How to make the perfect lemon drizzle cake and the common mistakes to avoid 

The best cake to bring to a friend, and one that keeps in a tin for up to a week - could there be anything better than a lemony slice of deliciousness? 
How to make the perfect lemon drizzle cake and the common mistakes to avoid 

Lemon drizzle cake is simple but always delicious

Cream as long as you can 

Cream the butter and sugar together until the butter has lightened significantly and the mixture is extremely light. Add the eggs one at a time and don't worry if it looks like it curdles, it is supposed to look like that. 

Keep the door closed

If you want an even bake, you must have an even temperature. Keep the oven door closed. 

Go for the middle

The middle shelf is the best shelf for baking sponge. It ensures less cracking and even cooking. 

Don't use icing sugar

The drizzle in this cake is very definitely not icing. It is a syrup, and so should be made with caster sugar and lemon juice. In a pinch, you can substitute icing sugar, but it must be boiled to dissolve to a syrup. 

Avoid a soggy bottom

If you add the drizzle to your lemon cake when it is just out of the oven, the drizzle will sink to the bottom of the cake, leaving the top dry and the bottom soggy. Wait ten minutes after it has come out of the oven and soak the cake then. 

Darina Allen's Perfect Lemon Drizzle Cake 

Serves 6-8 


  • 175 g butter 
  • 175 g caster sugar 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 175 g self-raising flour 
  • Grated zest of one large lemon 
  • 2 extra tbsp caster sugar 
  • Juice of one large lemon 


Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.

Cream the butter and sugar together and add the eggs and flour alternately, a tablespoon at a time, beating in gently. Finally, add the lemon zest (reserving the remainder of the lemon) and pour the cake mixture into a greased and lined 900 g/ 2 Ib loaf tin.

Bake in the centre of the oven for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown and firm to touch. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

Meanwhile strain the juice of the lemon and add it to the 2 tablespoons of caster sugar in a small saucepan. Boil the mixture together for 2 minutes until the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the tin, prick the surface lightly with a fine skewer.

Pour the lemon syrup over the cake ten minutes after it is out of the oven, leaving it to become cold before turning onto a plate to serve.

More in this section


The best food, health, entertainment and lifestyle content from the Irish Examiner, direct to your inbox.

Sign up