If you are looking for a classic lemon drizzle cake recipe with a bit of a twist, then this recipe for my Lemon Balm Drizzle Cake is one to try. This classic cake recipe with some added lemon balm from my lovely herb garden is sweet yet zingy, satisfying yet light. It is full of citrus flavor and is perfect for all baking abilities, from beginners to those who can bake cakes with their eyes closed.
In this recipe, the light and zesty lemon sponge is glazed with a lemon icing, made with a simple sugar and lemon mixture. This lovely cake takes only under an hour to prepare and bake and it serves a small crowd. Plus it is perfect for bake sales or as a potluck dessert as it cuts neatly, is easy to transport and keeps well.
Lemon balm is such a great addition if you want some extra lemon flavor. As its name suggests, this leafy, green herb has a distinct fresh lemony flavor and fragrance. It is a member of the mint family and makes a very refreshing infusion or tea. And it is just perfect for adding to your cake batter. Only use and buy it fresh however as it loses virtually all of its flavor when dried. You could also use lemon thyme here. But do not worry if you cannot get hold of fresh lemon balm or lemon thyme, the recipe will still work without it.
Lemon Balm Drizzle Cake
Ingredients for the Cake
- 225 g (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the baking pan
- 225 g (8 oz) super fine baking sugar (caster sugar)
- 275 g (10 oz) self-raising flour
- 2 level tsp baking powder
- 4 eggs (L), free range or organic
- 4 tbsp milk (I use 3.5%)
- 2 lemons, untreated or organic, zest only
- 1 heaped tbsp very finely chopped lemon balm
Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze
- 100 g (3.5 oz) granulated sugar
- 1 lemon, juice only
- one 30 x 23cm (12 x 9 in) sheet pan
- baking paper
- Preheat your oven to 180° C (356° F).
- Grease the baking pan with butter and line the base with baking paper.
- Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and beat for 2 minutes, or until well blended.
- Turn the cake batter into the prepared baking pan and level the top (best done with an offset spatula).
- Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes until the it springs back when lightly touched with a fingertip in the center of the cake.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze: mix the granulated sugar with the lemon juice and stir to a runny consistency.
- Leave the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then lift out, with the baking paper still attached, and place on wire rack set over a baking sheet.
- Brush the glaze all over the surface of the warm cake and leave to set.
- Remove the baking paper and cut into slices to serve.
- You can add some powdered sugar on every other piece of cake and top the remaining pieces of cake with freshly picked lemon balm leaves (optional).
It is important to spoon the glaze on to the cake while it is still warm so the lemon juice soaks in properly.
Finely chopped lemon thyme leaves work well as an alternative for lemon balm. But if you can’t get hold of any, do not worry, as the recipe still works without it.
This sheet cake bake can be stored in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days and frozen for up to a month.
If you do not want to use a sheet pan here, you can still use a springform mold (20 cm or 8 in) or two one pound loaf pans.
This cakes comes out light and lemony and when you slice into it, you can see all those lovely green flecks of lemon balm.
There is really no need to poke holes into the cake to help the syrup sink in. It is more important to add the syrup while the cake is still warm. And bear in mind it will always seem like more liquid than the cake could possible absorb, but do not worry, it will always work out. And if you feel like adding the freshly grated lemon zest right at the start to the sugar and before you cream all the ingredients together, that extra step will help to release the oils in the zest, producing an even more lemony sponge.
If anything is worth taking a little tea break for, it is a slice of this lovely Lemon Balm Drizzle Cake. And remember that a "tart drizzle demands sweet cake. And both demand a nice cup of tea".