Zesty Lemon Cake

15-03-13-zesty-lemon-cakeThis is a genoise style sponge which can be a bit more tricky, but a higher proportion of butter and the addition of a little baking powder should help produce a wonderfully light sponge. The sweetness of the butter cream filling is offset by the zingy lemon syrup; the cake in the accompanying photo was made with gluten free flour. The sponge can be made ahead and frozen

Cuts into 12-16 pieces.



For the sponge
200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs
225g golden caster sugar
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

For the lemon syrup
Juice and zest 2 lemons
50g golden caster sugar
3 tbsp water

For the butter cream
200g unsalted butter, softened
350g icing sugar
Zest 1 lemon
3 tbsp lemon curd

23cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment

Oven 180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C

How to make it

  • In a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar with an electric hand whisk until the eggs are pale cream, doubled in volume and hold a ribbon pattern on top of the mixture. This may take 5-6 mins.
  • Drizzle the cooled butter around the edge of the bowl, and sift the flour and baking powder over the top with a pinch of salt. Using a large metal spoon fold everything together until just combined, being careful not to knock out too much air.
  • Carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for approx 40 mins until golden and a skewer inserted to the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • Leave to cool completely in the tin, then carefully remove.
  • For the syrup, put the ingredients in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, bubble for a few mins until the sugar has dissolved, then leave to cool.
  • For the butter cream, beat the butter and icing sugar together, add the lemon zest, lemon curd and milk, and beat until smooth.
  • When the cake is totally cool, carefully slice into 2 layers. Place the bottom layer on a plate and spoon over half of the syrup, then spread with half the butter cream. Spoon the remaining syrup on the underside of the top half and place onto the bottom half. Spread with the remaining butter cream.
  • I have decorated this cake with the zest of another lemon, using a zester rather than a grater which produces longer curly stands.

Alternative filling and topping: make the lemon butter cream with butter, icing sugar and lemon zest and spread half on the bottom cake layer. Then with a good quality lemon curd spread a generous layer onto the cream before placing the top half of the cake onto the bottom half. Spread with the remaining butter cream. Dot the top with more lemon curd and swirl into the cream.

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