A tangy syrup cake is an afternoon tea classic, and should be part of all home bakers’ repertoire. Our go-to recipe is perfectly moist and easy to mix up with any kind of citrus fruit – scroll to the bottom of the method for ingredient conversions.

20 min
70 min



  1. 1 ½ cups (330g) caster sugar
  2. 3 large eggs
  3. 1 tbsp citrus zest (see notes)
  4. 2 1/3 cup (350g) plain flour
  5. 1½ tsp baking powder
  6. 1 tsp salt
  7. 1 cup (250ml) full cream milk
  8. 1 tbsp (20ml) citrus juice
  9. 2 tsp Queen Vanilla Bean Paste
  10. 200g unsalted butter, melted & cooled


  1. ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
  2. 2 tbsp (40ml) citrus juice (lemon, orange or lime)
  3. 1 tbsp of zest

Method - Cake

  1. Step 1

    Preheat oven to 170°C (fan forced). Grease and line a large 23cm x 13cm loaf tin.

  2. Step 2

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add sugar, eggs and zest and mix until well combined.

  3. Step 3

    Combine milk, Vanilla Bean Paste and lemon juice in a jug. Set aside.

  4. Step 4

    Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.

  5. Step 5

    With mixer on low, add half the flour mixture, followed by half the milk mixture, mixing to combine. Repeat with remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

  6. Step 6

    Turn the mixer down to low speed, slowly add the melted butter in a steady stream and beat until well incorporated. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes or until and inserted skewer comes out clean.

Method - Syrup

  1. Step 1

    Combine all ingredients in a medium heavy based saucepan over a low heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved before bringing up to a medium heat and boiling for 2-3 minutes or until mixture has thickened slightly. Remove from heat.

  2. Step 2

    Straight out of the oven, poke cake all over with a skewer and pour over syrup. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Best served warm with a generous dollop of cream.

Convert this recipe:
This recipe is best suited as a single layer or loaf cake due to the delicious crust that forms on top of the loaf during baking.

1 x single layer 20cm cake: Make recipe as above and bake for 55-60 minutes.


Recipe notes:
This cake is delicious with any type of citrus, please see the following amounts of fruit required for this recipe:

  • 1 orange creates approximately 80ml of juice and 2-3 tbsp of zest
    • You will need to use 1 orange if making an orange syrup cake with this recipe.
  • 1 lemon creates approximately: 45ml of juice and 1 tbsp of zest.
    • You will need to use 2 lemons if making a lemon syrup cake with this recipe.
  • 1 lime creates approximately: 32ml of juice and 2 tsp of zest.
    • You will need to use 4 limes if making a lime syrup cake with this recipe.

Comments & Reviews

Beautiful cake, made it for my husband’s birthday and his work mates loved it too


Lemons galore at the moment.


Hi Can you please clarify the quantities for the syrup in the Citrus Syrup Cake recipe as your Recipe Notes contradict the quantites in the recipe.


Hi Tina, The note is let you know how roughly how much juice/zest you will get from each fruit so you don’t purchase too little or too many fruit. For example – 1 lime creates 2 tsp of zest, which means you’ll need to purchase 4 limes to get 2 tbsp (8 tsp) of zest for the recipe. Please note while you will only need to juice 2 limes for the amount of liquid required, we put the maximum quantity of lime required at 4 limes due to the amount of zest needed. Hope this helps!