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Stunningly Moist Lemon Drizzle Cake with a Crispy Topping

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This wonderfully moist lemon drizzle cake recipe has a delightful crispy topping that will keep you coming back for more! Utterly delicious and moreish in every way, this easy lemon loaf cake is perfect for afternoon tea, a weekend bake or just because!

A top down view of a half sliced moist lemon drizzle cake set on a white wood board with a fork. Set on a white wood effect backdrop, there are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves, a lemon juicer and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Having always been a lover of lemon, whether that’s in the form of a lemon traybake, lemon cheesecake or otherwise, it will forever be my go to flavour. It’s just so refreshing and zingy, and it’s hard not to love!

As far as lemon drizzle cake goes, this easy recipe yields the most beautifully rich and buttery sponge cake EVER. Add in that gorgeous zesty lemon flavour and a crisp sugary topping, and you’re onto a winner that’s for sure!

3 White plates topped with slices of moist lemon drizzle cake in a triangle shape, and a hand reaching into the shot with a fork. There are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves and a light brown linen napkin in the background and it's all set on a white painted wood effect backdrop.

Why is my lemon drizzle cake soggy?

There could be a few reasons why your lemon drizzle cake became soggy, let’s explore them…

  1. You poured the drizzle over the top while it was still too hot. If the cake is too hot, the drizzle won’t settle on top. Instead, it will soak straight through the whole cake and pool at the bottom.
  2. Perhaps you underbaked it. Due to the amount of butter and eggs in this batter, it takes a long time to bake. Test by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean it’s ready, if there is batter on it, it needs longer in the oven.
  3. Maybe you used too much raising agent. Add too much baking powder and your cake may rise more than the cake can support. It could then collapse and not bake through properly.
A front on view of someone slicing a lemon drizzle cake on a white wood board set against a white painted wood effect backdrop. There is a small glass bottle filled with white flowers, a whole lemon, two forks and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Can I add lemon juice to cake batter?

You absolutely can! It may not yield the super lemony results you’re after though. Adding lemon juice to a cake batter alters the acidity (in a rather big way) and changes the consistency, more than it adds lemon flavour. Just like in this lemon drizzle cake, you’re better off using the zest as it adds bags of lemony flavour without changing the consistency of the batter.

A moist lemon drizzle cake in a loaf pan on a white wooden board set against a white painted wood effect backdrop. There's also white plates, small forks, lemon slices, a lemon juicer, a cake slice and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Ingredients and substitutions

Here’s everything you need to know about the ingredients needed to make this lemon drizzle cake and possible substitutions.

  • Butter – Use a good quality unsalted butter here and you won’t regret it! I use Lurpak as you can really taste the rich, buttery flavour in the end result. You can use salted butter if you have to, but be aware it will affect the overall flavour of the cake.
  • Sugar – Golden caster sugar is my go to as it adds a lovely slight caramel flavour to your bakes. However, regular white caster sugar will work just as well. Don’t substitute for a brown sugar though as this will completely change the flavour and consistency of the cake.
  • Eggs – I used medium sized free range organic. I realise that’s not in everyone’s budget, and other types of eggs will work just fine, but be aware of the size more than anything. If you use small or large eggs instead, this might effect the end result.
  • Lemon – Use large juicy lemons if you can get them! The more lemon the better, it is a lemon drizzle cake after all! And we’ll be using both the zest and the juice, so don’t cop out and buy that awful pre-squeezed lemon juice.
  • Flour – In this recipe I use plain (all purpose) flour and baking powder. If you prefer to use self raising flour, simply omit the baking powder and use that instead of the plain flour.
  • Baking Powder – This is what gives the cake it’s rise. If you’d rather use self raising flour, just leave this and the plain flour out and use that instead.
A white plate set on an ornate white wood board, topped with 2 slices of moist lemon drizzle cake, lemon slices and a hand reaching into the shot with a fork. All set on a white painted wood effect backdrop, there are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves, a lemon juicer, a light brown linen napkin and a small plate with another slice of lemon drizzle cake in the background.

Recipe tips and troubleshooting

Here are some tips you’ll find helpful when making this gorgeous lemon drizzle cake!

