Ali’s Lemon Drizzle Cake


Per discussion Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat, from 1661 to Today with Anne Willan.

Lemon Drizzle Cake comes from my dear assistant Ali and her mother who were one day bored on a rainy day (just how long ago they prefer to forget) and decided to put together a cake of whatever was in the kitchen. It was a lucky bet and the successful recipe for Lemon Drizzle Cake has lived on. For a more savory cake add a spoonful or two of poppy seeds. This cake mellows when tightly wrapped and kept for at least 2 days, but in Grandma’s house it is likely to survive only an hour or two! 

Makes 1 loaf to serve 8-10

3/4 cup/175 g butter, more for the pan
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup/175 g sugar
1/4 cup/60 ml milk
2 eggs
Grated zest of 2 lemons
Pinch of salt

For the drizzle

Juice of 2 lemons
3/4 cup/100g icing sugar

3x4x5-inch/7.5x10x12.5-cm loaf pan

  1. Heat the oven to 180oC/350ºF and set a shelf low down. Butter the loaf pan, line it with parchment paper and butter again. Sift the flour with the baking powder. For the batter: In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, add the sugar and beat until fluffy, 30-60 seconds. Add the flour, milk, eggs, lemon zest and salt and beat together until the batter is well mixed, 60-90 seconds. Spread the mixture in the loaf pan, pushing it well into the corners.

  2. Bake the cake in the oven until well risen, golden brown, and a cocktail stick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Leave it to cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes.

  3. While the cake is cooling, make the drizzle topping: in a small saucepan warm the lemon juice and icing sugar, gently stirring with a wooden spoon, 2-3 minutes. It will be pearly in color and should lightly coat the back of the spoon.

  4. Pour the drizzle over the cake while both are still warm, pricking the cake with the cocktail stick so the drizzle is absorbed.

  5. Leave the cake until cold, then lift it out of the tin, wrap it tightly and store at least two days. Peel off the parchment paper before serving. The best part of Drizzle Cake is the end pieces.