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Extremely Lemony Lemon Drizzle Cake

February 7, 2018


In my fitful sleep, I dream of lemons. Not just lemons. Limes, too. Lemon-lime flavored gummies and jello, cookies and cake. Lemon-scented candles, lime-scented cleaning supplies. Pretty much anything lemony and limey. I’m not sure how but there’s no doubt that my citrus obsession relates to my current state of being really, extremely pregnant and really, extremely congested. And probably isn’t unrelated to the fact that London is in the middle of a record-setting cold snap with which our 150-year-old house is finding hard to compete.

IMG_7603.jpgI am ready to have another baby. Like, really ready. At 37.5 weeks pregnant, baby is fully cooked and I’m fully over it. This pregnancy has not been especially difficult but for a raging sinus infection that has tortured me (and destroyed my ability to breathe, smell and taste) on and off for the last few months. Yes, months. Since early November. The doctors I’ve been to all assure me that for reasons unknown sinus infections are super common in late pregnancy and will clear up as soon as I deliver. “Not long now!” they say with a smile as I storm out of the office, under-prescribed, under-medicated and unimpressed.

With nothing to do but self-medicate, I woke up this morning from another lemon-infused dream knowing that I needed to make the lemony-est cake possible. Something even I, with my nose completely out of commission, could tell was lemony. Something bright and sunny, the opposite of a head cold in an English winter.


And so this cake. Compiled from a bunch of different things I found online (but mostly this recipe), it has the loveliest, moistest, lemon-infused crumb with just the right amount of lemon syrup soaking through, capped by lemon icing.

So if life gives you lemons – or a sinus infection you can’t medicate away – rest easy knowing you can always make this extremely lemony lemon drizzle cake. It’s everything I dreamt it would be.



I lost track of the number of lemons that went into this cake, but I wouldn’t start making it with less than 8 or 9 on hand. Just buy a lot of lemons and be ready to juice and zest. I even topped the cake with zest because I honestly cannot get enough lemons. The thing that makes this cake so special, though, is the crumb. It’s just really, really good. When I’m not on such a lemon-kick, I’ll come back to it for other things, perhaps substituting the lemon juice with orange juice or milk.

ED note: I have made this recipes many more times, sometimes substituting limes for lemons, and it’s always perfect. 

Makes the equivalent of 2 big loaves.

LEMON CAKE (makes the most delightful crumb)

250 grams/2 sticks butter, softened

2 cups sugar (this can be reduced to 1 1/2 cups)

4 large (or 5 medium) eggs

1/3 cup lemon zest (this was about 4 lemons + a lime)

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 6 lemons)

1/2 cup yogurt + 1/4 cup mik + big splash vinegar (or 3/4 cup buttermilk)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice


2 cups icing sugar, sifted

juice of 1 – 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease 2 loaf pans or a bundt pan plus some other small pans. I lined the bottoms with parchment paper in them, too, and they were super easy to remove from the pans.

First, make the cake: In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add the eggs and lemon zest. Beat together until very pale and creamy, about 3 minutes.

In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk & vinegar to make a curdled buttermilk-like thing (otherwise, just use 3/4 cup buttermilk). Mix with 3/4 cup lemon juice and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt to combine.

Using a spoon or spatula, alternately add the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, until just combined. Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 30 – 45 mins, testing after 30 mins. They’ll be ready when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out mostly clean or with a few dry crumbs. After a few minutes, carefully remove cakes from pans and cool upside down on a wire rack set over a pan to collect the syrup and glaze drippings.

Now, make the syrup while the cakes cool for a few minutes. In a small saucepan, combine the 1/3 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice over medium heat, until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Let the glaze cool for a minute or two, then spoon it over the bottoms of the cakes, letting it seep through.

Finally, flip the mostly cooled cakes right-side-up on the wire rack and make the glaze. Whisk together the sifted icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick, smooth glaze. (Mine came out yellow because I used unrefined icing sugar. Drizzle or pour the glze over the tops of the cakes, letting it drip down the sides.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 8, 2018 6:20 am

    Looks totally yummy!! xox


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