Life Force Lemon Drizzle Vintage Cake Recipe

Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake on cake platter with coffee Bake This Cake

Bouncing the pots here for the Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake — a moist vintage lemon cake from scratch soaked in a sweet lemony sauce and served with a dollop of Lemon Chantilly (hint-of-lemon whipped cream). Score one for vintage cake lovers!

Lemons from the Tree Bake This Cake

The theme of this cake: vibrant sun, full of life, celebration!

So let’s celebrate with a homemade celebration cake!  whoo hoo!

Celebrate Photo by Leslie Macchiarella for Bake This Cake

We used fresh Meyer lemons from our tree! And it is blooming with lemons, lemons and more lemons!  Oh yeah!  I’d say it’s time to pick a basket of fruit and bake a cake that travels easily to become your next Auction Cake (at the upcoming fundraiser) or to become your next  Potluck Cake (for meetings or church — what my family calls “a church cake”). 🙂

Lemon Tree med shot LifeForcePhotos for Bake This Cake

Kumkwat tree Photo by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCake

Kumkwat tree springs to life!

Fruited yard: In celebration of this celebration cake, I’m going to plant another tree. Bring on the life force! Eight fruit trees are not enough when you use and share all the lovely (did I say free?) fruit that a fruit tree keeps bringin-on-home year after year!  So far, we have: 2 apple trees, an Asian pear, a way-old fig tree, a nice big apricot tree (that the squirrels adore!), the tiniest little peach, a massive old grapefruit tree and a lemon tree.  If I had my way, I would have every stick of green on the property bearing fruit or veggie.  Like, why would I want a maple tree when I could be taking jam or baskets of fruit to my friends and neighbors?  I say put those trees to work! :Oh, and time-saving? Yeah, hello!  Forget the traffic and stroll out back to snag a grapefruit for your Vodka Greyhound. Ho!

Seeds to plant BakeThisCakeHidden vegetable garden: I do have a starter plan, oh yes!  And it includes a money-saving idea of dotting little veggie plants among the flowering or green plants in the yard.

Now. If I can just get the gardener to stop hoeing up my starter plants, we’ll have a bountiful hidden vegetable garden coming soon. 🙂

While Wandering book in leaves Photo by LifeForcePhotosCake Creations: Don’t you love selecting and creating a cake that will be the perfect match for an important event?  This Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake was re-created from vintage recipes on the occasion of the delivery of the printer’s proof of Mumsie’s new book, “While Wandering: A Photo-Poetic Journey Through California Landscapes”.  Here’s the daughter book pitch: Written by my amazing 90-year-old Mum, this glossy book is filled with stunning nature poetry.  Each poem stands side-by-side with a dramatic full-page photograph of breathtaking California-scapes (from the mountains to the sea)!  The best part — this book is a generational family collaboration — Mother writer, Daughter Photographer.  Check it out HERE!  🙂

Broken China Clock Photo by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCakeSlow Cooking Warning: I KNOW you’re busy.  Yes, I hear you.  But everyone needs a little baking therapy from time to time, eh?  Plan on a fun 3-hour kitchen project or, best — overnight prep time.  Why?  Because this cake bakes NICE AND SLOW (for 90 minutes!) in that old-fashioned tradition with sweet soaker sauce time required to get it just poy-fect!

Kitchen Buddies: There are no fancy tricks or high-end tools needed for this little hearth craft (though you could throw in a few kitchen gadgets) so please…Bring your kids right on into your sweet kitchen! Deputize your toddler for stirring, middlers for lemon juicing and teens for grating lemons and you’ll have a family cake on your hands in no time with your kids as Baker Assistants. Or gather your college dorm buddies all together for a little homemade cake party —  vintage style!

P.S. Kids and girlfriends LOVE aprons too!

Vintage Aprons Photo by Leslie Macchiarella for Bake This Cake

Give everyone a chef’s hat to encourage that home baker’s pride!

Bake This Cake chef hat stitched by Lindsey for Bake This Cake

Chef’s hat my daughter stitched for me.

P.S. Boys love aprons too.

And don’t go thinkin they’re sissy.

Throw a dish towel around your boy or, better yet, craft up an apron with a cotton cafe curtain.  No sewing required!  Just thread a cord through the curtain where the curtain rod normally runs and PRESTO!

Cool and cute apron for up-cycle style in about, oh, 10 seconds. 🙂

No sew apron made with cafe curtain by Bake This Cake

10 Second No Sew Apron made from cafe curtain

Tip: While you’re happily grating lemons, check out my Pandora Radio Station and listen to some cool baking music — or “prep & watch” — like catch a recorded TV show with a basket of lemons on your lap…maybe Last Cake Standing. 🙂

And, remember also that you’re about to FILL your home with the incredible aroma of fresh lemons! It is bound to rock your world in heavenly scent!


