The Only Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe You Will Ever Need… Cupcakes or Loaf

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Everybody loves a lemon drizzle cake. No other cake is as refreshing as a tangy lemon drizzle. My partner Del particularly loves it, as does his Mum. I’ve tried lots of different recipes to find the perfect one, and can honestly say no other comes close to Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her ‘How to be a Domestic Goddess’ book. I made some for Del’s mum a few years ago and she said they were so good she now can’t buy any other lemon cakes from anywhere. They are always guaranteed to put a smile on Del’s face and they are the cake that I am asked to make most of all. One lady told me that she doesn’t normally like lemon cake but she loves these. So what makes Nigella’s recipe so special? Regardless of whether you make it as cupcakes or as a loaf, the cake is so light and fluffy, deliciously tangy but sweet, and completely irresistible.

I recently made this recipe in the Nordic Ware snowflake pan and was over the moon to see it listed as a Stunning Christmas Cake onĀ THIS WEBSITE.

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Yesterday I made it in the Nordic Ware Citrus Loaf pan and a couple of people asked for the recipe, so I thought I would put it on here.

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I wish I had come up with this recipe. It is completely foolproof, very easy to make and turns out perfectly every time. All credit to Nigella for such an amazing recipe! The recipe is for a loaf cake but I love it for cupcakes too so will put instructions for both up. Same ingredients, just different baking times. It makes one loaf cake or 12 muffin-sized cupcakes.



125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

175 g caster sugar

2 large eggs, beaten

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

175 g self raising flour, sifted

pinch of salt

4 tbsp milk


juice of one and a half lemons

100 g icing sugar


juice of half a lemon

150 g icing sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf tin, or put cupcake cases into a 12 hole muffin tray.
  • Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and lemon zest and beat in well.
  • Gently fold in the flour and salt until all combined, then add milk. Fold in until smooth.
  • Pour batter into loaf tin, or spoon into cupcake cases. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40-45 minutes for a loaf cake, or 15-20 minutes for cupcakes, until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • While the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup. Put the juice and icing sugar into a small pan and heat gently until the icing sugar has dissolved.
  • As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture all over with a skewer or cocktail stick. Pour the syrup over the cake while it is still in the tin. If making cupcakes,spoon 3 or 4 tsps over each cake. Leave the cake in the tin until completely cool.
  • When cool, turn out on to a serving plate. To make the icing glaze, mix the juice and icing sugar until perfectly smooth and white. Drizzle over the cake. Leave to set, then serve and enjoy!

I like to put the icing into a disposable piping bag and snip off a tiny corner and then pipe the icing on. It is very runny but gives a lovely effect and tastes wonderful.

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If making cupcakes with this recipe, there will be a lot of the icing glaze left over unless you put a thick coating on top of each cake! I tend to make 2 batches of the cakes and use the rest of the icing up on the second batch.

If you are making this recipe in a bundt tin, pour a third of the syrup over the cake while it is still in the tin. This obviously means you are pouring it over the bottom but you want most over the top. Turn the cake out of the tin after 15 minutes, and gently spoon the remaining syrup over the top while the cake is still warm, letting it absorb before adding more.

A lot of blogs have this recipe and most say the same thing… perfect every time and you don’t need to change anything about it. I hope you like it as much as we all do!