Easy Vanilla Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

There’s just something so good about a Lemon Drizzle Cake. Sweet & tangy, yet light & moist with tender crumbs – a lemon drizzle cake’s the perfect slice for a simple afternoon tea. The concept is very simple. A lemon drizzle cake is essentially a lemon-infused sponge cake loaf topped with a zesty lemon syrup glaze. And the good news is that it’s really easy for you to make it at home!

The key to a good lemon drizzle cake is the flavour balance. It’s about finding the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. I like to keep the lemon flavour subtle on the sponge and then offer that zingy punch with the glaze. In my opinion, the glaze is the component that brings the cake alive. It’s where you get the perfect citrusy flavour, which gets slightly soaked into the sponge itself later for further flavour infusion, as well as yielding extra texture where the glaze adds a light beautiful crisp over the cake.

A loaf of Lemon Drizzle Cake

How to make Vanilla Lemon Drizzle Cake at home

Ingredients You Need

  • Unsalted Butter – softened at room temperature (see recipe notes)
  • White Sugar
  • Self-raising Flour – or substitute with the equivalent amount of plain flour + 1 tsp of baking powder
  • Eggs
  • Milk – ideally full-fat milk (see recipe notes)
  • Fresh Lemon – both zest & juice
  • Vanilla Extract

What Tools You Need

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A loaf of Lemon Drizzle Cake

Recipe Notes

  • It is crucial that the butter has been set aside to room temperature before you start the recipe. This is the key to yielding a fluffy cake texture, which both cold hard butter nor warm/melted butter cannot achieve. By creaming together the butter and sugar, you are incorporating and then trapping air into it to prevent the cake from getting an overly dense texture.
  • To soften your butter, set your butter aside at room temperature for 1-2 hours prior to starting the recipe. The butter is ready when you poke at it and it forms an indent. It should still be cool to touch and not feel greasy at all where your finger may sink or slide down the butter.
  • Alternatively, Broma Bakery has a viral way of softening butter with body heat, or Sally’s Baking Recipes does it by utilising the remaining radiant heat of a microwave (not directly using the microwave).
  • The role of adding milk is to give the cake extra moisture. This is contributed by the fat content in the milk, hence full-fat milk is recommended. Semi-skimmed milk could still work but skimmed milk is not recommended.
Lemon Drizzle Cake slices

Vanilla Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipe

ET Food Voyage
A light but moist Vanilla Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe, featuring a zesty and tangy touch of flavour and a sugary top with a light crunch
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Cake
Servings 12 servings
Calories 359 kcal


  • Cake Loaf Tin
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Sift
  • Greaseproof Paper (for lining)


For the cake:

  • 226 g Unsalted Butter softened at room temperature
  • 220 g White Sugar
  • 266 g Self-raising Flour* sieved
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 tbsp Full Fat Milk*
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the topping:

  • 150 g Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Lemons use the same lemons from above


  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Cream together butter and sugar until smooth & fluffy.
    226 g Unsalted Butter, 220 g White Sugar
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the sieved flour until combined.
    4 Eggs, 266 g Self-raising Flour*
  • Mix in the milk and vanilla extract, then fold in the lemon zest.
    4 tbsp Full Fat Milk*, 1 tsp Vanilla Extract, Zest of 2 Lemons
  • Pour the cake batter into a greased/lined cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until golden and risen.
  • Set the cake aside to rest for 10 minutes to let it slightly cool down.
  • In the meantime, make the topping by mixing together the sugar and lemon juice.
    150 g Sugar, Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Spread the lemon syrup over the top of the cake and let it set. Enjoy!


  • You can substitute the self-raising flour with an equivalent amount of plain flour + 1 tsp of baking powder.
  • To soften the butter, make sure you set it aside at room temperature 1-2 hours prior to starting the recipe. Check out the full blog post for alternative methods if you are short on time.
  • Full-fat milk is recommended for this recipe as the fat content helps to create a rich & moist texture for the cake. Semi-skimmed milk could still work but skimmed milk is not recommended.
Keyword Cake, Lemon

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