Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 45 Mins Total Time: 55 Mins

Lemon drizzle cake is one of the most popular and delicious cakes in the UK. It’s moist, tangy, and sweet, with a crunchy lemon glaze on top. It’s perfect for tea time, dessert, or any occasion.

In this article, I will show you how to make a lemon drizzle cake using Delia Smith’s recipe. I will explain each step in detail, and give you some tips and tricks to make your cake even better. By the end of this article, you will be able to bake a lemon drizzle cake that will impress your friends and family.

What is Delia Smith’s Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe?

Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake is a moist and delicious cake that is flavored with fresh lemon zest and juice, and topped with a crunchy lemon glaze. It is a classic British cake that is easy to make and perfect for any occasion.

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Why You Love this Recipe

Delia Smith’s Lemon Drizzle Cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a symphony of flavors and textures that makes it a beloved treat for all occasions.

Here’s why this recipe stands out:

  • Effortless Elegance: The recipe is straightforward, making it accessible even for novice bakers. Delia Smith’s method ensures a no-fail approach to achieving the perfect lemon cake.
  • Explosion of Flavors: The cake strikes the perfect balance between the zesty tang of lemon and the comforting sweetness of the sponge. The lemon zest infuses the cake with a refreshing citrus aroma, while the drizzle adds a sugary lemon tang.
  • Texture Play: What sets this cake apart is the delightful contrast in textures – a moist, tender crumb inside and a crispy, sugary glaze on top.
  • Customizable Creation: This versatile recipe allows for creative tweaks. Add poppy seeds for a subtle crunch, or fold in lemon curd for an extra lemony zing. The recipe also adapts well to various forms, from cupcakes to bundt cakes.
  • Universal Appeal: Perfect for any gathering, from a casual afternoon tea to a celebratory dessert, this cake is a crowd-pleaser. It’s also great for making ahead, as the flavors deepen over time.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake

To make a lemon drizzle cake, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 175 g (6 oz) of self-raising flour
  • 175 g (6 oz) of caster sugar
  • 175 g (6 oz) of softened butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 lemons
  • 75 g (3 oz) of granulated sugar

Useful Equipment

  • A 2 lb loaf tin
  • A baking parchment or greaseproof paper
  • A grater
  • A juicer or a fork
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A wooden spoon or an electric whisk
  • A skewer or a cake tester
  • A wire rack
  • A small saucepan

Instructions to Make Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake

Follow these steps to make a lemon drizzle cake:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the tin

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).
  • Grease the loaf tin with some butter, and line it with baking parchment or greaseproof paper. This will make it easier to remove the cake from the tin later.
  • Cut one of the lemons in half, and rub the cut side over the parchment or paper. This will add some extra lemon flavor and aroma to the cake.

Step 2: Grate and juice the lemons

  • Grate the zest of both lemons and set aside. The zest is the yellow part of the lemon peel, which contains the essential oils and flavor. Be careful not to grate the white part, which is bitter and unpleasant.
  • Juice one of the lemons, and set aside. You can use a juicer or a fork to squeeze out the juice. You should get about 4 tablespoons of juice.
  • Save the other lemon for later. You will need it for the drizzle.

Step 3: Mix the batter

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. You can use a wooden spoon or an electric whisk to do this. Caster sugar is finer than granulated sugar and dissolves more easily in the butter. This will give your cake a smoother texture and a finer crumb.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. If the mixture looks curdled, don’t worry. It will come together once you add the flour.
  • Sift in the flour, and fold it gently into the mixture. Sifting the flour will aerate it and remove any lumps. Folding it gently will prevent overmixing, which can make the cake tough and dense.
  • Stir in the lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice. This will give your cake a lovely lemon flavor and moisture.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, and level the surface with a spatula or a knife.

Step 4: Bake the cake

  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and risen. You can check if the cake is done by inserting a skewer or a cake tester into the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If it has some batter on it, bake the cake for a few more minutes and check again.
  • Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and leave it in the tin for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Make the drizzle

  • While the cake is cooling in the tin, make the drizzle. Juice the remaining lemon, and measure out 4 tablespoons of juice. You may need to top it up with some water if you don’t have enough juice.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the granulated sugar and the lemon juice over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil the mixture, or it will become too thick and harden on the cake.
  • The drizzle should be thin and syrupy, and have a balance of sweetness and tartness.

Step 6: Drizzle the cake

  • Poke some holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer or a fork. This will help the drizzle soak into the cake and make it moist and flavorful.
  • Spoon the drizzle evenly over the cake, letting it run down the sides and into the holes. You may not need to use all the drizzle, depending on how wet you like your cake.
  • Leave the cake in the tin until it is completely cool, and the drizzle has set.

Step 7: Enjoy your cake

  • Carefully lift the cake out of the tin, and peel off the parchment or paper. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or a cake stand.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy your lemon drizzle cake. You can serve it plain, or with some whipped cream or ice cream if you like.
  • Store any leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to a week.

Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe Delia Smith

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake?

Delia Smith’s Lemon Drizzle Cake is delightful on its own, but pairing it with complementary sides can elevate the overall experience.

