Lemon Tea Cake



By Jodi Jackson www.everydayinthegarden.com

This lemon tea cake is the first recipe I learnt to cook on my own. I must have been in my early teens, inspired by my neighbour Val and the warm and wonderful aromas that were always wafting out of her kitchen.

Times have changed a lot since then and although I often mess around with the recipe it remains my old faithful.

Now, I never get fussy with sifting or anything fancy when I make this cake – it simply looks after itself.

If you have other citrus on hand you can use what you have. I often mix it up so it’s like a fruit salad tea cake 😉

You can present this cake in a number of ways. Below I have provided four of my preferred methods for presenting this cake – none of them are at all difficult!

Lemon Tea Cake

  • 220g softened butter
  • 3/4 cup of caster sugar (I use raw sugar but you can use whatever you like)
  • The zest of 2 lemons (mix it up if you like, 2-3 mandarines, 2-3 limes or 1 orange or tangelo)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups of plain flour (if you are using SR flour use the same quantity but omit the baking powder and salt)
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Alright – Lets Cook!

Cream your butter and sugar.

While that’s mixing, finely grate your zest. You can chop it up if you like.

Add it to the mixer followed by your eggs, one at a time until each is completely incorporated.

Now mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add this to the mixer a little at a time. When it is thoroughly combined add the lemon juice and mix again until it looks lovely like this:

Mmm… Sexy!

Now pour the batter into a greased and floured cake tin. I usually make this cake in a loaf tin but today I decided to go with the Kugelhopf tin.

Pop it in the oven for 50-60min. Testing it with a skewer to ensure it is cooked through.

If like me you have used a Kugelhopf tin, you will need to let the cake rest in the tin for 15-20 min. As the cake cools it will shrink somewhat freeing it from the sides of the tin. It should come away cleanly.


Now there are a number of ways that you could do this. If you want to keep it simple you could sift some icing sugar over the top of your cake once it is completely cool. Or you could melt a tablespoon of butter, brush it over the top and sprinkle the cake with sugar.

You could also top it off with a layer of lemon curd. This is the perfect icing if you have made the batter into cup cakes (note the cooking time will be less). I often use this icing if I have baked it in a round or  loaf tin.

Lemon Curd:

4 eggs lightly beaten

1 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

125g butter

You will need a double boiler for this – if you don’t have one half fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a simmer. Over the top place a mixing bowl and there you have it!

So, place your eggs and sugar into the bowl on top of the saucepan. Whisk until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and butter, continuing to mix until the curd thickens up – this could take 15 min or more.

Once the curd is done spread it over your cake.

Or… you could turn your cake into a syrupy delight! If you chose this option I think that it is better to bake your cake in a loaf tin. Beware though – this cake will need 6-12 hrs in the fridge. Its totally worth it!

For the syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 strips of lemon rind (use your peeler)

Place all of your ingredients into a saucepan placed over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the liquid to simmer for 10 minutes or until it has become thick and syrupy. Carefully remove the rind.

Now you need to go over to your warm cake that has been left to sit in the tin. Take a skewer and poke holes all over the top of the cake. Don’t be too dramatic – you still want your cake to look good =)

Now pour over the syrup. Pop the cake in the fridge for at least a few hours – overnight is best as the cake will firm up.

When its ready turn it right side up and rest it on a plate that is at least 2-3cm wider than the cake. I like to serve this warmed with lashings of cream or  ice-cream.



7 thoughts on “Lemon Tea Cake

  1. davena says:

    oooohhhh what a beautiful cake we have two lemon trees to share and our neighbours seem to all have lemon trees as well lol so I am wondering besides friends and daycare centres who else would i share with…but great idea and thanks for the share of the recipe

  2. Elizabeth (Libby) Woods says:

    Doubleview Dolphin Guides (Perth WA) will ve getting on with this Lemon Tree Project in 2014. One of the items to do is to do ‘Find a recipe with Lemons cook and share with family or Guides.’ This sounds fantastic. Thanks for the recipe. Libby 16 December 2013

    • thelemontreeproject says:

      Hi Libby, let us know how they got on. We will feature their recipe on our site. If you could email us with a picture of the girls we will put it up with their recipe. We are so proud of all the wonderful guides getting involved in the project. Also, if the girls get their own sites going we’d love to see them pin it on our community Pin Map:
      All the best, Jodi.

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