Lemon Crunch Cake (Lemon Drizzle Traybake)

I am a little obsessed with this idea of a crunchy/contrasting topping on cakes. I am also a little obsessed with all things lemon – desserts like this Lemon Mousse-y creation or a generous squeeze at the end of Pakistani dishes like fish biryani. When I saw a recipe for a Lemon Drizzle Tray Bake in Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, a thoughtful gift from one of my three favourite brothers and his wife, I knew it had to be. The lemon crunch cake is easy to put together – you literally just dump all the ingredients in the bowl and mix till smooth. The fabulous crunch topping is as simple as lemon juice + sugar and it totally works

lemon crunch cake

The original recipe was called “lemon drizzle traybake”, but since I turned it into a cake because I don’t own a 12*9 pan and found that the singular most delightful feature was the crunch of the sugar topping I felt that a little renaming was in order so Lemon Crunch Cake it is. This is definitely a lemon lovers cake – if you are not of the “gee what else could I put lemon on variety” then you can scale back the lemon juice from the juice of 2 lemons to 1.5, 1 if you just want a mild flavor. I initially made the Lemon Crunch Cake with 3/4 cup sugar in the topping and it didn’t quite cover the top so I suggest going with the full cup if you want the full crunch effect. This cake pairs wonderfully with summer berries and creme fraiche and keeps well for 2-3 days. 


Lemon Crunch Cake

moist, crunchy and lemony!


For the cake

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil I used canola
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • Zest of 2 Lemons

For the crunchy topping

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons


  1. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour a 9-inch pan or a 12*9 inch tin
  2. Combine all the inrgedients in a large bowl and beat until blended
  3. Pour the batter into the pan and level the top with a spatula
  4. Bake until the cake pulls away from the sides and a toothpick comes out clean. This took me 45-50 minutes.
  5. Invert the cake out when it is cool enough to handle onto the cake plate you will be using
  6. Combine the lemon juice and sugar for the topping in a bowl and spoon the mixture over the warm cake.

Recipe Notes

Making your own self raising flour is easy - for this recipe take 2 cups + 3 tbsp flour and combine with 4.5 tsp baking powder + 3/4 tsp salt!

Adapted from Mary Berry's Baking Bible

lemon crunch cake_

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      1. Hi Courtney! SO SO sorry for the insane delay, but I have been beset my crazy technical difficulties which have finally been resolved. Vegetable oil is totally fine since it’s fairly neutral, I just wouldn’t recommend an olive oil since they typically have more flavor. Hope you try and like this recipe – Mary Berry rocks!

  1. I’m sorry my questions may seem very dumb, but I recently started baking and I never seem to get the “cups” measurement right. How many tablespoons should be a cup? Can I melt the butter first so I can measure it using tablespoons?

    1. Sarah there is absolutely nothing dumb about that question at all! Baking is a bit science like so precise measuring is important and you can get measuring cups at most stores (don’t know where you’re located). There are 4 tablespoons to a quarter cup and that makes it 16 to a cup, but again those are using measuring spoons that are also easily available in most places. Melting your butter doesn’t work because often you need the butter to be a certain consistency (firm looking but soft to touch) when you want to beat it. In this recipe you can totally melt it though. 8 tbsp of butter = 1/2 cup of butter = 114grams. If you are new to baking then totally try my orange cake! It is easy and yummy and uses oil not butter 🙂 Keep me posted on your baking progress and sorry about not replying sooner!

  2. Hi Sarah, I have an off-topic question for you.. about baklava.. cravings..haha. the lengths one goes to to satisfy them..
    I’ve been toying with the idea of using my homemade puff pastry to put together a baklava. I mean.. its thin layers of dough with butter in between..like phyllo brushed with butter? and I do make a mean puff pastry (if I do say so myself) with fairly thin layers that crisp up nicely when baked. Only, I really want a second opinion before I commit a batch of precious pastry to an untested theory. Any thoughts? Have you tried it or come across anyone else who has? Will it soak up syrup the same way? Any ideas / thoughts are welcome!

    1. hi eraj! I AM SO SO SORRY I MISSED THIS! We have been in the boonies (which you may know if you follow me on instagram) so my internet access has been lmited. I totally would try it but maybe with less layers if that makes any sense. Also I usually feel – and this could be wrong – that some baklavas fall a little flat so maybe you could add something to your sugar syrup for flavoring? Just a thought – my go tos in life are lemon or saffron lol. do let me know how this went and sorry about the delay! I should have put up a gone fishing post 😉

      1. its all good, thanks for replying! And yessss too many baklavas fall flat which is why Im so hesitant to use my puff pastry on an experiment like this. everytime i make a batch of puff i guard it with my life and end up Not using it for a month while i think of what Epic use to put it to 😉

        Hope you had a good time out in the boonies with the kiddies! Not much of a social media follower, but would be great to see a post-facto out fishing post with pictures here 🙂

        1. out fishing? man – that may be a bit much for me. I loved it but am seriously contemplating taking my nespresso machine w me next time lol

  3. When I baked this cake it fell in the center. I followed the instructions. I don’t usually use self rising flour. Could it be too much baking powder that the receipe calls for? I’m an experienced baker and have never had this happen. I would love any advice you can offer. We had a similar cake in Scotland so I am desperate to recreate it to take me back to the Western Isles.❤️

    1. Susan that sounds disappointing! Let me make it again so I can double check and circle back to you! In terms of taste is it similar to what you’re trying to recreate?

Tell me what you think!