Cakes/ Desserts

The Ultimate Lemon Drizzle Loaf

The ultimate lemon drizzle loaf

This lemon drizzle loaf starts with a zesty, lemon sponge soaked in a lemon infused syrup. Finished with a crackly lemon glaze.

There are only a handful of cakes that I truly love and could eat over and over again.

The first one being a dark chocolate cake – which is my all time favourite. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth myself so I always tend to err on the side of less sugar in my desserts.

My second spot for favourite cakes goes to this lemon drizzle loaf. It’s zesty, sour, and sweet. It screams out at you with a zingy vibrancy. The soft lemon loaf is soaked in a lemon syrup and finished with that classic crackly lemon glaze.

Seriously it’s insanely good.

And if anyone’s wondering, my third favourite cake would be a Victoria sponge.

Over here in the Dish by Rish household this loaf has been the most popular with my friends and family. Out of all of the things I’ve baked, this is the one that gets requested over and over. I have a friend who’s currently demanded that this has to be her birthday cake.

What’s so special?

The special thing about this loaf is how zesty, tangy and rich it is. Yet it still has the most tender crumb and the cake literally melts in your mouth.

It’s a lemon drizzle loaf that does not play around – it’s everything it should be and more. From the aroma to the flavour it’s screaming lemon. The lemon syrup soaks in to the loaf adding additional moisture to an already moist cake.

The cake then has the crackly lemon crust which adds texture and an incredible zesty bite. I could go on about this cake for days, even typing this blog post out is making me crave it.

Lemon drizzle loaf

The flaxseeds? What are they and do I need them?

One of the eyebrow-raising ingredients here are the ground flax seeds, or sometimes known as linseeds. I tend to buy the golden variety and I usually purchase mine pre-ground as it saves the hassle of grinding these.

It comes as a fine powder which forms this gelatinous egg-like substance when re-constituted with water. This process can take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, and I use the ratio of 1tbsp ground flax to 2tbsp cold water.

They help to bind baked goods by forming polysachharide chains which disperse during baking to form a network. These chains also trap moisture which helps to prevent dry baked goods, they even prevent gluten networks forming so you end up with more tender crumb structures.

BUT, they are not an exact replacement for eggs, and an egg based recipe that calls for 4 eggs will not work by simply substituting 4 flax eggs, and vice versa – it doesn’t work as they are not the same ingredient and behave completely differently.

Eggs on the other hand are protein based and the protein strands form a network when exposed to heat, allowing for a stronger binding element. They help to build structure which is something that flax eggs can’t do (as it is starch based).

Eggs can trap air between the protein network which is why they foam up and form airy meringues, which flax eggs again can’t do. For a vegan meringue, you would need to use an agent like aquafaba which does behave similarly to egg whites.

When it comes to replacing eggs in a recipe, in most cases you can’t simply rely on one sole egg-replacer but I’ve done all the thinking and testing for you here to make sure you guys end up with a perfect eggless lemon loaf.

Could I just substitute eggs for this lemon drizzle loaf instead of using flax eggs?

The short answer is no, I don’t think so. I don’t bake with eggs so I can’t give you a direct yes or no answer but my hunch is no. If anyone does try, please let me know how it goes.

But if flax is not available or accessible, then leave it out. The recipe still works without flax, but there will be a couple of differences.

Firstly, you run the risk of a slightly drier result as the flax traps in moisture. Secondly, the cake will be slightly crumbly as it’s lacking the additional binding.

Just trust the process and you will have an incredible lemon drizzle loaf.

Lemon drizzle

Why is there a temperature change during the bake?

This was a nifty tip I was taught by my friend and fellow baker @kajalhalai on Instagram.

This allows the loaf to bake evenly throughout the first part of the bake. The 10 minute burst of high temperature at the end allows a crust to form all around which is synonymous with loaves.

Can I turn this lemon drizzle into a round cake rather than a loaf?

Yes, absolutely. With this recipe you can make:

1) 18 cupcakes – Which will take 20 mins at 160’C fan/180’C conventional. Don’t increase the temperature for the cupcakes in the same way we are doing for the lemon drizzle loaf

2) 2x 7″ layers – 45 mins bake time at 140’C fan/160’C conventional, followed by 5-7 mins at 180’C fan/200’C conventional

3) 1×8″ layer (thick layer) – 65mins bake time at 140’C fan/160’C conventional, followed by 8 mins at 180’C fan/200’C conventional

4) 1×10″ layer (thin) – 45mins bake time at 140’C fan/160’C conventional, followed by 5-7 mins at 180’C fan/200’C conventional

Can I substitute plain flour instead of self raising flour?

You can, it won’t give the exact same result but it will be close.

In all my testing, self raising flour always provided the lightest texture. To substitute plain flour, you will want to use around 277g of plain flour and 8g of baking powder (around 2 tsp).

You will then still need to add the additional 1tsp baking powder in the recipe. In turn, making it a total of 3 tsps of baking powder.

To note, baking powder is different from baking soda, they are not interchangeable.

Can this lemon drizzle loaf be made vegan?

It can indeed, use a plant milk alternative instead of using dairy milk. Oat milk or soy milk both lend the best results in my opinion.

Lemon drizzle texture

Can I use any other type of sugar?

White granulated sugar can be replaced with caster sugar. Don’t use any light brown or dark brown sugars as they contain additional moisture which the loaf does not need. You run the risk of a stodgy, dense or collapsed cake by using them. I haven’t tried coconut sugar myself but I’m aware it’s gaining popularity. If you do give it a try please let me know how that turns out.

