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Brown butter, lemon and thyme drizzle cake recipe

Brown butter, lemon and thyme drizzle cake recipe

38 ratings

It's hard to beat a good lemon drizzle cake, but we've given it a go with this delicious, easy loaf cake flavoured with fragrant thyme and toasty, nutty brown butter. It's pretty enough to serve on a special occasion, but why wait? Get baking! See method

  • Serves 10
  • 10 mins to prepare and 1 hr 05 mins to cook
  • 346 calories / serving
  • Vegetarian


  • 190g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 2½ lemons, 2 zested, all juiced (you’ll need approx. 6½ tbsp juice)
  • 200g caster sugar, plus 3 tbsp
  • 3 large eggs
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 5g thyme sprigs (you need 1 tbsp leaves), plus extra to decorate
  • 90ml milk
  • 50g icing sugar
No self-raising flour? Add 2 tsp baking powder for every 150g plain flour

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    16g 22%
  • Saturates

    9g 45%
  • Sugars

    29g 33%
  • Salt

    0.3g 6%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 46g Protein 5.2g Fibre 1g


  1. Melt the butter in a pan over a low-medium heat, then heat for 3-5 mins, stirring frequently, until it stops bubbling, smells nutty and goes foamy; remove from the heat. When the foam subsides, the butter should be a deep brown colour. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool, until solid but still soft – you should have 150g.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Grease and line a 900g (2lb) loaf tin. In a mixing bowl, rub half the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers. Add the cooled brown butter, then beat with a wooden spoon until pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time (don't worry if it splits a little), then fold in the flour, thyme leaves and a pinch of salt. Pour the juice of 1 lemon into a measuring jug and add enough milk to make it up to 120ml. Stir into the batter. Transfer to the prepared tin and level the top. Bake for 50-60 mins until risen, golden and springy to the touch
  4. Meanwhile, mix the juice of 1 lemon with 3 tbsp sugar. Prick the cake all over with a cocktail stick, then drizzle over the juice mixture. Leave to cool in the tin.
  5. To serve, mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick, pourable icing. Drizzle over the cake and scatter with the remaining lemon zest and thyme sprigs. Will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Tip: Make the brown butter ahead: keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Freezing and defrosting guidelines

Freeze un-iced cake. In order to enjoy optimum flavour and quality, frozen items are best used within 3 months of their freezing date. For more tips on freezing and defrosting food, read our article Love Your Freezer.

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