Easter Desserts – Lemon Drizzle Simnel Cake

Lemon drizzle simnel cake

When I was little, I loved marzipan. So much so, while visiting my Nan-Nan (who made the most wonderful wedding cakes), I decided to peel the icing from a cake waiting to be decorated so I could get to the delicious marzipan underneath!
I don’t remember ever seeing my Nan-Nan so angry before that day, or since! She gave me a good telling-off and a slap on the bottom.
Unsurprisingly, I lost the urge to eat marzipan again and steered well clear of it all these years! That was until I tried a small taste of this lemon drizzle simnel cake and found it to be really lovely.
I’m taking this as a sign from my beloved late Nan-Nan that it’s time to embrace my love of marzipan again because my other favourite thing to eat was her absolutely wonderful lemon drizzle cake!

easter egg divider

Lemon Drizzle Simnel Cake

lemon drizzle simnel cake


  • Oil, for the tin
  • 250g butter, softened
  • 250g golden caster sugar, plus 50g for the topping
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50ml milk
  • 100g mixed dried fruit
  • 300g marzipan, chilled
  • 50g icing sugar


  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
  2. Oil and line a 20cm x 30cm baking tin with baking parchment.
  3. Put the butter, sugar and most of the lemon zest in a bowl and beat together until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating constantly, then add the flour, almonds and baking powder.
  5. Keep mixing until you have a smooth batter.
  6. Stir in the milk and dried fruit.
  7. Tip half of the batter into the tin and level with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
  8. Coarsely grate half of the marzipan over the batter to create an even layer.
  9. Carefully cover with the rest of the batter trying not to disturb the marzipan.
  10. Level the top and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  11. If any wet batter is on the skewer, cook for a further 5 minutes and check again.
  12. Mix the remaining caster sugar with a quarter of the lemon juice and drizzle over the cake while still warm.
  13. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  14. Mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a drizzly icing. 2-3 tsp should be enough.
  15. Drizzle the icing over the cake.
  16. Divide the rest of the marzipan into eleven balls and place on the cake.
  17. Sprinkle with the remaining lemon zest.

The cake will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

drawing of an Easter basket full of Easter eggs

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