New Recipe: How to make the perfect lemon drizzle traybake and the common mistakes to avoid

A lemon drizzle cake or traybake lives or dies on the quality of its citrus fruit. Use organic fruit if at all possible, and if you are unsure whether your fruit has been waxed or not (if it is not organic it is highly likely), be sure to give them a good scrub in warm water before you zest them. 

The butter must be soft

This recipe has an all-in-one method, meaning all ingredients should be at room temperature. If you have butter straight from the fridge, then try Denise O’Donoghue’s trick for softening rock-hard butter with a glass. 

A food processor is your friend

Darina Allen suggests whipping up this cake batter in a food processor. However, if you don’t have one, an electric whisk or stand mixer will do the job just as well. If you don’t have access to either, a little elbow grease and a wooden spoon will work too. 

Be bold with your flavour combinations

Once you master this recipe feel free to change it up. I change the citrus fruits to suit the season – blood oranges, grapefruits and limes are all delicious in this cake. If I am using oranges, I often add a few tablespoons of chocolate chips to the mix before it goes into the oven.

Drizzles are important

The drizzle is an essential component of the success of this cake. Not only does it moisten the crumb, but it keeps it tasting fresh for longer. You can use different sugars to bring about different results in a drizzle. A granulated or caster sugar drizzle will result in a slightly crunchy top to the cake while an icing sugar drizzle will taste a little like lemon sherbet and leave an iced glaze on the top of your cake. 

Cool, but just a little

A cake must be warm but not hot when it receives a drizzle. Too hot, and it will sink to the bottom, too cold, and it will not permeate the cake. Spoon over your drizzle when the cake is just warm to the touch. 

Lemon drizzle traybake

Whether catering for a birthday party, a family gathering or just baking for fun, this super easy traybake is a perfect recipe to make with the kids

Lemon drizzle traybake

Preparation Time

10 mins


  • 175g butter, softened

  • 150g caster sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 175g self-raising flour

  • freshly grated rind of 1 lemon

  • freshly squeezed juice of 1-2 lemons

  • 110g caster sugar

  • Optional:

  • 2 tbsp lemon curd


  • 10 x 7 inch (25.5 x 18 cm) Swiss roll tin, well-greased


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.

  2. Grease and line your tin with a little butter and line with a sheet of parchment paper that comes up over each side.

  3. Put the butter, sugar, eggs and self-raising flour into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly in the well-buttered tin.

  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes approx. or until golden brown and well risen. Meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the glaze.

  5. As soon as the cake is cooked, pour the glaze over the top, leave to cool. 

  6. If you want to ice the cake, mix equal parts icing sugar and lemon juice and spread over the cake, leaving to firm up before slicing. If you want the contrasting yellow lines, like in the picture, you will need to use the tablespoons of lemon curd. While the icing is still wet, quickly pipe lines with the lemon curd, about 2.5cm (1 inch) apart, across the top of the cake. Then draw the tip of a skewer or pointed knife through the coloured lines, at right angles, going in opposite directions each time, this is called feathering and may be done in lines or in a spider web pattern.

  7. When the icing is firm but not completely set, cut into slices. 

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