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This recipe is classed as easy

Rating 3.51 / 5 (110 votes)

Prep time:
40 min, plus 10 minutes cooling
Cook time:
35 min

Go wild with lots of different varieties and colours of sweets when decorating Annie Rigg’s deliciously light lemon layer cake


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease two 20cm round springform cake tins and line the bases with greased baking parchment.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder together.

3. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until pale, light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time.

4. With the mixer on a low speed, add the flour and soured cream alternately to the mixture in batches. Add the lemon zest and juice and mix until smooth.

5. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to wire cooling racks. Turn the cakes the right way up and leave to cool completely.

6. For the frosting: cream the butter and icing sugar until smooth and pale. Add the lemon curd and mix again until smooth.

7. When you are ready to assemble the cake, take a large, serrated knife and slice each cake in half horizontally to give 4 even layers.

8. Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread with 2 heaped tablespoons of frosting. Top with another cake layer and frosting. Repeat until you have 4 layers of cake and 3 of frosting. Cover the top and sides of the whole cake with the remaining frosting, spreading evenly with a palette knife.

9. Decorate the cake with your choice of assorted sweets, but do this no more than 1-2 hours before serving, otherwise they will soften and bleed into the frosting.

Extract from Birthday Cakes for Kids - by Annie Rigg published by Ryland Peters and Small


  • 400 g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 225 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 250 ml soured cream, at room temperature
  • 2 lemons, grated zest of both and juice of 1
  • assorted sweets, such as dolly mixtures, Smarties

For the frosting

  • 350 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 600 g icing sugar, sifted
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd

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Latest Comment


Too much baking powder will make your cake sink, so you need to ensure that this is measured out accurately!

fionaH72563 fionaH72563  Posted 31 Jul 2011 8:38 AM

I'm clearly doing something very wrong. I tried this twice and it most definitely was not light....it was a solid and flat slab. The taste was OK though. Does anyone have an idea as to what might be going wrong?

RachelG27671 RachelG27671  Posted 15 Jan 2011 4:01 PM

I hadn't baked in ages and decided to make this for a family event. Everybody absolutely loved it. A good whisk with an electric mixer when steadily mixing in the flour and sour cream made it nice and light and the icing was yum. A great alternative to the usual vanilla or chocolate sponge.

tea_addiction tea_addiction  Posted 28 Jul 2010 11:16 AM

I made this for my son's birthday party. It's only the 2nd time I've baked a cake so I'd say it went very well. It looked great, and the icing tasted fantastic. The sponge was pretty dense, though it tasted good. I wondered if it would've been lighter if I'd used a proper electric mixer - I used an electric hand mixer which was hard going, but I didn't have the free-standing type of mixer (I've now bought one!). My son was delighted when he saw the cake - with all the sweets and candles it really looked great.

ElinorN32508 ElinorN32508 Posted 15 Jun 2010 12:18 PM

easy to make, turned out great! Very sickly though, all the kids (and parents) loved it at my little girls 1st Birthday party

Jamesy79 Jamesy79 Posted 06 Apr 2010 9:05 AM