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Raymond Blanc's Lemon Cake
1.5 hours

Lemon cake with tea is a grand tradition at Belmond Le Manoir au Quat'Saisons, and it has been served here for more than 30 years so I challenge you to make a better one than this! If you follow my lemon cake recipe, the result will be fresh, zesty and as light as a cloud. A real winner with family and friends, plus you can make the lemon cake in advance; the glaze will prevent it from drying out. That makes it an excellent option for bake sales.

Recipe courtesy of

For the lemon cake

  • 80g unsalted butter (plus extra to grease your loaf tin)
  • 5 medium eggs (preferably free range / organic)
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 140ml double cream
  • Finely grated zest of three lemons
  • 25ml dark rum
  • 240g plain flour
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the glaze:

  • 50g apricot jam
  • finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 3tbsp lemon juice
  • 150g icing sugar
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  1. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start.
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 180c (160c fan/ gas mark 4).
  3. Lightly grease the loaf tin and line with greaseproof paper. Leave some paper overhanging the sides when you line the tin; this will enable you to lift out the cake by the paper, making it easy to de-mould.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, lemon zest, rum, salt and melted butter.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder together, then whisk into the egg mixture until smooth.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and gently level the surface.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour, turning the tin around halfway through cooking.
  8. To test the cake, insert a small knife into the middle – if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked. Do NOT switch your oven off at this point.
  9. Turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Do not leave your cake to cool in the tin, as this will prevent the steam from escaping, making your cake heavier.
  10. Lightly brush the cake all over with the warm jam. The jam creates a barrier, so the lemon glaze is not absorbed. Leave for 5 minutes.
  11. Mix the lemon zest and juice with the icing sugar in a small pan and warm over a low heat until smooth.
  12. Brush the lemon glaze evenly over the top and sides of the cake and leave for a few minutes to set.
  13. Place the cake on a baking tray in the oven, turn off the heat and leave for 3–5 minutes to dry the glaze – it will become translucent. Allow to cool before slicing and enjoy!

The Pass was created to help the many people now struggling to feed themselves and their families as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you like or use this recipe, please consider making a small donation to Hospitality Action to help those whose livelihoods have all but disappeared.

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