Mary Berry's Crunchy Top Lemon Cake Recipe

Crunchy Top Lemon Cake Recipe

It took at least 10 test versions of this cake to adapt it from Mary Berry’s original Crunchy Top Lemon Cake recipe found in Mary Berry’s Ultimate Cake Book. First of all, finding a 7″ round cake pan (with deep sides) in the U. S. is not very easy, but find one I did. Secondly, the original recipe specified measurements in ounces and grams — not what American bakers are accustomed to at all. Thirdly, the recipe called for “self-raising” flour plus an additional teaspoon of baking powder. Since I was determined to use organic, non-gmo flour for this cake, I resorted to the standard substitutions for making my own “self-raising” or self-rising flour as we know it in the states. Because there was too much baking powder in the mixture, the recipe resulted in a delicious, but rather failed, flat cake.

In any case, I kept trying and tweaking measurements until the result was a moist, delicious and risen cake. No matter what I did, the cake still sunk a bit in the middle, but it is really tasty and difficult to resist. As Mary Berry suggests in her book, put some assorted fruit in the sunken area for presentation and all will be just fine.

Mary Berry's Crunchy Top Lemon Cake Recipe

Crunchy Top Lemon Cake Recipe

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 8


  • For the cake:
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour leveled
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder make sure it’s fresh
  • Zest of 1 lemon finely grated
  • 1 stick - or - 8 Tablespoons - unsalted butter softened
  • 2 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk
  • 4 Tablespoons milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • For the topping:
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF (use an oven thermometer to be sure).
  • Trace and cut out a waxed paper liner for a 7” wide by 3” inch deep (or 4” inch deep) round cake pan, grease the pan on the bottom and sides, grease the liner and place it in the bottom of the greased pan.
  • Place all dry ingredients for the cake in a large mixing bowl and mix together well. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients in mixing bowl and beat for two minutes. If using a high powered stand mixer (such as Kitchen Aid), beat on lower speed (setting 2) for 1 minute.
  • Using a rubber spatula, pour the batter into the baking pan and spread it around, leveling it as much as possible.
  • Bake for 35 minutes, until the cake slightly pulls away from the sides of the pan and springs back lightly when pressed with the finger.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, leaving it to cool in the pan for two to three minutes.
  • Mix together the topping ingredients and pour the topping over the cake while it is still in the pan, spreading it around so it goes down the sides a bit.
  • Leave the cake in the pan to cool completely before turning it out onto a plate. To un-mold the cake, carefully run a thin, sharp knife between the edge of the cake and the pan to release it.


This cake will sink a bit in the middle while it cools.

If you need a 7″ cake pan with deep sides, here is a great one on — personally tested by me.


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