How do I remove a loaf from the tin?

Make sure you line the sides with grease proof paper, and then butter the paper and any exposed sides of the tin. This will aid with easy removal.

You want to avoid handling the top of the cake as the syrup will make that sticky. Hence we wait an additional 30 mins before removing the cake/loaf from the tin to allow it to firm up further. If you’ve lined and greased your loaf/cake tin properly, it should just slide out.

For a loaf, turn it on to its side to remove the baking paper and allow to cool completely. If you’re really worried, gently lift up the loaf with both hands and ask someone else to peel the paper off for you.

For a round cake the base will still be attached in most cases. Simply slide a flat serving tool all around the base of the cake and slide off onto a wire rack, it’s very easy to peel off the paper in the process.

What if I don’t like lemon?

Well perhaps my vanilla sponge will appeal to you more. Tap the image to take you to the recipe.

Eggless Vanilla Sponge
Eggless Vanilla Sponge
The ultimate lemon drizzle loaf

The Ultimate Lemon Drizzle Loaf

5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8 slices


  • 2lb loaf tin



  • 285 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 170 g white granulated sugar
  • 150 ml flavourless oil e.g. sunflower
  • 250 ml milk/plant milk
  • 2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp GROUND flaxseeds
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 large lemons zested (will be juiced for the syrup and glaze)


  • 1 large lemon juiced
  • 25 g white granulated sugar


  • 0.5 large lemon juiced
  • 50 g icing sugar



  • Preheat your oven to 140’C fan/160’C conventional
  • Mix your ground flax with the water and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to thicken
  • Mix your oil, sugar, lemon extract, vanilla extract and lemon zest together. Don’t add the juice as we will be using this later. Mix either with a whisk or a paddle attachment on a mixer until combined
  • In a separate bowl, mix your flour, salt and baking powder
  • Once the flax has thickened, add to your oil and sugar mix and continue to whisk
  • Add half the milk, and whisk
  • Sieve in half the flour mix and fold the batter
  • Add the remaining milk, and whisk
  • Then add the remaining flour, and fold until all incorporated
  • Pour into a lined and greased 2lb loaf tin
  • Bake initially for 1 hour and then increase the oven temperature to 180’C fan/200’C conventional for 10 mins to form a crust on top


  • Whilst the cake is baking, mix the syrup ingredients together (juice from 1 lemon + 25g sugar) and allow this to sit. This will thicken by itself
  • Once the loaf has baked, allow it to cool for 5 minutes and then pierce all over with a toothpick 3/4 of the way down the cake. Don't pierce all the way through though
  • Pour your syrup over the warm cake and allow it to completely soak in
  • Cool the loaf for a further 30mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely prior to glazing


  • Whisk together the icing sugar and the juice from half a lemon until smooth
  • Slowly pour over the loaf, allowing it to fall into any cracks, and coat the entire crust. It’s perfectly fine if it drips down the sides!
  • Let the glazed loaf sit for a good 1-2hours for the glaze to set and crust over


For the crackly glaze, make sure there is sufficient icing sugar. If you use too much lemon juice it will just stay as a syrup and will not set. Your glaze mix should be slightly thick (but pourable).
Keyword cake, lemon, lemon drizzle

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    […] second component of the masala chai cake is the jaggery syrup. Similarly to my lemon drizzle loaf, the syrup adds another layer of flavour and additional moisture to the cake. That’s not to […]

  • Reply
    November 10, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe – can you substitute the lemon for another other citrus fruits and would the measurements be the same eg lime or orange?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you so much, yes you certainly can. It works brilliantly with orange – that’s exactly how I made my mum’s orange drizzle cake for her birthday last year!

  • Reply
    May 5, 2022 at 10:41 am

    Can I use butter instead of oil?

    • Reply
      May 9, 2022 at 8:29 pm

      you can melt the butter and substitute half of the oil with melted butter. But I’d avoid replacing all the oil completely. The oil adds a lot of moisture to the cake and butter and oil still behave differently in baking. Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    December 22, 2022 at 4:13 pm

    5 stars
    My favourite cake recipe to date! So easy to make, no variations to the recipe needed. Just delicious!

    • Reply
      December 23, 2022 at 1:27 pm

      This makes me so happy to read! I’m so glad you’re enjoying this one too!

  • Reply
    Dhavish Rao
    December 23, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    5 stars
    I baked this cake on several occasions and everytime it turns out amazing. Really easy and delicious recipe.

    • Reply
      December 28, 2022 at 5:09 pm

      Thank you so much for such a kind review! Happy holidays!

  • Reply
    December 24, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    5 stars
    We loved this cake! The receipe is easy to follow and will be a family favourite.

    • Reply
      December 28, 2022 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you Nishi, I appreciate your kind feedback! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tina Patel
    January 9, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    5 stars
    This is my go to lemon cake so soft moist and tasty always want a bigger slice of this. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2023 at 2:04 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely review Tina. You are always welcome!

  • Reply
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    July 25, 2023 at 10:51 am

    5 stars
    The lemon loaf cake turned out amazing.
    I used Cold Milled Linwoods flaxseed, is this the same as ground flaxseed? Its not a fine powder texture.

    • Reply
      July 27, 2023 at 1:56 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! yes, that’s perfect. If it’s a bit coarse I tend to give it a very quick blitz in my nutribullet just to make it more fine. I find this makes it more effective and also undetectable in the final sponge

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