Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

Lemon Drizzle Cake Nigella Lawson
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 15 Mins Cook Time: 45 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr

Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Drizzle Cake is a classic British dessert that combines the zesty freshness of lemons with a moist and tender cake. It’s a delightful treat that’s perfect for tea time, family gatherings, or as a sweet end to any meal.

In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of making Nigella Lawson’s Lemon Drizzle Cake, providing clear instructions and helpful hints to ensure your cake is as flavorful and moist as it should be.

What is Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe?

Nigella lemon drizzle cake is a simple and elegant cake that is made with a basic lemon cake batter that is baked in a loaf tin and then poked with a skewer and drizzled with lemon syrup that seeps into the cake and makes it moist and flavorful. The cake is then sprinkled with some sugar to create a crunchy topping. The cake is best served warm or at room temperature, and it can be enjoyed on its own or with some whipped cream or ice cream.

This recipe can comfortably serve 8-10 people and takes about an hour to prepare and bake.

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Why You Love this Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe for Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake.

Here are some of them:

  • Simple Preparation: The recipe is straightforward, making it perfect for bakers of all skill levels. With basic kitchen tools and a set of simple ingredients, this cake comes together effortlessly.
  • Perfect for Any Occasion: Whether it’s a birthday party or a casual family gathering, this versatile cake fits in seamlessly. Its zesty flavor and elegant appearance make it suitable for various events.
  • Irresistible Taste: The cake’s fluffy texture is perfectly balanced by the zest of lemon, while the drizzle adds a juicy burst of flavor, complemented by a sweet and crunchy topping.

Ingredients Needed to Make Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

To make this recipe for Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake, you will need the following ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 125 g (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, softened
  • 175 g (3/4 cup) of caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 175 g (1 1/2 cups) of self-raising flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons of milk

For the syrup:

  • Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 100 g (1/2 cup) of icing sugar

For the topping:

  • 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

Useful Equipment

To make this recipe for Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake, you will need the following equipment:

  • A 23 x 13 x 7 cm (9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf tin
  • Baking parchment
  • A mixing bowl
  • A wooden spoon
  • A skewer
  • A small saucepan
  • A wire rack

Instructions Make Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake

To make this recipe for Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the Oven and Prepare the Loaf Tin

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) / 350°F (320°F fan) / Gas Mark 4.
  • Grease a 23 x 13 x 7 cm (9 x 5 x 3 inch) loaf tin with some butter or cooking spray.
  • Cut a piece of baking parchment that fits the bottom and the sides of the tin, leaving some overhang on the sides.
  • Line the tin with the parchment, smoothing out any wrinkles.

Step 2: Make the Cake Batter

  • In a large mixing bowl, cream 125 g (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter and 175 g (3/4 cup) of caster sugar together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. This may take about 10 minutes by hand, or 5 minutes with an electric mixer.
  • Add 2 large eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. The mixture may look curdled but don’t worry, it will come together later.
  • Stir in the zest of 1 lemon, using a fine grater or a zester. You can also use a vegetable peeler to peel off the yellow part of the lemon skin, and then chop it finely with a knife.
  • Sift 175 g (1 1/2 cups) of self-raising flour and a pinch of salt over the butter mixture and fold in gently with a wooden spoon. Don’t overmix, just stir until well combined.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of milk and mix well until you have a smooth and thick batter.

Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake prepration

Step 3: Bake the Cake

  • Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and level the surface with the back of the spoon.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. If the cake starts to brown too much on the top, cover it loosely with some foil halfway through the baking time.
  • While the cake is baking, make the syrup.

Step 4: Make the Syrup

  • In a small saucepan over low heat, stir together the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 100 g (1/2 cup) of icing sugar until the sugar dissolves. You can squeeze the lemons by hand or use a juicer.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside.

Step 5: Drizzle the Syrup and Sprinkle the Sugar

  • When the cake is done, take it out of the oven and leave it in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Then, poke the cake all over with a skewer, making sure to reach the bottom of the cake. You can also use a fork or a toothpick for this.
  • Slowly drizzle the syrup over the cake, letting it soak in. You can use a spoon or a measuring cup with a spout for this.
  • Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over the top of the cake, covering it evenly.

Step 6: Cool and Serve the Cake

  • Let the cake cool completely in the tin before removing it and transferring it to a wire rack. You can use the parchment overhang to lift the cake out of the tin.
  • Cut into slices and enjoy! You can serve the cake on its own or with some whipped cream or ice cream. You can also store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the cake for up to 3 months, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and foil. To thaw, leave the cake at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake

What Do I Serve With Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake?

Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake is delicious on its own, but you can also serve it with some whipped cream or ice cream for a more indulgent treat. You can also serve it with some fresh berries or fruit salad for a refreshing contrast. This cake goes well with a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of milk or lemonade.

