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Sticky Lemon Cake with Saffron Orange Syrup

This is a brilliant cake for al fresco dining, for picnics, and to serve as a pud on long warm summer evenings. The citrus tang of lemons in the cake and oranges in the syrup, cut through the richness. Serve with creme fraiche or Greek-style yoghurt.


  • 250 g butter, softened

  • 250 g caster sugar

  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest

  • 4 x 60g eggs

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 250 g self-raising flour

  • Spiced citrus syrup

  • 100 g caster sugar

  • 150 ml orange juice

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 small orange, thickly peeled and sliced

  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest

  • 1 tbsp grated orange zest

  • Good pinch of saffron threads

  • To serve

  • Crème fraiche or Greek Yogurt

  • 2 tbsp chopped pistachios

  • 2 tbsp small mint leaves


  • 1.

    Heat the oven to 170C. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and almost white, for a good 5 minutes.

  • 2.

    Beat in the eggs, one by one, then the lemon zest and the lemon juice. Sift in the flour, and mix well.

  • 3.

    Pour the batter into a deep-sided well-buttered and papered 20 cm square cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

  • 4.

    To make the orange syrup, combine the sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, sliced orange, and zests and saffron in a pan, and simmer, stirring, for 3 minutes.

  • 5.

    Turn out the cake and cut into generous squares. Pierce the top of each square with a skewer, and spoon the hot orange syrup and orange slices over the top.

  • 6.

    Serve with crème fraiche or yoghurt and scatter with pistachios and mint leaves.

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