  • Creamy Complements: A dollop of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream can add a luxurious richness to the cake, balancing the sharpness of the lemon.
  • Fruit Pairings: Fresh berries, such as strawberries or blueberries, offer a juicy burst of flavor and a beautiful color contrast. The natural sweetness of the fruit complements the tanginess of the lemon.
  • Lemon-Infused Accents: Enhance the lemon flavor with a spoonful of lemon curd alongside each slice or a drizzle of lemon-flavored syrup over the cake for an intensified citrus experience.
  • Warm Beverages: Serve with a hot cup of Earl Grey tea or a creamy latte to create a cozy and comforting pairing, especially on a chilly day.
  • Dessert Wine: For an elegant dessert course, pair the cake with a sweet dessert wine, such as a Moscato or a Riesling, which harmonizes beautifully with the lemony notes of the cake.

Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake

Elevate your Lemon Drizzle Cake to perfection with these refined tips, inspired by Delia Smith’s renowned baking expertise:

  1. Lemon Quality: Always opt for fresh, preferably organic lemons. Their zest and juice are pivotal for the cake’s flavor. Bottled lemon juice can’t replicate the freshness and may contain additives that affect the cake’s taste.
  2. Ingredient Temperature: Ensure all ingredients, especially butter, eggs, and lemons, are at room temperature. This facilitates smoother mixing, resulting in a more uniform batter.
  3. Baking Precision: Monitor the cake closely towards the end of the baking time. Overbaking can dry out the cake. Remove it from the oven as soon as a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Drizzle Technique: Apply the lemon drizzle judiciously. Excess can make the cake soggy. Allow each application to soak in before adding more, achieving the perfect balance of moistness and flavor.
  5. Optimal Storage: Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days to maintain freshness. Refrigerating the cake can alter its texture and flavor.

Variations of Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake

Explore these delightful variations of Delia Smith’s Lemon Drizzle Cake to infuse new flavors and textures into this classic recipe:

  • Poppy Seed Twist: Incorporate 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds into the batter for a subtle crunch and visual appeal, enhancing the traditional lemon flavor.
  • Lemon-Lime Fusion: Use equal parts lemon and lime zest and juice for a vibrant, tangy twist. This combination introduces an exciting new dimension to the classic lemon taste.
  • Tropical Coconut Variant: Blend 50 g of desiccated coconut into the batter. Swap the regular sugar in the drizzle with coconut sugar for a hint of tropical sweetness and unique flavor.
  • Berry-Lemon Delight: Gently fold 150 g of fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter. Top the baked cake with additional blueberries before drizzling for a burst of fruity flavor and a colorful presentation.

How do I store Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake Leftovers?

Proper storage is key to maintaining the freshness and flavor of your Lemon Drizzle Cake:

  • Room Temperature Storage: Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap or foil, or place it in an airtight container. This keeps the cake fresh for up to 3 days without losing its moisture and flavor.
  • Refrigeration: Store in the fridge for up to a week. If refrigerated, let the cake come to room temperature before serving to enhance its texture and flavor.
  • Freezing for Longevity: For longer storage, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil, and place it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label with the date and name. This method preserves the cake for up to 3 months.

How do I reheat Delia Smith Lemon Drizzle Cake Leftovers?

Enjoy your Lemon Drizzle Cake warm with these reheating methods:

  1. Oven Reheating: Preheat the oven to 160°C (140°C fan, gas mark 3). Place the cake slices on a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and warm for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Microwave Method: Place slices on a microwave-safe plate, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 10-15 seconds. Be cautious not to overheat to avoid drying out the cake.
  3. Toaster Oven: Toast the slices for 5-10 minutes until warm. Optionally, drizzle with a little extra lemon juice or syrup before toasting to enhance moisture and flavor

Nutrition value per slice (based on 12 slices):

  • Calories: 335 kcal
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 31 g
  • Sodium: 178 mg
  • Potassium: 79 mg
  • Vitamin C: 15 mg
  • Calcium: 49 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg

Can I make Delia Smith’s Lemon Drizzle Cake in a different-sized tin?

Yes, you can adapt the recipe for different-sized tins. For a round tin, ensure it has a similar volume capacity to the recommended loaf tin. Adjust baking times accordingly – a shallower tin often requires less baking time. Always do the skewer test to check if the cake is done.

How can I ensure my Lemon Drizzle Cake has a strong lemon flavor?

To intensify the lemon flavor, use the zest of both lemons in the batter. Ensure you’re using fresh, high-quality lemons for the best taste. Additionally, you can increase the amount of lemon juice in the drizzle, but be careful not to make the cake too soggy.

My Lemon Drizzle Cake is too dry. What did I do wrong?

Dryness can result from overbaking or not adding enough moisture. Make sure to bake the cake just until a skewer comes out clean. Also, ensure you’re using the correct measurements of butter and eggs, and add the lemon drizzle while the cake is still warm to soak in properly.


Lemon drizzle cake is a classic and easy cake that anyone can make. It’s moist, tangy, and sweet, with a crunchy lemon glaze on top. It’s perfect for tea time, dessert, or any occasion.

By following Delia Smith’s recipe, you can make a lemon drizzle cake that tastes as good as hers. Just follow the steps in this article, and use the tips and tricks to make your cake even better.

I hope you enjoyed this article, and learned how to make a lemon drizzle cake using Delia Smith’s recipe. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.

Happy baking!

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