Cakes & Bakes: Earl Grey tea and lemon cake

Slices of Earl Grey tea and lemon cake with cups of tea | H is for Home

Never have I baked a cake that is more perfect for tea-time! As its name suggests, this Earl Grey tea and lemon cake is infused with oil of bergamot and drizzled with a lemon icing.

Earl Grey tea steeped in a saucepan hot milk | H is for Home

You begin by steeping Earl Grey tea in hot milk. We used a lovely loose leaf tea from Fortnum & Mason however Earl Grey teabags will suffice.

Mixing Earl Grey tea and lemon cake ingredients | H is for Home

The recipe I used was by ex-Bake Off contestant, Urvashi Roe and it was originally for mini loaf cakes. I don’t have any mini loaf tins (yet!), so I used a single 500g/1lb loaf tin and upped the cook time to an hour.

Earl Grey tea and lemon cake batter in a loaf tin | H is for Home Baked Earl Grey tea and lemon cake | H is for Home

I know that ‘lemony’ cakes often top the charts when it comes to people’s favourites (Justin included), but personally I’m not the biggest fan of lemon flavour – however, a little drizzle of the icing I could handle! I suppose I could supplement the lemon juice and zest with a little of my home-made elderflower cordial.

Slice of lemon, juicer, zester and icing sugar | H is for Home

Teaming this cake with a cup of Earl Grey or full-bodied Darjeeling or Assam is tea-time heaven!

Drizzling lemon icing over Earl Grey tea cake | H is for Home

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

Earl Grey tea and lemon cake
Serves 8
For the cake
  1. 125ml/4½fl oz milk
  2. 4 tsp loose Earl Grey tea (or 4 tea bags)
  3. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  4. 225g/8oz caster sugar
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 125g/4½oz self-raising flour
  7. 125g/4½oz plain flour
For the icing
  1. ½ lemon, juice & zest
  2. 200g/7oz icing sugar
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For the cake
  1. Place the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and immerse the Earl Grey tea in the hot milk. Cover the pan and set aside for 40 minutes to allow the tea to steep
  2. Strain the liquid from the leaves (or squeeze the liquid out of the teabags) and set the liquid aside to cool some more
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/355ºF/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 500g/1lb loaf tin with baking parchment
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar using an electric whisk or free standing mixer with a paddle attachment. It takes a while - about 10 minutes and you'll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time
  5. Once the mixture is light & fluffy, add the eggs one by one and mix well. Add half the flour and half of the tea-infused milk and mix until combined. Add the rest of the flour and milk and mix until there are no traces of flour in the bowl
  6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean
  8. Allow to cool in its tin on a wire rack
For the icing
  1. Mix the lemon juice, zest and icing sugar together into a smooth paste. It should be quite gloopy so it doesn't dribble too much down the sides (though a little dribble is okay)
  2. Pour over the loaf and leave the icing to set for about 30 minutes
Adapted from Great British Chefs
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Cakes & Bakes: Lemon & poppy seed loaf

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lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

Whenever I ask Justin what kind of cake he fancies, his reply always starts with the word ‘lemon’.

lemon & poppy seed loaf ingredients | H is for Home

Lemon isn’t my own personal favourite, but I decided to grant his wish today.

sugar and butter mixture | H is for Home

I’ve made him lemon drizzle cake, lemon curd tarts, lemon marmalade bars, lemon & polenta berry squares, lemon refrigerator cookies…

sifting lemon & poppy seed loaf dry mix | H is for Home

So something new – lemon & poppy seed loaf.

lemon & poppy seed loaf dry mix | H is for Home

It has the sharpness of citrus combined with a slightly earthy tone provided by the poppy seeds.

lemon zest & juice | H is for Home

The cake batter is quick and easy to make.

lemon & poppy seed loaf mixing | H is for Home

I folded whisked egg whites into the batter so the texture wasn’t too dense and heavy.

folding in egg whites to lemon & poppy seed loaf mix | H is for Home

The resulting loaf is substantial, but also light and open textured.

uncooked lemon & poppy seed loaf mixture in tin | H is for Home

It’s topped with a lemon glaze and a zingy, crunchy sugar topping…

glazing a lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

…another request from the lemon-meister!

close up of sliced lemon & poppy seed loaf | H is for Home

It’s one of those perfect afternoon cakes to complement a nice cuppa… and his Lordship is very happy!