Lemon Drizzle Cake Nigella Lawson

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake

Here are some pro tips to make your Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake even better:

  • Use fresh lemons: For the best flavor and aroma, use fresh lemons rather than bottled lemon juice or zest. You can also use organic lemons if possible, as they have more natural oils in their skin.
  • Don’t overmix the batter: To avoid a tough or dense cake, don’t overmix the batter after adding the flour. Just fold it in gently until well combined, and don’t worry if there are some lumps.
  • Don’t overbake the cake: To ensure a moist and fluffy cake, don’t overbake it. Check it after 40 minutes and insert a skewer in the center. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. If not, bake it for another 5 minutes and check again.
  • Poke the cake while it’s hot: To allow the syrup to soak into the cake, poke it with a skewer while it’s still hot and in the tin. Don’t wait until it cools down, as the cake will become firmer and less absorbent.
  • Sprinkle the sugar while the cake is wet: To create a crunchy topping, sprinkle the sugar over the cake while the syrup is still wet. Don’t wait until the syrup dries, as the sugar will not stick to the cake.

Variations of Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake

You can also try some variations of Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake to suit your taste and preferences.

Here are some ideas:

  • Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake: Add 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the cake batter and mix well. This will add some crunch and texture to the cake, as well as a nutty flavor.
  • Lemon and Blueberry Cake: Add 150 g (1 cup) of fresh or frozen blueberries to the cake batter and fold in gently. This will add some color and sweetness to the cake, as well as some antioxidants.
  • Lemon and Coconut Cake: Replace the milk with coconut milk and add 50 g (1/2 cup) of desiccated coconut to the cake batter and mix well. This will add some tropical flavor and moisture to the cake, as well as some fiber.
  • Lemon and Almond Cake: Replace 50 g (1/2 cup) of the flour with ground almonds add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the cake batter and mix well. This will add some richness and nuttiness to the cake, as well as some protein.

How do I store Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake Leftovers?

Ensuring your Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake remains as delightful as when first baked is simple with these storage tips:

  • Room Temperature Storage: Keep the cake in an airtight container at room temperature, where it will stay fresh for up to 3 days.
  • Refrigeration: For a slightly longer shelf life, refrigerate the cake in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing for Extended Storage: Wrap the cake snugly in plastic wrap and then in foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature for a few hours or overnight before serving.

How do I reheat Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake Leftovers?

To bring back the warmth and freshness of the cake, follow these simple reheating methods:

  • Microwave Reheating: Heat a slice in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds for a quick warm-up.
  • Oven Reheating: Warm the cake in an oven preheated to 160°C (140°C fan) / 320°F (280°F fan) / Gas Mark 3 for about 5 to 10 minutes, ideal for larger portions.
  • Enjoying it Cold: The cake is equally delicious when enjoyed cold or at room temperature, retaining its moist and flavorful qualities.

Nutrition value (per slice, based on 10 servings):

  • Calories: 346 kcal
  • Fat: 14.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 52.9 g
  • Protein: 4.1 g
  • Fiber: 0.8 g
  • Sugar: 37.5 g
  • Sodium: 178 mg
  • Calcium: 34 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg


Can I make Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake without a loaf tin?

Yes, you can use an alternative baking tin if you don’t have a loaf tin. A round or square cake tin with a similar capacity will work. However, keep in mind that the baking time might vary slightly depending on the shape and depth of the tin used. It’s important to monitor the cake and perform the skewer test to check for doneness.

How do I ensure my lemon drizzle cake is moist and not dry?

To ensure your lemon drizzle cake remains moist, avoid overbaking it. Check the cake a few minutes before the recommended baking time. Once the skewer comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven. Also, ensure you drizzle the lemon syrup evenly over the cake while it’s still warm, as this adds moisture.

Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons for the recipe?

While fresh lemons are recommended for the best flavor and zest, you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch. The fresh zest, however, is harder to substitute as it adds a unique fresh and tangy flavor to the cake.

Is it possible to make this cake gluten-free?

Yes, you can make a gluten-free version of the Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake by substituting the self-raising flour with a gluten-free self-raising flour blend. Ensure to check the blend for any additional leavening agents needed and adjust the recipe accordingly.

Can I add other ingredients to the cake batter for variation?

Absolutely! You can customize this cake by adding ingredients like poppy seeds, blueberries, or a hint of almond extract. These additions should be gently folded into the batter just before pouring it into the tin to maintain the cake’s texture.

Final Words

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned how to make Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake. This cake is a simple and elegant dessert that is perfect for any occasion. It is moist, fluffy, and bursting with lemon flavor. It is also easy to make, with only a few ingredients and steps. You can also customize this cake with some variations, such as lemon and poppy seed, lemon and blueberry, lemon and coconut, or lemon and almond. You can serve this cake on its own or with some whipped cream or ice cream. You can also store this cake in an airtight container or freeze it for later. This cake is a crowd-pleaser, and it is sure to brighten up your day with its zesty flavor. I hope you give this recipe a try and let me know how it turns out. Thank you for reading and happy baking!

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