How to Make the Most Beautifully Moist Lemon Traybake

If you’re looking for a lemon traybake recipe that’s easy to make and yields the lightest and most wonderfully moist cake EVER, you’re in the right place! Just like my lemon meringue pie, this lemon traybake cake has a perfectly balanced lemon flavour that’s not too sharp and not too sweet. It’s just right. Even goldilocks would love this one! Read on for the full recipe, helpful tips and much more…

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

The first thing you should know about this lemon traybake recipe is that it’s not a ginormous one. Being a small family of 3 (with the third being only 5 years old) I don’t need 400 portions of cake. But I almost certainly still want cake! Hence why I use a smaller and more modest 20cm (8″) square tin instead. 

Sliced of lemon traybake cake on a worktop

Also, if you haven’t gathered over the last few years, lemon is pretty much my favourite flavour. It’s light, it’s refreshing and all round – just perfect. From no bake lemon cheesecake to 4 ingredient lemon cookies, I’ve pretty much made it all. Then I realised that I’d not actually made a traybake! I mean, it’s so obvious when you think about it.

A lemon traybake cake on a worktop topped with lemon slices for decoration

And don’t you really hate it when you see a glorious looking cake, then you take a bite and it’s as dry as a desert?? Well I promise you there’s no spitting feathers with this lemon traybake recipe. This right here is a perfectly moist cake. Yep, I said it. MOIST. I know some of you despise that word but it very accurately describes this cake. So there.

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

It really is such a simple recipe to follow and honestly makes one of the best tasting lemon cakes I’ve had in a long time. You absolutely need to try it for yourself!

A lemon traybake cake on a worktop topped with lemon slices for decoration

Can this lemon traybake be made vegan?

Not this particular recipe no. ‘Free from’ baking is very much an exact science and requires a little more than just substituting a few ingredients. I highly recommend this dairy free/vegan lemon cake recipe instead though! It’s CRAZY good.

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

How to make a lemon traybake cake

Here’s the lowdown on how to make a seriously delicious lemon traybake cake.

  1. Mix all the sponge ingredients together until it forms a smooth batter.
  2. Pour into a lined baking tray, smooth out and bake for 16-20 minutes.
  3. Mix lemon juice and sugar together.
  4. Poke holes into the warm cake and pour over the lemon juice.
  5. Beat together butter, icing sugar and lemon juice until light and fluffy.
  6. When the cake is completely cooled, spread over the buttercream frosting.

 

And that is it my friend! A perfectly exquisite and super moist lemon traybake cake in 6 easy steps. 

Sliced of lemon traybake cake on a worktop

Lemon traybake ingredients

Here’s all you need to know about the ingredients required for a lemon traybake.

  • Butter – Unsalted butter is my go to so I can be in full control of the salt content in my bakes. If you use salted butter, it will affect the flavour.
  • Sugar – My favourite is golden caster sugar as it adds a slight caramel flavour. Regular caster (fine) sugar will work great too though.
  • Flour – This recipe calls for self raising flour. Self raising already has leavening agents in it so I wouldn’t recommend switching for another type as your cake won’t rise.
  • Baking Powder – Don’t substitute this for bicarbonate of soda! They do different things due to their PH levels. Stick to baking powder for an extra lift to your cake.
  • Eggs – Any eggs you have will work but I prefer free range organic. They not only taste better but are kinder on the animals.
  • Milk – You can use any milk you want here. I actually used vanilla milk which worked amazingly well!
  • Lemon – Any nice fresh lemon will work just fine in this recipe.
  • Icing Sugar – Also called confectioners sugar, it’s the only sugar that is suitable for making frosting so don’t even attempt to use another!

 

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

Lemon traybake recipe tips

If you have any doubts or worries before starting this recipe, these helpful tips should hopefully quash them all!

  • A lemon is easiest to zest when it’s cold. To use the same lemon for juicing (which is usually easier when at room temperature) give it a good roll on a worktop first.
  • Ingredients blend together best when they’re all at the same temperature. Take any chilled ingredients out the fridge for at least 1 hour before using.
  • Raising agents start working as soon as you add liquid, so get that cake batter into the oven as quick as you can once it’s made for the best rise.
  • Make sure your butter is softened/at room temperature before using or you will end up with lumps throughout your cake batter.
  • Add the lemon juice/sugar mixture while the cake is still warm for the best absorption.
  • Don’t be tempted to open your oven until within the last 5 minutes or so of baking. The sudden change in temperature early on in the baking process can sink your cake.
  • When adding liquid to buttercream frosting, remember you can always add more but you can’t take it out. Go easy.
  • Buttercream frosting too wet? Add more icing sugar.
  • Buttercream frosting too dry? Add a little more lemon juice.

