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Lemon Tea Cake

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!



  • 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

Cream your butter and sugar. Cream it really well – it should be light, fluffy and have almost doubled in volume.

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’s well combined. It should be pretty smooth!

Now pour the batter into a greased and floured cake tin. Any tin is fine, but my go-to is the trusty loaf tin!

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

Let the cake rest in the tin for 15 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.

You could melt a tablespoon of butter, brush it over the top and sprinkle the cake with sugar.

You could top it off with a layer of lemon curd. This is the perfect icing if you’ve made the batter into cup cakes (note the cooking time will be less).

Or as I’ve done here, top it icing sugar spronkled with lemon and lavendar.