  • When zesting a lemon, only grate the outer yellow skin. The inner white part of the skin (called the pith) is very bitter in taste and will negatively impact the flavour of your lemon drizzle!
  • Bring your refrigerated ingredients to room temperature before you use them. Ingredients blend together so much better when they’re all at the same temperature!
  • Don’t worry if the batter curdles when you’re adding in the eggs. It will all come together once you add in the flour.
  • Bake your cake in the middle part of your oven, If you bake it on a higher shelf, you could end up with a huge dome in the middle as this is there your oven is at its hottest.
  • Make sure you allow at least 25-30 mins for your cake to cool before you pour over the drizzle. If you do it too soon, you could lose out on that wonderful crispy topping!
A front on view of a sliced lemon drizzle cake on a white wood board set against a white painted wood effect backdrop. There is a small glass bottle filled with white flowers off to the side, a half lemon, two forks and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Time management

Have limited time? Struggle with recipe timings? Or juggling around other things? Here’s some helpful recipe time managing info to make your life easier. You’re welcome 🙂

  • Don’t have time for your butter to come to room temperature? Cut it into small cubes, place in a microwavable bowl and heat for 10-20 seconds in the microwave. Job done!
  • Need to make this in advance? It actually freezes very well! Just make sure you wrap it carefully to avoid it drying out and getting freezer burn. Defrost within 1 month.
  • This is mostly a waiting recipe. The cake will be in the oven for at least 50 minutes and need around 25-30 mins to cool before you drizzle, so you’ve got plenty of time to put your feet up and relax in-between.
A top down view of someone slicing a moist lemon drizzle cake with a knife on a white wood board. Set on a white wood effect backdrop, there are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

If you like this recipe…

…you might also like:

Moist Lemon Drizzle Cake – Step by Step Picture Recipe

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

Ingredients

Here is what you will need to serve 12.

For the cake

  • 220g (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 230g (1 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 x Lemon
  • 220g (1 + 1/2 Cups) Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder

For the drizzle

  • Juice of 1 + 1/2 Lemons
  • 90g (1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Golden Caster Sugar

Essential equipment

  • 9 x 22cm (3.5 x 8.5″) Loaf Tin
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl with Electric Hand Whisk
  • Sieve
  • Spatula
  • 9 x 22cm (3.5 x 8.5″) Loaf Tin
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Jug
  • Skewer

Cake instructions

First up, lightly grease and line the base and 2 sides of your loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180ºC/Fan 170ºC/356ºF.

Cream together the butter (220g | 1 Cup) and the sugar (230g | 1 Cup) until very light and fluffy – at least 2-3 minutes beating. It should become lighter in colour too.

Creamed butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on a kitchen worktop.

Then one at a time, add in the eggs (x 4). Make sure you beat the mixture well after each one. Don’t worry if it curdles, it will all come together in the end. I promise 🙂

Beaten butter, sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on a kitchen worktop.

Time for some flavour! Briefly mix through the zest of 1 x lemon.

Beaten butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on a kitchen worktop.

Next, sift in the flour (220g | 1 + 1/2 Cups) and baking powder (2 tsp), then fold it through with a spatula. Try not to over mix and continue only until there are no more streaks of flour visible.

Beaten butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, flour and baking powder in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on a kitchen worktop.
Lemon drizzle cake batter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer on a kitchen worktop.

I told you it would come together didn’t I? I love how wonderfully creamy and smooth this batter is. Ok, pour the batter into your prepared tin and smooth out as best as you can.

Lemon drizzle cake batter in a lined loaf pan on a kitchen worktop.

Yep, I’m what they call a lazy liner. I only line the bear minimum and use my ‘baking pegs’ to stop the paper falling onto my cakes during baking. Why make things difficult eh?!

Place your cake on the middle shelf in a preheated oven and bake for around 50-55 mins. To test if it’s ready, insert a skewer or knife into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s ready. If there is any batter on it, your cake needs a little longer in the oven.

A freshly baked lemon drizzle loaf cake in a tin on a wire rack.

Allow your cake to cool for around 25-30 minutes before moving on to the drizzle. It should still be warm but NOT hot.

Drizzle instructions

Once your cake has cooled a little, you’re ready to make the drizzle. Juice 1 and a half lemons and pour it into a jug. Add the sugar (90g | 1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) and stir with a spoon. The sugar doesn’t need to be dissolved, it just needs to be pourable.

Lemon juice and caster sugar mixed together in a jug on a kitchen worktop.

Then poke the baked cake all over with a skewer so the drizzle can seep through.

A lemon drizzle loaf cake on a wire rack with a skewer. The cake has been poked all over to make holes for the drizzle.

Now, very slowly, pour the drizzle over the top. It will likely run to the corners but should be sticky enough to leave a glaze over the whole cake.