 

A lemon traybake cake on a worktop topped with lemon slices for decoration

Other lemon recipes you might like

 

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

A lemon traybake cake on a worktop topped with lemon slices for decoration

Easy Lemon Traybake Recipe

Here is what you will need to make 9 large slices | or 16 small squares | or 18 small finger pieces.

(For a printer friendly version, see the recipe card at the end of this post)

For the Cake

  • 135g (1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup) Unsalted Butter, softened *
  • 135g (2/3 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 165g (1 + 1/3 Cup) Self Raising Flour
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 x Eggs *
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

 

For the Drizzle

  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 50g (1/4 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar

 

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • 125g (1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup) Unsalted Butter, softened *
  • 250g (2 Cups) Icing/Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

 

Essential Equipment

  • 20cm (8″) Square Baking Tin
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl + Electric Hand Whisk
  • Jug
  • Skewer

 

*Take your butter and eggs out the fridge 1 hour before using to bring them to room temperature. The butter in particular needs to feel softened before using.

How to Make the Cake

Preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C/338F and lightly grease and line your baking tin with baking paper. 

(It’s worth noting here that I am a lazy liner. I usually only use one sheet to line the base and two sides, then use some trusty wooden pegs to stop the paper from falling onto the cake.)

Weigh out all the cake ingredients into the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk. (135g | 1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup Unsalted Butter, 135g | 2/3 Cup Golden Caster Sugar, 165g | 1 + 1/3 Cup Self Raising Flour, 1 + 1/4 tsp Baking Powder, 2 Eggs, 3 tbsp Milk, Zest of 1 Lemon.)

Lemon traybake cake ingredients in the bowl of an electric stand mixer

Then beat until it’s nice and smooth. Don’t over beat it – keep a close eye on it and beat only until everything is just blended.

Lemon traybake cake batter in an electric stand mixer

Don’t panic too much if there are a few little lumps of butter still in there, so long as it’s mostly smooth it will be ok.

Next, tip the cake batter out into your prepared tin and smooth out.

Lemon traybake cake batter smoothed out in a lined square baking tin

(See? My trusty pegs!)

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 16 – 20 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

A baked lemon traybake cake cooling in a square tin

How to Make the Drizzle

While the cake is still in the oven… mix together the juice of 1 lemon and the caster sugar (50g | 1/4 Cup) in a jug. Keep mixing until the sugar has dissolved.

Sugar and lemon juice mixed together in a jug with a metal teaspoon

While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over with a skewer.

A lemon traybake cake being poked all over with a skewer

Time for some REAL moisture! While the cake is still warm – carefully pour the lemon sugar mixture evenly over the top of the whole cake.

A lemon and sugar mixture being drizzled over the top of a lemon traybake cake

Then allow to cool completely before moving on to the next step.

How to Make the Lemon Buttercream Frosting

In an electric stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk, beat the butter (125g | 1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup) until it’s really soft. You will likely need to scrape the bowl down once or twice.

Beaten softened butter in an electric stand mixer

Next, add half the icing sugar (125g | 1 Cup) and beat again until it’s light and fluffy. Start on a slow speed and work up to a higher one – you don’t want to create a mushroom cloud of icing sugar here!

Butter and icing sugar beaten together in an electric stand mixer

Lastly, add the remaining icing sugar (125g | 1 Cup) and the lemon juice (2 tbsp) and beat again until it’s really light and fluffy. It should also look quite pale in colour.

Lemon buttercream icing in an electric stand mixer

Once your cake has completely cooled, remove it from the tray and peel off the baking paper.

Place it onto a serving plate or cake stand and smooth the icing over the top.

A lemon traybake cake on a worktop topped with lemon slices for decoration

Tadah! You’ve now got yourself a rather luscious looking (and tasting!) lemon traybake cake. If you’re feeling fancy, top with 3 thin slices of lemon for decoration.