Bee on pink flowers Photo by Leslie Macchiarella

Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake:

Cake Tools:
Tube Pan aka Angel Food Cake Pan (or bundt pan)
Cooking spray
Lemon juicer tool (optional)
Small grater (for lemon peel)
Medium soup-sized bowl (for 5 fork-beaten eggs)
Large mixing bowl
Electric mixer
Measuring cups and spoons
Parchment or wax paper (for counter work and storage)
Small sharp knife (for de-crusting baked cake and slicing optional lemon slices for decoration)
Pastry brush (optional, for dusting cake free of crumbs)
Covered cake holder (or large bowl, for storing the cake while it soaks)
Cake thermometer (optional)

Lemons in a shirt basket BakeThisCake

Cake Ingredients:
5 large fresh eggs
2 Tablespoons of fresh grated lemon peel* (from 2 large lemons)
1 fresh lemon, sliced for  decoration (optional)
3 cups general all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 cubes or sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup milk (2% is fine)
1/4 cup corn oil (I’m told vegetable oil works fine too)
1 Tablespoon honey (we used Clover)

*Reserve the skinned lemons for the Lemon Drizzle recipe below

Cake Prep:

Set out on the counter to come to room temperature (about 20 to 30 minutes):
5 large fresh eggs
Tip: You can shorten the time to about 5 minutes for bringing eggs to room temperature by soaking the cold eggs in a bowl of warm water.
Double Tip: Bringing the eggs to room temperature will help reduce bubbles in the baked cake. 🙂

5 fresh eggs in blue ceramic egg holder Bake This Cake

Grate the peel of:
2 large fresh lemons to make 2 Tablespoons loosely packed

Lemons grated for Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake 2 by BakebThisbCake

Bald lemons. Ha!

Spray the tube pan with cooking spray.

Set the oven rack at center position and pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.
Tip: That’s not a typo — this be SLOW bakin, the old-fashioned way! 🙂

Soften in the microwave for a few seconds to just room temperature:
1 cup (2 cubes) of unsalted butter

Beat at high-speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes):
the softened prepared butter

Beat into the creamed butter on medium- to high-speed until fluffy (about 2 minutes):
3 cups granulated sugar

Creamed butter & sugar for Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake by Bake This Cake

Beat into batter on medium- to high-speed until fluffy (about 1 to 2 minutes):
1/4 cups corn oil (substitute vegetable oil)
Tip: Creamed butter mixture at this stage should be very light in color and very fluffy.

Crack into a medium soup-sized bowl and blend with a fork:
the room temperature eggs

With the mixer on low, slowly dribble into the batter:
the fork-beaten eggs

Slow pour of beaten eggs Bake This Cake

Beat the eggs into the batter on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes.

Using a spatula (instead of the mixer), gently fold into the batter in 3 batches:
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of milk (2% is fine)
Tip: Add a third of the flour with a third of the milk into the batter, then fold with a spatula in a nice large overhand circular motion and repeat for two more additions.

Fold in until fully incorporated:
1 Tablespoon of honey (we used Clover honey)
the prepared grated lemon peel

Using a spatula, slide the thick batter into the prepared tube pan.

Smooth the top of the batter with a spatula.

Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake batter Bake This Cake

Bake on the center rack at 300 degrees for about 90 minutes until the cake is golden and the center tests clean (internal temperature 208 to 210 degrees).  If you get a few little cracks along the top of the cake, that is fine since we will be scraping the golden crust away and flipping the cake upside down — so don’t let that rent space in your head. 🙂

Baked Life Force Lemon Drizzle Lemon Cake hot from the oven by Bake This Cake

Cool the cake in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing it.

Cut around the edges of the pan and turn the cake upside down onto parchment or waxed paper on the counter.

The top of the cake is now what used to be the “real” bottom of the cake (when it was in the oven) — but we’ve flipped it over and will present it this way — so keep track here. Ha!

With small sharp knife gently scrape away all golden soft cake crust from the outer edges of the cake so that only light, tender cake is showing for the most part on top, sides and bottom (leaving center circle in a natural crusted state).
Tip: This de-crusting will ensure a good soak with the lemon baste…plus — the removed moist cake crust makes a nice snack, or reserve it for a crumble topping in a different recipe.
Double Tip: If you have a dry pastry brush, lightly brush away any remaining crumbs so that the cake is fairly crumb free.

Cover the top of the cake with parchment or wax paper and place the cake (with bottom and top covered with paper) in a covered cake holder (or under large bowl) to thoroughly cool on counter (at least 1 hour).
Tip: We’re not covering the sides of the cake or wrapping it entirely in plastic wrap because it seems better to let the sides of the cake “breathe” a little. 🙂

Bowl of fresh picked lemons for Lemon Drizzle Cake by Bake This Cake

Lemon Drizzle:  This is a sweet and tart lemon baste for the cake that will soak in that lovely lemon flavor and will enhance the moisture of the cake.

Ingredients for Lemon Drizzle for Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake Bake This Cake

Lemon Drizzle Tools:
Small sauce pot
Small bowl or cup (for 1 beaten egg)
Pastry brush (or spoon, for basting cake with sauce)
Thermometer (optional)

Lemon Drizzle Ingredients:
Grated peel of 1 lemon (about 1 T loose lemon peels)
Juice of 3 lemons (using 2 lemons left over from the cake recipe above plus 1  lemon for a total of 3 lemons) to make about 1/3  cup of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1 cup powdered sugar

Lemon Drizzle Prep:

Grate the peel of:
1 fresh medium lemon to make about 1 Tablespoon of peels softly packed

One lemon grated for peel Bake This Cake

Using a lemon-squeezing tool (or your hands), squeeze from 3 fresh lemons:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

Be sure to strain any lemon seeds from the juice.

