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A slice of lemon drizzle cake on a white plate.
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5 from 2 votes

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Cake

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Cake is a tender, bright lemon cake that's covered in a 2-ingredient lemon drizzle creating a delicious crunch! Prep this tasty dessert in just 15 minutes!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Cooling Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 15 people
Calories: 271kcal

Equipment

  • 1 9x13-inch baking pan
  • Parchment paper
  • 1 Large mixing bowl
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Microplane or zester
  • Hand mixer
  • 2 rubber spatulas
  • 1 small mixing bowl
  • Pastry brush
  • Wire rack

Ingredients

Cake

  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter very soft - not melted
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ cup whole milk room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons lemon zest from about 2 large or 4 regular lemons

Drizzle

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 320°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter then line with parchment paper, pressing it down to secure. I like to use the wrapper from the butter used in the recipe to do the greasing.
  • Add the eggs, butter, sugar, flour, baking soda, milk, and zest to a large mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixing for about 1 minute until silky smooth and pale yellow, scrap down the sides of the bowl as needed.
    4 large eggs, 1 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup caster sugar, 2 cups self-rising flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, ¼ cup whole milk, 4 tablespoons lemon zest
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan, spread out evenly, and bake for 34 to 37 minutes.
  • Immediately after removing from the oven, use the lips of parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.
  • While the cake is cooling, stir together the granulated sugar and lemon juice. After the 15 minutes has passed, use a pastry brush to brush the lemon drizzle all over the top of the cake.
    1¾ cups granulated sugar, ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Allow the cake to cool for at least 30 minutes more so the drizzle creates a crust. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • This recipe is slightly adapted from Mary Berry's famous recipe. I did not use lemon verbena and I converted it over to standard American baking units for my readers.
  • It's important to grease the pan before adding the parchment so it's extra easy to lift out of the pan while hot.
  • You want the butter to be VERY soft, so I recommend taking it out the day before you plan to bake. 
  • When a recipe like this only has a handful of ingredients, it's important to make sure that each one is high quality to deliver the best flavor and texture possible.
  • Personally, I think that European or Irish butter is the key to the success of this cake. Amish or grass-fed butter are also great choices for this recipe. These butters have a higher butterfat content than your typical American butter, this means that they melt faster and create a softer texture in baked goods. They are also richer in flavor and more yellow in color.
  • It is really important that all of the ingredients are room temperature to create the best emulsion in the batter for the perfect tender crumb after baking.
  • It may not seem like there will be a strong lemon flavor since there's no juice in the batter and no zest in the drizzle, but I promise you, this cake is perfectly lemony. Not too overbearing, just bright and citrusy with a lovely sweetness and hint of zing.
  • This recipe can be baked in two 8x5-inch loaf pans or a bundt pan, however, baking it in the 9x13-inch pan will yield the best ratio and texture, in my opinion. 
  • Caster sugar is finer than granulated sugar but not as fine as powdered sugar. It is a common pantry staple in the UK, but may be hard to find at grocers in the US.
    • To make a substitute for 1 cup of caster sugar: add 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar to a food processor and pulse.
  • Do not add the drizzle when the cake is hot or it may melt the sugar and we want to have that granulated texture in the drizzle for the signature "crunch" of this recipe. So let it cool for 15 minutes before adding, but not too much longer since we don't want the cake to be completely cooled when added either.
  • You may be wondering why there's no salt listed in the ingredients, well, this recipe uses self-rising flour which is actually made with salt, so it's not necessary to add more.
  • If you don't have self-rising flour on hand, you can use 2 cups of all-purpose flour instead and add 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the recipe.
  • I personally serve this cake all on its own. It's light and fluffy and the lemon drizzle is the real highlight of this cake recipe. However, if you want to fancy it up a bit, homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries would be delightful.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 77mg | Sodium: 166mg | Potassium: 34mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 449IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1mg