If you like generous portions, cut your traybake into 9 pieces. If you prefer smaller more modest portions, cut into 16 pieces. If this is for children, cut into 9 large pieces then half them to create 18 small finger slices. 

Store your cake in an airtight container (I prefer metal) at room temperature and consume within 3-4 days.

A lemon traybake cake on a worktop topped with lemon slices for decoration

Have you made this recipe?

Will this beautifully moist and delicious lemon traybake cake be making it’s way into your home? I’d love to know if it is! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

Like baking to be as simple as possible?

You need the right equipment! Check out my favourite Products That Make Baking Easier!

 

Loved this recipe? Pin it!

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

Lemon traybake part sliced on a worktop with slices of lemon on top

How to Make the Most Beautifully Moist Lemon Traybake

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 41 minutes

Light, moist and perfectly lemony - this easy to make Lemon Traybake recipe is all you need to bake you happy!

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 135g (1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup) Unsalted Butter, softened *
  • 135g (2/3 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 165g (1 + 1/3 Cup) Self Raising Flour
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 x Eggs *
  • 3 tbsp Milk
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

For the Drizzle

  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 50g (1/4 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar

For the Buttercream Frosting

  • 125g (1/2 Cup + 1/8 Cup) Unsalted Butter, softened *
  • 250g (2 Cups) Icing/Confectioners Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

Essential Equipment

  • 20cm (8") Square Baking Tin
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl + Electric Hand Whisk
  • Jug
  • Skewer

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease and line your baking tin and preheat your oven to 170°C/Fan 160°C/338F.
  2. Place all the cake ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk) and mix until it's just blended.
  3. Pour the batter into your lined tin and smooth out. Bake in the oven for 16-20 mins until a skewer/knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  4. While the cake is in the oven, make the drizzle by mixing the lemon juice and sugar together in a jug until dissolved.
  5. While the cake is still warm, poke holes in it with a skewer then evenly pour over the lemon juice. Allow to cool completely in the tin.
  6. To make the buttercream, beat the butter until very soft in an electric stand mixer (or a large bowl with an electric hand whisk).
  7. Add half the icing sugar and beat again until smooth.
  8. Add the lemon juice and remaining icing sugar and beat until very smooth, thick and pale in colour.
  9. When the cake is completely cooled, spread the icing over the top and serve.

Notes

*Take your butter and eggs out the fridge 1 hour before using to bring them to room temperature. The butter definitely needs to feel soft before using.

Cut your cake into 9 large pieces, 16 smaller pieces or 18 finger slices for child sized portions.

Store in an airtight container (metal is my favourite) at room temperature and consume within 3-4 days.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 248Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 42mgSodium: 177mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information on kitchenmason.com should only be used as a general guideline, I am not a certified nutritionist. Please always check labels for allergens where applicable.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to hear about it! Please leave a comment on the blog or tag me on Instagram.

Enjoyed this post? You’ll love…

As featured on Julia’s Simply Southern Meal Plan Monday #224

6 thoughts on “How to Make the Most Beautifully Moist Lemon Traybake”

  1. Marjie says:

    I made the lemon tray bake but used a 9 inch round clip cake tin. It looks and tastes absolutely gorgeous and is super moist. My friends are asking for the recipe lol.
    I’ve been meaning to make a lemon drizzle cake for years. Finally I’ve done it and I couldn’t be happier !!!
    I’m looking forward to trying the lemon cheesecake next x

    1. Emma says:

      Hi Marjie, I’m super happy you love my recipe and it worked so well for you! The lemon cheesecake is divine, you’ll love it! Emma x

  2. Sophie says:

    Mmm so delicious! Very moist like you say 🙂

    1. Emma says:

      Thanks Sophie! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Emma x

  3. Leanne says:

    I made the lemon tray bake but used a loaf tin, and it was absolutely gorgeous, it was light and very tasty. Definitely a favourite in our house.

    1. Miss KitchenMason says:

      Hi Leanne, that’s so lovely to hear! I’m super happy it worked so well and it’s now a favourite. You’ve made my day 🙂 Emma x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Emma. Let me help you impress with delicious dishes using my easy recipes, step by step pics, tips & videos.

108 shares