Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baker's Corner: Lemon Syrup Cake

I had put the brakes on my baking exploits for a while since I'd been adamant to drop a few pounds. Now that I've accomplished that, look what I'm back to doing! *guffaws* I've returned from my baking hiatus with this delightful Lemon Syrup Cake. 

I am an avid follower of MasterChef. I even own a MasterChef white apron which makes me feel like even though I can never win the title of MasterChef, I can surely feel like one in the comfort of my own home! I watch the UK, US and Australia versions of the show religiously. MasterChef Australia is my favorite among the three because I find it the most interesting without being overtly melodramatic or gimmicky (so far so good!). My hubby watches along with me so we usually have some food related discussions or comments after the show ends. We are currently lagging behind just having watched the 4th series of MasterChef that premiered in 2012 and in one particular telecast, the runner-up Julia Taylor, made this Lemon Syrup Cake. It looked simple, moist and delicious and most importantly, it was something that screamed "make me" "make me" :D I was happy to find Julia's original recipe on the internet and after going through the ingredients, even happier to note that I had all of them except for the required number of lemons. After a quick dash to the grocery store with a handful of lemons, I got cracking on this dessert. The interesting feature of this cake is that it has to be completely cooked and firm at the edges whereas at the sides, it needs to be slightly sticky and gooey. When the cake is baked this way, the addition of the hot lemon vanilla syrup over the top of the cake, causes a depression in the middle of the cake. Even though from the photos, you do see a depression in the middle of my cake, I did encounter a few problems during and after the baking process. The cake was cracked at the top when it came out of the oven which was probably the result of over beating the batter. I baked the cake for exactly 40 min which I thought would be just right to maintain the two different consistencies across the edge and center but I figured I could have baked it for an additional 2-5 min more. The centre was a bit more gooey than I expected it to be. I also did an incredibly clumsy job of transferring the cake to the cake stand. The cake ripped at one end which I felt like kicking myself for! But having said all that, the cake was lovely in flavor and texture. It was soft, moist, sweet and tangy. The lemon zest beautifully perfumed the cake and it was totally worth making.

The weather in Singapore has been nothing short of miserable lately with looming black clouds and rain threatening to lash out at any given opportunity. I constantly find myself bitterly complaining about the weather especially when I happen to cook for my blog! I had my fingers crossed that by the time I was done with my cake, the weather would co-operate with me long enough to get some decent shots that I could use as evidence of my hard work. It turned out to be wishful thinking because the rain that started in the morning incessantly pelted against the windows for the whole day. Despite that I still managed to get these two shots.....something is better than nothing I guess!

The recipe that I've provided here has been taken from Julia taylor's website. Do try this yummy won't regret it!

Preparation Time: 20 min
Baking Time: 35-40 min
Serves: 4-5
Recipe Source: Julia Taylor 


For the Lemon Syrup Cake

250g softened unsalted butter
325g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
Zest of three lemons
80ml milk
80ml lemon juice
350g self-raising flour, sifted
a pinch of salt

For the Lemon Vanilla Syrup

Zest of 4 lemons
160ml lemon juice
160ml water
150g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped and sliced into long ribbons or 2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Pre-heat oven to 180 deg C. Grease and flour a 25cm spring-form cake tin. Cut a circle of baking paper to line the base as this helps with moving the cake once it’s cooked and soaked in syrup as this can be tricky sometimes.

2. In a free-standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.

3. Add vanilla extract and zest, then eggs, one at a time. Turn the mixer to low speed and alternately add the remaining flour and the  milk and lemon juice.

4. Carefully pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check the cake after 30 min - it will feel slightly sluggish to the touch if you press the centre gently, but the edges will be firm and springy. To check if the cake is ready, insert a wooden skewer first towards the outer edge of the cake – it should come out clean. Then check the centre – the skewer will come out a bit sticky but not completely wet.

Whilst the cake is cooking, start the syrup so it’s hot and ready to pour over the cake as it comes out of the oven.

Lemon Vanilla Syrup

Place all ingredients into a small pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened and all the sugar has dissolved. Keep warm, ready to soak the cake as soon as it’s done.

To Proceed:

1. Place cake, still in the tin, on a tray or plate to catch excess syrup. 
2. Remove vanilla beans from syrup and set aside. Gently pour syrup over the cake, starting at the edges and working in to the centre. Allow cake to sit and absorb the first pour, then repeat with remaining syrup until it’s all absorbed.

3. Allow cake to cool to room temperature – if you’ve taken it out at the right point, the syrup will help the centre to slowly collapse and give the pudding-like texture desired. Garnish with julienned vanilla beans if desired.

4. Gently run a thin knife around the outside of the cake to release it from the tin, and unclip the springform tin. Slide a knife under the cake to help move it across to a cake stand or plate. Keep covered at room temperature until consumed.
5. Serve with creme fraiche (sour cream) or vanilla bean ice cream. 


  • The baking time for this cake is critical as I've mentioned before so check it properly before taking it out of the oven. 
  • Make sure that the syrup is hot when you pour it over the cake. 
  • Unmould this cake very carefully otherwise it can won't come out in one piece. Follow this easy technique - Once you finish adding all the syrup, wait for the syrup to get absorbed. Now unclip the springform tin, place a plate over the cake and very gently invert the cake over the plate. Now remove the base of the cake tin and parchment paper and invert the cake yet again such that it is top-side up onto a cake stand or plate. 


  1. Hi Megha,

    The cake looks so soft, moist and delicious. I reckon it tastes great too! :)

    Masterchef AU is my favorite among the others as well. People there just seem more friendy and warm.

  2. Just made it and its divine. I didn't have such a big tin, but made a cake and 6 muffins out of it.

  3. Hi! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting
    a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work
    on. You have done a outstanding job!

  4. I made it. It was perfect. It came out of the tin easier than anything I've ever baked. About 12 people raved about it!!!


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