I like to spoon the pools in the corners back up over the cake to ensure an even crispy topping.

A lemon drizzle cake that's just had the drizzle poured over the top, set on a wire rack on a kitchen worktop.

Allow your cake to cool completely in the tin. This could take a few hours depending on the time of year, but be patient, it’ll be worth it!

How to store lemon drizzle cake

Once your cake has completely cooled, carefully remove from the loaf pan and store in a metal tin lined with baking paper. This will prevent sticking. Store at room temperature and consume within 4-5 days.

Don’t store your super moist lemon drizzle cake in a plastic tub as this could effect the texture. Plastic makes sugar sweat so you might lost that wonderful crunch!

A front on view of a sliced lemon drizzle cake on a white wood board set against a white painted wood effect backdrop. There is a small glass bottle filled with white flowers, a whole lemon, two forks and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Loved this recipe? Pin it!

A top down view of a half sliced moist lemon drizzle cake set on a white wood board with a fork. Set on a white wood effect backdrop, there are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves, a lemon juicer and a light brown linen napkin in the background. A text overlay says "lemon drizzle cake".
3 White plates topped with slices of moist lemon drizzle cake in a triangle shape. There are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves and a light brown linen napkin in the background and it's all set on a white painted wood effect backdrop.

Have you made this recipe?

Have you made this beautifully moist lemon drizzle cake? I’d love to know if you have! Send me your pics, comments and questions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email me at emma@kitchenmason.com.

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A whole lemon drizzle loaf cake in a lined pan on a white wood board. Set on a white painted wood effect backdrop, there are also lemon slices, half lemons, a light brown linen napkin and a lemon juicer in the background.
A square top down view of a half sliced moist lemon drizzle cake set on a white wood board with a fork. Set on a white wood effect backdrop, there are also lemon slices, squeezed lemon halves, a lemon juicer and a light brown linen napkin in the background.

Moist Lemon Drizzle Cake - Printable Recipe

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Cooling Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This wonderfully moist lemon drizzle cake recipe has a delightful crispy topping that will keep you coming back for more! Utterly delicious and moreish in every way, this easy lemon loaf cake is perfect for afternoon tea, a weekend bake or just because!

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 220g (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 230g (1 Cup) Golden Caster Sugar
  • 4 Medium Eggs, room temperature
  • Zest of 1 x Lemon
  • 220g (1 + 1/2 Cups) Plain/All Purpose Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder

For the drizzle

  • Juice of 1 + 1/2 Lemons
  • 90g (1/3 Cup + 1 tbsp) Golden Caster Sugar

Essential equipment

  • 9 x 22cm (3.5 x 8.5″) Loaf Tin
  • Electric Stand Mixer or Large Bowl with Electric Hand Whisk
  • Sieve
  • Spatula
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Jug
  • Skewer

Instructions

For the cake

  1. Grease and line your loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180ºC/Fan 170ºC/356ºF. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (at least 2-3 minutes).
  2. Add the eggs in one at a time. Mix well after each addition and don't worry if it curdles, it'll come back together later.
  3. Mix through the lemon zest.
  4. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Mix just until there are no more visible streaks of flour.
  5. Tip the batter into your lined tin and smooth out.
  6. Bake on the middle shelf of your oven for 50-55 mins. A skewer inserted into the middle should come out clean when it's fully baked. (If it still has batter on it, bake for a little longer.) Allow to cool for 25-30 minutes until warm but NOT hot.

For the drizzle

  1. Place the lemon juice and sugar into a jug and mix together. It doesn't need to be fully dissolved, just pourable.
  2. Poke holes all over your warm cake with a skewer.
  3. Very slowly pour the drizzle over the cake. It will likely run to the corners but it should be sticky enough to fully glaze the top. I like to spoon the pooled drizzle in the corners back up over the cake. Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing and serving.

Notes

See the main post for a more detailed, step by step picture recipe.

Be sure to read the sections Ingredients and Substitutions, Recipe Tips and Troubleshooting and Time Management for lots of helpful information before you begin making this recipe. You can find them in the main body of this post.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 329Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 27gProtein: 4g

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.

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Angelina

Sunday 6th of March 2022

Just checking.... What size eggs? Medium?

Emma

Monday 7th of March 2022

Hi Angelina. I used medium eggs. Sorry, I realise I left that out of the ingredients list didn’t I?! I’ve corrected this now, thank you for pointing it out :) Emma x

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