Lemon & poppy seed loaf
Serves 8
For the loaf
  1. 115g/4oz butter, softened
  2. 225g/8oz caster sugar
  3. 3 eggs, separated
  4. 185g/6⅔oz plain flour
  5. ½tsp baking powder
  6. ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. pinch salt
  8. 1tbs poppy seeds
  9. 85g/3fl oz buttermilk
  10. juice of 1 lemon
  11. zest of 2 lemons
For the glaze
  1. 1½tbs icing sugar
  2. juice of half a lemon
  3. ½tbs granulated sugar
  4. pinch of lemon zestLemon & poppy seed loaf ingredients
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  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin
For the loaf
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter & caster sugar until light & fluffy
  2. Mix in the egg yolks
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt
  4. Mix in the poppy seeds
  5. In a measuring jug, add the buttermilk, lemon juice and lemon zest (reserve a pinch of the zest for the glaze)
  6. Add the dry, flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in two batches; interspersing it with adding the buttermilk & lemon mixture
  7. Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks before folding into the mixture
  8. Spoon the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake on the lowest shelf for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes away clean.. If the top of the loaf begins to get too brown, cover with tin foil
  9. Whilst the cake is cooking, make the glaze.
  10. Add the lemon juice & icing sugar to a small measuring jug and stir until any lumps have been removed. Set aside
  11. In a small bowl, add the granulated sugar & lemon zest and with your fingers using a crumbing motion. Set aside
  12. Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the tin
  13. Whilst still warm and using a pastry brush, spread the lemon juice & icing sugar glaze uniformly over the top
  14. Once completely cool, remove the cake from the tin a place on a cake plate
  15. Sprinkle the granulated sugar & lemon zest mixture over the top of the glazed cake
  16. It's now ready to serve!
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Cakes & Bakes: Lemon marmalade bars

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Home-made lemon marmalade bars | H is for Home #recipe #cake #lemon #lemoncake
It was Justin’s birthday last week and each year I take a birthday cake request from him. It’s usually something I don’t make often, if ever, because it’s something I don’t much like myself. There aren’t that many sweet things that I don’t like. But most things containing lemon or orange make it onto that list. Funnily enough, I don’t mind food with lime or grapefruit!

Last year, I pulled out & kept a page from a Stella Magazine containing a recipe I knew he’d like. It was for lemon marmalade bars by Sarah Leahey Benjamin. I promptly filed it away and forgot about it. On his birthday I asked, “So what cake do you want for your birthday?” He replied, “Lemon drizzle cake.” I think I made that last year (and more than likely the previous year too!), but it was his birthday, so who was I to say no? I flipped through my recipe folder and my eyes fell upon the pretty picture of the lemon marmalade bars. “What about these?”, I asked. “Yeah, OK.” he replied, a little indifferently.

It was delicious – even I had a piece or two. We took some with us for Granny Glittens to try when we went for a visit and she enjoyed it too. Success!

Lemon marmalade bars

Cook Time: PT40-50M

Yield: makes 16 small slices

Lemon marmalade bars


  • For the filling
  • 2 lemons, unwaxed
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 4tsp cornflour
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 45g/1½oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • For the base
  • 140g/5oz plain flour
  • 50g/1¾oz caster sugar
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 125g/4½oz unsalted butter, melted & cooled
  • ½tsp vanilla essence
  • icing sugar for sifting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
  2. Line a 20cm/8in square tin with tin foil, making sure the foil goes up & over the sides
  3. Slice one of lemons into 8 wedges lengthwise then slice each eighth into small pieces, making sure to remove the seeds
  4. In a small bowl, mix the slices with the sugar, rubbing the sugar into the lemon with your fingers to help extract the lemon oil
  5. Set aside for about an hour at room temperature
  6. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour with the caster sugar, ¼tsp salt, melted butter and vanilla essence
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth down with the back of a spoon, making sure it goes right into the corners
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown
  9. While the base is cooking, finish preparing the filling
  10. Juice the remaining lemon, measure out 3 tbsp of juice and set aside
  11. Using a food processor, blitz the macerated lemon & sugar mixture until smooth
  12. Add the lemon juice, eggs, cornflour, ¼ tsp salt and melted butter
  13. Purée again until the mixture is smooth
  14. Once the base is cooked, remove the tin from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2
  15. Carefullly pour the lemon filling over the cooked crust and return the tin to the oven
  16. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture is just set
  17. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan
  18. Dust with icing sugar prior to serving
  19. Using the edges of the tin foil, lift the cake out of the tin and cut into squares, rectangles or diamond shapes