Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe

Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 25 Mins Cook Time: 35 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake is light, moist, and bursting with lemon flavor. It is also simple to make, with only a few ingredients and steps. You don’t need any fancy equipment or skills to bake this cake. All you need is a mixing bowl, a whisk, a cake tin, and an oven.

In this article, I will show you how to make Delia Smith’s lemon sponge cake, with a complete step-by-step guide. You will also learn some tips and tricks to make your cake even better. Let’s get started!

What is Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe?

Delia Smith lemon sponge cake is a classic British dessert, made with a simple sponge cake that is soaked with lemon syrup and topped with lemon icing. It is named after Delia Smith, a famous British cook, writer, and television presenter, who published this recipe in her book Delia’s Cakes in 2013. This cake is light, moist, and bursting with lemon flavor, and it is easy to make with only a few ingredients and steps.

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Why You Love this Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe for Delia Smith lemon sponge cake.

Here are some of them:

  • Ease of Preparation: This recipe is straightforward, requiring basic kitchen tools like a mixing bowl, whisk, and oven.
  • Versatility: Perfect for various occasions, it can be customized with additions like lemon zest or poppy seeds.
  • Delicious Flavor: The cake’s soft, moist texture combined with the lemon’s tanginess makes it an irresistible treat.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake Recipe

To make this recipe for Delia Smith’s lemon sponge cake, you will need the following ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 175 g (6 oz) of self-raising flour
  • 1 level teaspoon of baking powder
  • 175 g (6 oz) of softened butter
  • 175 g (6 oz) of caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon

For the syrup:

  • Juice of 1 and a half lemons
  • 100 g (4 oz) of granulated sugar

For the icing:

  • 150 g (5 oz) of icing sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

Useful Equipment

To make this recipe for Delia Smith’s lemon sponge cake, you will need the following equipment:

  • A 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin, or a 900 g (2 lb) loaf tin, greased and lined with baking parchment
  • A large mixing bowl
  • A whisk, electric or manual
  • A skewer or a cake tester
  • A wire rack
  • A small saucepan
  • A small bowl
  • A spoon

Instructions Make Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake

To make this recipe for Delia Smith’s lemon sponge cake, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare the cake tin

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan, gas mark 4).
  • Grease and line your cake tin with baking parchment, making sure that the parchment comes up a little above the edges of the tin. This will help you to lift the cake out later.

prepration of Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake

Step 2: Make the cake batter

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the baking powder, until well combined.
  • Add the butter, sugar, eggs, and lemon zest, and whisk again, until you have a smooth and creamy batter. You can use an electric whisk or a manual one, but make sure that you whisk for at least 2 minutes, to incorporate some air into the batter. This will make your cake rise and be fluffy.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin, and level the surface with the back of a spoon. Tap the tin lightly on the work surface, to get rid of any air bubbles.

making cake batter for Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake

Step 3: Bake the cake

  • Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it is golden and springy to the touch. You can also insert a skewer or a cake tester into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, and leave it in the tin for 5 minutes, to cool slightly.

Step 4: Make the syrup

  • While the cake is cooling in the tin, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice and the granulated sugar, and heat over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil the syrup, as this will make it too thick and sticky.
  • Pierce the top of the cake all over with a skewer or a cake tester, making sure that you reach the bottom of the cake. This will help the syrup to soak into the cake evenly.
  • Spoon the syrup over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides and into the holes. Use up all the syrup, and don’t worry if some of it pools around the edges of the cake. The cake will absorb it as it cools.

Step 5: Make the icing

  • Once the cake is completely cool, make the icing. In a small bowl, sift the icing sugar, and add the lemon juice. Stir well, until you have a smooth and runny icing. You can adjust the consistency by adding more lemon juice or more icing sugar, depending on how thick or thin you want your icing to be.
  • Carefully lift the cake out of the tin, using the parchment paper as handles, and place it on a wire rack over a tray or a plate. This will catch any excess icing that drips off the cake.
  • Spoon the icing over the top of the cake, letting it spread and drip down the sides. You can use a spoon or a palette knife to smooth the icing or leave it as it is, for a rustic look.

Step 6: Enjoy your cake

  • Your cake is now ready to enjoy. You can cut it into slices and serve it as it is, or with some whipped cream or ice cream if you like. You can also store the cake in an airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months. To defrost the cake, leave it at room temperature for a few hours, or in the fridge overnight.

Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake

What Do I Serve With Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake?

When it comes to serving Delia Smith’s Lemon Sponge Cake, there are delightful options to enhance its flavor and presentation. This cake is versatile and pairs well with various accompaniments:

  • Creamy Additions: A dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream complements the cake’s tanginess beautifully.
  • Fruit Pairings: Fresh berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries not only add a burst of color but also a fresh, tangy contrast.
  • Beverage Pairings: To complete the experience, serve this cake with a warm cup of tea, a rich coffee, or a glass of cold milk, each enhancing the cake’s lemony zest in its own way.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake

Achieving the perfect lemon sponge cake involves attention to detail and some baking insights:

  • Lemon Freshness: For the most aromatic and flavorful cake, use fresh, organic lemons. Experimenting with other citrus fruits like oranges, limes, or grapefruits can offer a delightful variety.
  • Butter Consistency: Ensure your butter is softened, not melted, to achieve a smooth, lump-free batter. Soften the butter at room temperature or give it a quick microwave burst, stirring frequently.
  • Whisking Technique: Whisk the batter for at least two minutes. This incorporates air, resulting in a lighter, fluffier cake. Use a high-speed setting and periodically scrape the bowl’s sides.
  • Baking Precision: Avoid overbaking, which dries out the cake. Check for doneness after 35 minutes with a skewer test and avoid frequently opening the oven door.
  • Syrup Absorption: Before applying the syrup, pierce the cake all over. This ensures even distribution and absorption, enhancing the cake’s moisture and flavor.
  • Icing Application: Let the cake cool completely before icing to prevent melting. For easier cutting and serving, briefly refrigerate the cake to set the icing.

Variations of Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake

The beauty of this recipe lies in its adaptability.

Here are some creative twists:

  • Lemon and Poppy Seed: Incorporate 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds into the batter for added texture and visual appeal.
  • Lemon and Blueberry: Blend 150 g of fresh or frozen blueberries into the batter for bursts of sweet, fruity flavor.
  • Lemon and Coconut: Swap 50 g of flour with desiccated coconut for a tropical twist, adding both flavor and texture.
  • Lemon and Almond: Replace 50 g of flour with ground almonds, enriching the cake with a nutty flavor and nutritious fats.
  • Lemon and Ginger: Adding 2 teaspoons of ground ginger introduces a warm, spicy note, perfect for those who enjoy a bit of heat.

How do I store Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake Leftovers?

Ensuring the freshness and taste of Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake leftovers is easy with proper storage techniques.

Here are some refined tips to help preserve the quality of your cake:

  • Complete Cooling: Wait until the cake is entirely cool before storage. This step is vital to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to a soggy texture or potential mold growth.
  • Intact Storage: Avoid slicing the cake before storage. Keeping the cake whole minimizes exposure to air and moisture, thereby slowing down the drying process.
  • Parchment Barrier: Place parchment or wax paper between the cake and the container’s lid. This simple measure keeps the icing from sticking and preserves its glossy appearance.
  • Label for Freshness: Mark the storage container with the date and cake name. This practice helps track freshness and prevents accidental consumption of stale cake.

How do I reheat Delia Smith Lemon Sponge Cake Leftovers?

Reheating lemon sponge cake leftovers can be done effortlessly while retaining the cake’s moisture and flavor.

Follow these steps for optimal reheating:

  • Pre-Slice for Even Heating: Cut the cake into individual slices before reheating. This ensures each piece warms up uniformly and quickly.
  • Microwave Method: For a quick option, place the slices on a microwave-safe plate. Cover them loosely with a damp paper towel to maintain moisture. Microwave for 10-15 seconds, just until warm. Be cautious not to overheat, as this can dry out and toughen the cake.
  • Oven Reheating: For a more evenly warmed texture, place the slices on a baking sheet and loosely cover with aluminum foil. This protects the cake from direct heat, preserving the icing’s appearance. Heat in a preheated oven at 160°C (140°C fan, gas mark 3) for 10-15 minutes. This gentle reheating method ensures the cake remains moist and soft without overbaking.

Nutrition value per slice (based on 12 slices):

  • Calories: 386 kcal
  • Fat: 19 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugar: 39 g
  • Sodium: 121 mg
  • Calcium: 31 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg
  • Vitamin C: 9 mg

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