tips for making Mary Berry's lemon drizzle cake

For the best lemon sponge cake, Mary recommends cooking the cake in the middle of the oven at 180C. She explains: "To avoid cakes cracking, don’t bake them too high in the oven. If you do, the crust forms too soon and cracks as the cake continues to rise." Personally, we think the cracks on a cake can look quite attractive and they act as delicious craters for the icing to pool in. The cake will still taste fantastic even if you don’t achieve perfect results visually. 

This lemon drizzle loaf will be kept in an airtight container or cake tin at room temperature for three days and will freeze well for up to two months unsliced and wrapped tightly in clingfilm. 

So, if you want to understand why two sugar varieties are needed for this recipe or how to stop your cake from sinking, read our top tips below. 

Can I use only granulated sugar in this lemon drizzle cake?

For this recipe, don’t be tempted to just use granulated sugar only - this should only be saved for the lemon drizzle topping. Mary Berry told Woman’s Weekly, ‘Use caster sugar in cakes rather than granulated. Speckled tops on cakes are usually caused by granulated sugar that has not properly dissolved in the mixture.'

If you want to make a low-fat lemon drizzle cake or low-sugar you could swap the caster sugar for Stevia or coconut sugar instead. You could also replace the butter in this recipe with soy butter or Quark for a lower-fat lemon drizzle cake.

Can I make lemon drizzle cake without an electric whisk?

It is recommended to use an electric whisk or stand mixture (Food Editor, Jessica Dady loves the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Design Series) to make this cake. You can however use a wooden spoon and beat the mixture by hand. To make sure the cake mixture has enough air to rise, cream the butter and the sugar separately, and then add the egg and beat with a wooden spoon. You can then fold the other ingredients into the mixture until combined.

How many calories in a slice of lemon drizzle cake?

This recipe makes 8 portions. Therefore there are 396 calories per slice. You could cut smaller slices, especially if you want to replicate mini lemon cakes, which would decrease the calorie count. You could also swap the butter for a lower-calorie alternative, although this will also alter the final taste of the cake. 

Why is my lemon drizzle cake sinking?

If you're wondering why did my cake not rise after baking or why your cake has sunk in the middle it could be because you opened the door too soon while it was baking. As a general rule, never open the door in the first 20 minutes of cooking. This gives the cake a chance to form a solid structure. Mary Berry also stresses that it’s important the oven is fully preheated before you put the cake into the oven. 

The other reason the lemon cake might have sunk is if you took too long beating the ingredients together or getting the batter into the tin and into the oven. As soon as the wet and dry ingredients are in contact with one another, the chemical-raising agents in the flour and the added baking powder get to work. You need to act very quickly to get the batter into the oven otherwise the cake batter will sink before it has a chance to complete the second reaction when it is exposed to heat. 


Can you freeze iced lemon drizzle cake?

No, it is better to freeze an uniced lemon cake and ice it when you are ready to eat it. Simply wrap the baked cake tightly in clingfilm and freeze. Then defrost to consume and ice before serving. 

In step one of this recipe you need to combine the eggs, flour, caster sugar, butter, baking powder, and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl. It’s important to use a bowl that is an appropriate size otherwise it will be hard to mix everything thoroughly and ingredients may spill over the edge. If you’d like to buy a new one, Food Editor Jessica Dady loves this old-school design from Mason Cash. 

Mason Cash Cane Collection Beige 26 Centimetre Chip Resistant Earthenware Mixing Bowl- View at Amazon

Mason Cash Cane Collection Beige 26 Centimetre Chip Resistant Earthenware Mixing Bowl - View at Amazon

This 29cm bowl is a great size for cooking and baking. The cream colour is lovely and neutral meaning it will fit in perfectly with most kitchen colour schemes. The bowl is made from chip-resistant earthenware so you can stack it in cupboards and into the dishwasher without worrying. You can also use the bowl in your microwave. 

If you like this recipe, browse more of our favourite Mary Berry recipes. Flapjacks and fairy cakes are great recipes to make with kids and Mary Berry's chocolate cake recipe makes an indulgent afternoon treat to share with friends or family. 

Mary Berry
Celebrity baker

Mary Berry CBE is one of the most loved celebrity chefs in the country. In her early 80s, she’s been on our screens showing us how to make the most delicious recipes and sweet treats for over 50 years! Mary is probably most famous for being one of the original judges on The Great British Bake Off, where she put contestants through their paces for nine years before leaving the show when it made its controversial move from the BBC to Channel Four. 

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