Claire Napier’s zingy lemon loaf cake recipe

As you may already know, plenty of us think it’s time for a revival of the great British tea loaf. They taste great, you don’t usually need any fancy equipment or much experience to make one, they don’t need fancy decorations, they’re great to share or give as a gift and they’re the perfect excuse for a tea or coffee break. What’s not to love?

This month we have a refreshingly citrussy lemon loaf cake recipe from the most excellent Claire Napier. You may also know her as the very entertaining @illusClaire on Twitter. While you’re at it, you can also hire her to do some illustrations for you, if you’re in the market for a few of those.

But for now, on with the fabulous cake. Take it away, Claire!



8oz plain flour

8oz golden unrefined caster sugar

4oz butter

1-2 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

2 serving spoonfuls of lemon juice

icing sugar (optional)

1. Your fan oven should be pre-heated to 170. Adjust it slightly hotter if you don’t have a fan oven. Grease your loaf tin with butter (or whatever you like).

2. Mix the sugar, flour, and eggs together smoothly.

3. Chop in the butter, mash it with the fork and beat it into the mixture. Keep beating until you’re satisfied with the consistency.

4. Add the baking powder and lemon juice (your cake will be so clean!). Stir it in slowly, so as not to slop.

5. Pour the mixture into the tin; put into the oven. Bake for one hour (keep an eye on it, don’t let it burn).

6. Allow the loaf to cool in the tin until you can lift it without burning yourself. Tip the loaf to cool away from the tin.

7. Slice, and eat!

If you like drizzle, score the surface and mix up some icing sugar with lemon juice. Pour the mixture into the scores and make sure it goes down quite deep. If you don’t feel like drizzle, it’s delicious eaten alone but also benefits from a spreading of quince or crab apple jelly! Our quince crop failed spectacularly, so this is shop-bought but still so delicious.

The texture you get from adding so much lemon juice is a little different from your average cake or loaf. It’s visually just a little reminiscent of the top of a freshly baked cheesecake – it’s a bit more resistant than usual. I think it makes an interesting change, and the lemon flavour comes through so strongly! It’s very, very refreshing. If you prefer to go more traditionally, you can substitute grated rind for one of the spoonfuls of lemon juice, and cook for a shorter time.


Are you going to try making October’s Tea Loaf of the Month? We’ll certainly be tucking into one at Golightly Gardens, with extra drizzle. If you have a great tea loaf recipe of your own and would like to be next month’s guest poster then please let me know via the ‘Contact us’ page (the link’s on the right hand side if you scroll down).


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  1. Oh, I love me a good lemon cake! This looks and sounds delicious, can’t wait to give it a try.


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