This lemon drizzle cake might be my favorite British bake. I love bright flavors & zingy icings, and this cake delivers. If you’re not a fan of lemon, look away now, because this cake has loads of pure lemon flavor.
The traditional British lemon drizzle cake is usually a round one layer. The light sponge cake is poked full of holes and drizzled with lemon syrup while still warm from the oven. The drizzle makes every bite perfectly moist & full of that pucker-y lemon goodness while also giving a nice crackly top to the cake. The final result is a lemon-y dream.
My recipe is a riff on that classic technique.
Instead of the traditional creaming method, I make a lemon drizzle loaf using a quick bread method. I tried baking the traditional lemon drizzle cake recipe in a loaf pan with mixed results. It was still delicious, but the delicate batter is more temperamental in the taller sides and depth of a loaf pan than in the standard round pan.
I don’t have the patience for this. Enter the quick bread method.
This method produces a sturdier cake than the delicate sponge of the traditional lemon drizzle, and it slices extremely well in either thick or thin pieces depending on your appetite. Despite the change in method, this loaf lemon drizzle cake has the same flavor and is just as moist and perfectly addictive as the traditional mixing method.
To make this gem is the most simple thing. First, combine the dry ingredients (including sugar). Mix the liquid ingredients, add the dry to the liquid, stir in the zest, and Bob’s your uncle. Once the loaf is baked and still warm, drench it in the warmed lemon syrup. The syrup soaks into the cake and makes the crumb perfectly moist but not at all soggy. Once the cake is cooled, up the lemon flavor even a little bit more by adding an extra little bit of zingy glaze on top.
This cake is the perfect loaf version of a lemon drizzle cake. If you’re a fan of lemon-y, not-too-sweet sweets you’re gonna love this!
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Lemon Drizzle Cake
This Lemon Drizzle Cake is drenched in a bright lemon syrup while it's still warm from the oven. The result is a perfectly moist cake, full of lemon-y flavor with a bright crunchy top. This pucker-y perfect classic British bake is sure to be a new favorite.
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted & slightly cooled
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon zest
For the lemon drizzle syrup
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
For the lemon glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven the 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla until the eggs are completely integrated. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Whisk in the zest.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven when a skewer or paring knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest for 5-10 minutes while you make the drizzle.*
Make and pour the drizzle:
Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small, non-reactive sauce pan. Heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar has dissolved and you have a lovely lemon syrup.
Poke holes all over the cake using wooden skewers.** Slowly pour the drizzle evenly over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan. Once the cake it totally cooled, make the glaze.
Make the glaze:
Whisk together the powdered sugar and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. Slowly add more of the lemon juice as needed until the glaze is a consistency that you like. I like the glaze a bit more thin so that it just creates a thin lemony crust over the top of the cake, so I use two whole tablespoons of lemon juice. Use more or less to your taste.
Remove the cake from the pan and pour the glaze over the top. Allow the glaze to set before serving. Enjoy!
*It's important to pour the drizzle over the cake while it's still hot so that it absorbed into the crumb. Do not let the cake cool for more than 10 minutes before pouring over the drizzle!
**I use long wooden skewers rather than toothpicks for this job because the toothpicks are quite long enough to reach all the way from the top of the loaf to the bottom. You want the syrup to go all the way through the cake so you need to poke holes all the way through the cake!