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This has to be one of the most forgiving cake mixtures ever. It’s equally happy being bashed up in 5 minutes with a wooden spoon, or slowly whipped up with an electric whisk.  You can dollop it into bun cases, spread it about to create a tray bake, but my favourite is the traditional lemon loaf.

cake, lemon, drizzle


For the cake:

  • 4oz soft margarine
  • 6oz caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 6oz self raising flour
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • Grated rind of one lemon

For the icing:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3oz icing sugar


Preheat oven to 170°C (325°F, Gas mark 3) and line a loaf tin.

Beat margarine and sugar together until creamy, then add in the eggs.  Continue beating until the mixture is smooth.  Add the flour and lemon rind, beat until amalgamated before adding in the milk and mix until incorporated.  

Pour into the loaf tin, and put in oven for 55 minutes. The cake should be lightly golden brown and the sponge bounce back to the touch.  A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.

Just before the cake is due to come out of the oven, heat the lemon juice in the microwave for 20 seconds until warm then mix in the icing sugar until dissolved.

Once the cake is out of the oven, and still warm, pierce all over with a skewer or toothpick, then pour and brush the icing over the top.  It will sink in, leaving a glaze on top and flavouring the cake below.

Leave to cool before enjoying!  This cake also freezes well, both with and without the icing. 

If you have made the mixture into buns, cook for 20-25 minutes; for a shallow tray bake, 30-35 minutes should be about right.