Preparing fresh lemon juice for cake Bake This Cake

In a small sauce pan, bring to a gentle boil for 10 minutes:
prepared lemon peel
1 cup of powdered sugar
prepared lemon juice
1/4 cup of water
Tip: You will see some reduction in the sauce as it cooks but keep it at the minimum boiling point to prevent too much reduction.

Remove the pot from the stove and stir for 1 minute to reduce the temperature slightly.
Tip: We want this sauce hot to cook the egg (this egg will cook at 160 degrees) but If you don’t reduce the temperature just a tad before adding the egg, you may have scrambled eggs on your hands.  Just sayin. 🙂

In a small bowl or cup, beat well with a fork to fully blend:
1 large egg

Using a whisk, very slowly dribble the well-beaten egg into the pot of Lemon Drizzle while you very quickly whisk to prevent lumping.
Tip: If you happen to lump your sauce, just strain it, no worries, and continue forward. 🙂

Stir for 10 minutes every few minutes until drizzle becomes room temperature (about 10 minutes all total).
Tip: Mixture will thicken slightly to a smooth and slightly tacky consistency as it is stirred to room temperature and it will show a nice golden color.

Reserve 1/4 cup of this Lemon Drizzle and refrigerate it covered for use in the Lemon Chantilly Cream Dollop.

Basting the Cake:

Theme here: Dip and pat, dip and pat.   A little Lemon Drizzle brushed all over the top and sides of cake will make it nice and shiny and a little sticky. Yum!

Use the Lemon Drizzle for the cake at room temperature because the cold sauce will thicken and become difficult to apply to the cake (although the chilled sauce reserved in a small quantity is perfect for adding to the whipped cream recipe below).

Leaving the bottom parchment or wax paper in place under your baked and cooled cake, lightly brush or pat various coats of Lemon Drizzle on the top, sides and center of the cake until the Lemon Drizzle is all used up.

Decorate the top of the cake with 10 small, very-very thin lemon peel slices, pressing them into the tacky drizzle on top of cake near center circle to form an ode to sun-ray pattern.

Tip: We’ll put up a candied lemon peel recipe soon that you can use for topping pretties on the cake,  but these lemon slices are just for simple decoration (not for eating). 🙂

Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake close up by Bake This Cake

Refrigerate the basted cake in a covered cake holder (or cover the basted cake with a large bowl that doesn’t touch the cake) for at least 1 hour to set or, better yet, overnight. (Good things come to thems that wait for it.)  Ha!

Lemon Chantilly (Cream Dollop): This is a lightly sweet and lemony whipped cream that is perfect for enhancing each special slice.  This recipe makes about 2 cups of whipped goodness.  You can prepare this just before serving (or up to 3 hours ahead, refrigerated).

Lemon Chantilly Ingredients:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup cold prepared Lemon Drizzle (reserved from the Lemon Drizzle recipe above)
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, fine quality
4 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Lemon Chantilly Tools:
Deep medium mixing bowl (for whipping cream)
Electric mixer
Measuring cups and spoons

Beat on high-speed until soft peaks form (about 1 minute):
1 cup of heavy whipping cream

Beat into the softly whipped cream:
the chilled prepared (1/4 cup) Lemon Drizzle (reserved from recipe above)
1/4 teaspoon fine quality pure vanilla extract
4 Tablespoons powdered sugar

Serve each cake slice with a dollop of Lemon Chantilly.

Life Force Lemon Drizzle Cake slice with Chantilly Cream Bake This Cake

Well, there you have it, ladies and gents.  I do hope you will be able to enjoy this little kitchen project some time in the near future…maybe this week-end??  (That’s not a nag — ha!)

Thank you for stopping by!

Wishing you happy vintage cake baking!

Send me photos of your own version of this cake and I’ll post em!


Leslie at beachwood overview

Mom It Forward Valentine Winner Viola

Piccolo cooking school kids Photo by Leslie Macchiarella for Bake This Cake

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Leslie's  New Red Tennies by Leslie Macchiarella for BakeThisCake

Celebrating new red tennies.

10 thoughts on “Life Force Lemon Drizzle Vintage Cake Recipe

  1. Life Force Lemon Drizzle Vintage Cake Recipe is a great write-up. You have my vote for this cake and I will bookmark this blog right now.

    • Thank you for visiting Jude and for your comments! We set the site for more visual than print-out (because I’m too wordy to print out) so you can slide through photos with the instructions (it works on smart phones and iPads too) so hope that works for you. 🙂

  2. My favorite dessert of any kind is one made with lemon…and this is probably going to become my new favorite dessert. I am going to make this cake when I get a break from work…

    This is an incredible website devoted to the sweetest pleasure in life…baking wonderful things in a warm kitchen with family and friends and quirky things like that hat. Coming to your website just makes me smile and it feels like home…

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