Saturday, March 02, 2013

Lemon Buttermilk Syrup Cake - Stunning Simple Cake

Sometimes the simple things really are the best. I'm not a big fan of any type of lemon desserts generally. My favourite type of lemon desserts would be a lemon meringue or a lemon syrup cake, as both things have a sweet element that counters the sour lemon. Recently, my work mate Mike brought to work a small piece of lemon syrup cake and let me try it. Instantly I was swooning. This cake was so good and I just had to get the recipe. After many inquiries, he got me the recipe, which I looked over and saw how simple it was. I was wondering where the magic ingredient was to make this cake so wonderful, but nothing really popped out at me.

So now that I've made the cake, I would say that the magic is in the buttermilk and the way the eggs are combined separately. From my cake knowledge, I think the use of buttermilk and folding in the egg whites separately gives this cake a really soft crumb that I don't find in many cakes. And in cakes that do have this beautiful soft crumb, there's usually a mountain of cream or sour cream. Hence, this recipe is a keeper and I'll be making variants of it. It's a perfect simple butter cake recipe with a great texture and the most amazing flavour. I found the syrup was just the right sweetness and made the cake even softer and so moreish. It's really easy to make and the original recipe says it takes 15-30 minutes, but unless you have a group of junior chefs to help you prepare everything, it takes more like 60 minutes to prepare.

As usual, here are some tips to help you make the best cake possible
*I used really good French butter in this cake and I personally believe it really made a difference. I could taste the wonderful butter flavour in this cake. I think good butter really makes a difference in simple cakes like this.

*I followed the lemon rind amount in this recipe but I think you can use even more to make the lemon flavour even more prominent. The rind gives a different flavour to the juice of the lemon and I would have liked even more of it.

*I always use large eggs in my recipes, 800g or more.

*I never sift flour anymore nowadays and it doesn't seem to affect my cakes, even delicate ones so I suggest you don't waste your time. The packets of flour say they're sifted already anyway.

*If you only make one cake, you'll have leftover buttermilk, which you can portion out into smaller amounts and freeze. If you make two cakes like me, just use the whole 600ml rather than leaving 100ml. It doesn't seem to make a difference.

*I've tasted an orange version of this cake and it's even more wonderful. So explore with different flavours. Also a lemon icing or just a plain icing works really well with this cake.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake
Recipe adapted from
Preparation time about 60 mins
Makes a 20cm cake

250g butter, softened
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup buttermilk

Lemon Syrup
1/3 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

1. Preheat oven at 180C.
2. Grease and lightly flour a 20cm tin.
3. Cream butter, lemon rind and sugar.
4. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until combined.
5. Stir in half the sifted flour and half the buttermilk. Mix until combined.
6. Add the remaining flour and buttermilk and combine.
7. Beat egg whites to a soft peak and fold gently into the mixture.
8. Bake cake at an hour.
9. When cake is nearly ready, make lemon syrup by combining all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts.
10. Pour the hot lemon syrup over the hot cake still in the tin. Let cake in tin before turning out onto a rack.


  1. sounds ahmazing! must give it a whirl :)

    1. I love this cake. This is now my go to recipe for any butter cake I think.

  2. Ooh looks yummy! I'm a huge fan of lemon desserts.

    Tell me, where can I get 800g eggs... emu farm? :P

  3. Sounds delish. Where is my slice? I would rather Cake Master Thanh make it than me :)

    1. I'll swap you a lemon cake for a lime cake.

  4. Sounds so good - it definitely looks really soft in the photos too.

    1. It's so moist and I highly recommend it.

  5. This looks delicious! Loving your blog :)


    1. Thanks so much Sarah. The cake is great.

  6. OOOh I love lemon cakes, another recipe to try!

    1. Second best lemon cake I've tried so I definitely recommend it.

  7. this sounds really good! i love a simple butter cake!

  8. Does anyone have any ideas for a low fat/ HIgh Carb Dessert?

    Have a look at my web site - easy healthy desserts