Lemon drizzle cake, much like Madeira cake, seemed a bit dull and uninteresting to me for years. My best friend Moo will automatically look at the lemon flavoured dessert on a menu first whereas I’m there, looking for the chocolate fondant. But despite my penchant for goo, chocolate and all things caramel, on occasion only citrus will do.
Typically on hot sunny days when sun is streaming through the windows and the last thing you want is a cake covered in sticky ganache which would have to be kept in the fridge for fear of it going rancid. On such days, I make my Lemon Cream Cheese Bundt Cake.
Magical things happen when you add a little cream cheese to a cake mixture. The rich, creamy dairy brings both a little bit of sourness to counter the sweet but also, it is wonderfully tenderising to the texture of the crumb. I’ve long said that yogurt is my secret weapon to making the most moist, soft and tender sponges and cream cheese just ups the ante even more.
This bundt cake is a brilliant keeper – I’ve even wrapped a piece in foil and left it for a full week and it was still good. It’s actually at it’s best if you can allow it to cool then keep it for 24 hours, to let the lemon syrup which you anoint the hot cake with soak in before serving.
Traditional lemon drizzle cakes are simply a standard Victoria Sponge mix with either milk or lemon juice added, usually to the tune of about 125ml per standard 4 egg mix. They are therefore very light and fluffy cakes.
My cream cheese bundt is more substantial but with that, has the most wonderfully damp crumb texture that is hard to convey in the photos but once tried, you’ll be making this time and time again whenever the need for a lemon cake comes around.
A soft and tender lemon cake with a crunchy lemon drizzle to finish. This cake keeps very well and is big enough to feed a crowd easily.
- 150 g soft butter
- 225 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 300 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarb
- 200 g cream cheese (full fat or low fat work)
- 125 ml milk
- 1 large lemon (zest and juice)
- 100 g caster sugar (you can use demerara or granulated for a coarser finish)
- 1 large lemon
Preheat your oven to 180˚C for conventional ovens (reduce by 10-20˚C for fan ovens or the cake will be overly browned) and grease a 10 cup (2.5-litre) bundt pan well. I use a spray of rapeseed (canola) oil from Costco that I swear by but a light brushing with oil or melted butter would do.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Sift the flour and raising agents together and fold into the creamed mixture. Zest over your lemon.
Beat the cream cheese with the milk and juice of the lemon you just zested in a small bowl then fold this into the cake mixture. Scrape it into your prepared bundt tin and bake for 50-60 minutes until well risen and browned on top. A skewer should come out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
Allow to cool for a few minutes only before turning out of the tin. Mix together the sugar and juice of the second lemon then spoon over the cake evenly whilst still hot. You may want to put a plate or tray under the cooling rack! Allow to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.
- If you don't have a bundt tin, you can use an 8x10 inch brownie pan or a 9 inch square tin instead. Just keep an eye on it from 45 minutes as it may need covering with a piece of foil to prevent it browning too much and usually, it cooks a bit quicker than done in a heavy duty bundt pan like my beloved Nordic Ware Heritage pattern bundt.
- Beating the lemon zest in with the butter and sugar during the creaming phase helps to prevent the cake from browning too much. Lemon cakes are always darker than vanilla ones, but this little trick can help if yours colours too much.
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