A delicous and simple recipe for Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake
I first came across the Meyer lemon when we were living in the US. I had frequently seen mention of them in American cookbooks and magazines, but I never really paid much attention until I saw them one day at the grocers. I bought them to use in place of normal lemons for a dish later that night, and upon slicing into the first lemon, I realised that I had made a crucial mistake. Whilst the skin was a golden yellow, the flesh was bright orange. Had I done my research, I would have known that a Meyer lemon was a cross between a common lemon and either an orange or a mandarin, thus explaining the orange hues. It follows that Meyer lemons are somewhat sweeter than ordinary lemons, and also much more fragrant with notes of orange blossom. They are a beautiful citrus fruit, perfect for use in cakes and desserts.
Of course, Meyer lemons are not available everywhere. If your local grocer does not stock Meyer lemons (typically in season between September and May in the northern hemisphere), your best bet is to grow them yourselves at home. I had been keeping a lookout for a Meyer lemon tree for several years and was so thrilled to finally find one recently at my local nursery which was already bursting with fruit.
To highlight this gorgeous citrus fruit, I had two cakes in mind – this Lemon Cake which uses the whole fruit (skin, pith and flesh) to produce the most exquisitely fragrant cake, as well as this Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake. Given the abundance of Meyer lemons which I suddenly found in my possession, I ended up making both cakes.
Here is my slightly modified recipe for a Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake. Most syrup-drenched cakes tend to be on the sweet side, but I like my citrus cakes to have a slightly tangy note. Naturally, the sweetness (or sourness) of lemons vary, so I would suggest starting with less sugar in the syrup than stated in the recipe, and to adjust according to your tastes.Print
Meyer Lemon Syrup Cake
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 mins
- Yield: Serves 6-8
Recipe adapted from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson
For the cake
- 125 g (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
- 175 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- zest of 1 Meyer lemon
- 2 eggs
- 175 g (1 cup plus 4 tablespoons) plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons milk
For the syrup
- juice of 2–3 Meyer lemons
- 50 g (⅓ cup) icing sugar, plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- Grease and line a 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin.
- Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Gently mix through the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the milk and mix lightly until everything is combined.
- Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- In the last 10 minutes of the baking time, make the lemon syrup. Place the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and gently heat until the sugar dissolves. Taste and add more icing sugar to your liking.
- While the cake is still warm from the oven, puncture the cake all over with a cake skewer or bamboo skewer. Spoon the syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak through before spooning over more.
- Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing.
- If you have an abundance of Meyer lemons, finely zest one lemon over the cake just before serving.
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.
- Serving Size: Serves 6 to 8
- Calories: 357
- Sugar: 30.9g
- Sodium: 65.9mg
- Fat: 15.6g
- Carbohydrates: 51.2g
- Fiber: 0.8g
- Protein: 4.5g
- Cholesterol: 80.3mg
Thanh – this looks delicious, I never knew that about meyer lemons. I’ve always seen them on American blogs and recipes, but I just assumed they were a variety of lemon, not a hybrid.
I love syrup cakes, they keep so well and stay so moist.
That’s what I love about syrup cakes too – it’s the perfect cake to make in advance as they keep lovely and moist for several days. And although Meyer lemons seem to be popular in American recipes, I’ve read that they are actually native to China where they are used mostly as ornamental trees! They are very beautiful to look at though 🙂
yum, I love lemon cakes!
I’m not sure if our tree is a meyer lemon, but the fruit is certainly fragrant & not quite as tart as a traditional lemon – perfect for baking 🙂
Are the lemons a bit orange in colour in the skin and flesh? If so, they might be Meyer lemons. I really hope this tree will continue to bear fruit as I have many recipes planned! 🙂
This cake is beautiful! And really, if there is a lemon cake recipe like this, I’m going to try it! Yum!
Thanks, Katrina! My husband and I are big fans of lemon cake, and this lemon syrup cake always disappears very quickly!
This is gorgeous and your photos are always stunning. The cake is so yellow I thought it was perhaps a polenta/cornmeal cake! Can’t wait to try it for a special party!
Mimi, thank you for your lovely words! It is indeed a very yellow cake because of the lemon syrup. And I agree that it looks like a polenta cake (although I think it tastes much better ;-)).
This cake is stunning, Thanh! It looks so comforting and just like the sort of thing I’d love to curl up and enjoy with my afternoon cup of tea <3
Thanks, Beeta! We always make time for afternoon tea here, so I always try to have a cake on hand. It’s probably my favourite time of the day 🙂
I love your photos so much!!!! And your grater… And of course that little pot. Have I said something about your photos before? 😛 Just kidding.
I always find all that lemon meyer recipes in magazines and Internet, and always wnt to try. I only thought that they’re sweeter than our usual lemon. And you tell me now that!!! That’s an amazing idea I’ve to try when I see a recipe with meyer lemon, using lemon and orange or mandarin (even if I know it can’t be exactly the same!).
Hopefully you will find Meyer lemons where you live or one day on your travels. My Meyer lemon tree is already showing little fruits, so I can’t wait until they grow and come into season 🙂
Why does my lemon drizzle cake dip in the middle, is it because the cake tin is to deep,
If you have made this cake in a round cake tin and it has sunk in the middle, it is possible that the cake is undercooked. When you test the cake with a skewer, it should come out clean. If there is some wet batter on the skewer, you should continue to bake the cake for another 5-10 minutes. You should also not open the oven door during the baking time. Other factors include using old baking powder, not putting the cake tin in the oven right away, over-beating the cake batter. If none of these apply, I’m afraid I can’t explain it … one of those baking mysteries 😉
If you have made this cake in a loaf tin, for some inexplicable reason, loaf cakes tend to always sink in the middle. I’m always very happy when my loaf cakes don’t sink! I hope the cake still tasted good.
A gorgeous way to highlight Meyer lemons!