This lemon drizzle cake from Paul Hollywood is a bright, citrusy version of the classic one-bowl lemon tea cake that’s topped with an irresistible crunchy lemon glaze. It’s Paul’s favorite cake and will likely be yours, too.
Adapted from Paul Hollywood | Bake | Bloomsbury Publishing, 2022
This is my favorite cake of all time. The perfect lemon drizzle has a light and airy sponge and a sharp, zesty crunchy topping. My version has quite an intense lemony flavor, but other than that it’s a total classic, and I don’t think you should mess with those classics. The only thing to remember is to pour over the drizzle while the cake is still warm.–Paul Hollywood
Lemon Drizzle Cake FAQs
Can this cake be made in mini-loaf pans?
Yes, it can! The batter for this cake will fill three standard mini-loaf pans. Be sure to adjust your baking time accordingly.
How should I serve lemon drizzle cake?
We think you can’t go wrong here, but topping a slice with homemade whipping cream, some fresh raspberries or strawberries, and a sprig of mint for color would be absolutely lovely. Alternately, eating a piece of freshly sliced cake over the kitchen sink is completely appropriate as well.
Can this cake be frozen?
It sure can, but take note that your frozen and thawed cake may not have the same lovely crunchy top that your fresh cake will. That said, if the cake is completely cooled and properly wrapped, it can be frozen for up to 6 months. It’s a great dessert to tuck away to have on hand in the event of last-minute guests!
How do I stop my cake from sinking in the middle?
A little sinking in the middle may be unavoidable, but to minimize it, avoid opening and closing the oven door or moving the pan as much as possible. Use your oven light to check on the cake and test it only when you’re fairly certain that it’s done.
☞ Like cakes? Try these:
- Easy Mixed Berry Snacking Cake
- Black Sesame and Lime Cake
- Hummingbird Loaf Cake
- Chocolate Wacky Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Paul Hollywood’s Lemon Drizzle Cake
For the lemon drizzle cake
- 1 stick plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, plus extra to grease the pan
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar (or blitz granulated sugar in a food processor until finely ground)
- Finely grated zest of 2 large lemons (about 3 tablespoons)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- A pinch of fine salt
- 2 to 3 tablespoons whole milk
For the crunchy lemon glaze
- Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Make the lemon drizzle cake
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and line a 2-pound loaf pan or a 9-by 5-inch (23-by 13-cm) loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until the mixture is very light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until smoothly combined. Add just enough milk so that the batter will slowly drop off of a spoon when scooped.
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and gently smooth the surface to level it. Bake until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
Make the crunchy lemon glaze
- Once you’ve removed the cake from the oven, mix the lemon juice and sugar together in a small liquid measuring cup.
- While the cake is still warm, use a toothpick to prick holes all over the top of the cake then spoon over the lemon drizzle. Leave to cool completely in the pan before removing.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This lemon-glazed cake was delicious, lemony, and buttery. I love all things lemon, and this is a great loaf cake. The bites with more of the lemon drizzle were fantastic–tart, sweet, lemony.
Oddly there were some bites near the bottom of the loaf that we not lemony, and, although they were buttery, they also seemed oddly dry. The variety of bites in one slice made me want another slice.
This Paul Hollywood recipe delivers great lemon flavor in a light, moist cake with a tender crumb. The preparation is simple and quick with just a few kitchen utensils and bowls to clean. This may not be the best lemon cake you will ever eat, but it will be one of the easiest preparations and scores highly because of delicious result created with such minimal effort.
The lemon flavor is front and center with just the right sweetness to complement the lemony citrus zing we all love.
I served the cake with fresh raspberries, strawberries, and whipped cream on the side.
This cake is surprisingly light and absolutely delicious! It’s perfect in the summer. Everyone (kids, teens, adults) raved about it and came back for more until it was gone.
This lemon drizzle cake was full of lemon flavor, very tender, and perfect for sharing. It’s would be good with a cup of tea, as a dessert on its own, or adorned with fresh fruit and whipped cream.
We enjoyed it at a dinner party, and it can easily serve 10 people. Everyone went back for seconds! I used a longer 13-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan. I added the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, and I ended up needing 4 tablespoons total. I was concerned all the stirring would lead to a tough crumb, but I was wrong. I can’t imagine it being any more tender! This is a keeper and deserves a permanent home in my recipe box.
Even with 3 tablespoons of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice added to the batter, this lemon drizzle cake still turned out light and quite delicious, without being too lemon-forward.
Originally published September 16, 2022
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
I recently started reading a book series titled “The Thursday Murder Club” by Richard Osman. Joyce, one of the primary characters, is forever baking for their meetings. Lemon drizzle cake is one of her favorites, and now I understand why.
I’d never heard of lemon drizzle cake, and when I saw the recipe I knew it was destiny.
The batter comes together in under 20 minutes. It’s moist, lemony, and buttery without being too sweet. The crumb is tender yet has a lovely texture, and the bursts of lemon flavor from the drizzle make this cake outstanding. I enjoyed it after my Sunday morning farmstand trip with a tall glass of cold brew.
This recipe is a keeper. Fancy it up for a dinner party, or simply enjoy with a cup of tea. Joyce would be proud!