Lemon drizzle cake is a British classic. Too many gluten-free recipes don’t quite result in a light, moist, and delicious cake. This is the one you should bake – the polenta & coconut make it sturdy but it’s still light as a feather.
Alternative topping suggestions are in the footnotes.
Makes: 1 loaf cake; 12 large muffins; or 22 fairy cakes
- 170g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 170g sugar (soft brown, golden caster, or golden granulated are best)
- 2 large eggs, beaten (between 62-68g each when weighed in their shells)
- 120g gluten-free flour
- 50g polenta (fine cornmeal)
- 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (only required if your GF flour is plain, not self-raising)
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 10g desiccated coconut nibs
- 2 unwaxed lemons: finely grated zest, and juice
- 50g caster sugar
- Butter to grease tin if making a loaf
- A standard 2lb loaf tin; or, one or two 12-hole muffin tins
- Baking/parchment paper to line loaf tin; or, 12-24 paper muffin cases (depending on size)
- 2 large mixing bowls + 1 small bowl for eggs
- Electric mixer (hand-held or stand) if not creaming butter/sugar by hand
- Cooling rack
- Preheat oven to 180 C (160 C fan-assisted).
- Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment. For muffins, place the cases in the muffin tin(s).
- Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add the beaten egg 1/3 at a time, continuously whipping until fully combined.
- Mix the flour, polenta, baking powder (if using), spices, coconut, and lemon zest in a separate bowl with a fork.
- Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in thirds, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Incorporate as much air as possible – remember, this is gluten-free, so you don’t have to worry about over-mixing the dry with the wet.
- Spoon into your prepared loaf tin, or spoon into muffin cases no more than 2/3 full to allow for rising. Note that the batter should ‘dollop’ i.e. hold its shape – it shouldn’t be thin enough to pour.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes (for a loaf) or 20-25 minutes (for muffins). If using the smaller ‘fairy cake’ sized cases, you should get up to 22 fairy cakes, and they take only 15 minutes to bake.
- Whilst baking, heat the caster sugar and lemon juice on the hob. Allow it to come to the boil, then reduce the heat and stir constantly until a thick syrup is achieved. This can be allowed to cool, and re-heated just before the cake/muffins are ready to leave the oven.
- When the cake/muffins are done – a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean – remove from the oven. For a loaf cake, poke deeply all over with a skewer (this ensures the syrup is fully absorbed), and pour the lemon syrup over the top. For muffins, remove the cases from the tin onto a cooling rack, prior to spooning the syrup over each.
- For a loaf cake, leave to cool in the tin – gluten free cakes have a tendency to fall apart if removed from the tin whilst too warm.
You can top with fresh raspberries or other soft fruit, or with additional lemon zest, and/or some icing sugar. The main recipe picture shows muffins topped with homemade lemon curd instead of the lemon syrup.
I also made this recipe with a buttercream frosting (300g icing sugar, 150g softened unsalted butter) for holiday fairy cakes. I incorporated the lemon syrup into the buttercream, coloured it with red gel food colouring, then piped it onto the fairy cakes followed by a dusting of icing sugar.