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.

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