Lemon and Thyme Cake


This is my kind of cake.

Super easy-to-make, no fuss, ingredients-in-the-cupboard kind of cake. The fresh thyme adds and enhances the lemon and is wonderfully fragrant and flavoursome.

Adapted from a BBC Food Nigel Slater recipe, I switched the butter and ground almonds for vegetable oil and semolina. I also increased the thyme infused lemon syrup levels so this cake is beautifully moist.lemon&thymecake-3

A new favourite in our house, this light, syrupy cake is lovely served with Greek yogurt. No further words needed other than preheat the oven and put the kettle on.



Lemon and Thyme Cake


  • 200g vegetable oil
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g semolina
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • Zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • For the Syrup
  • 6 tbsp. caster sugar
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves


  1. Prepare an 8 inch spring form pan by greasing and lining with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C or Gas Mark 3.
  2. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, thoroughly mix together the sugar and oil. Add the beaten eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and semolina.
  3. In a pestle and mortar, grind together the grated lemon zest and thyme leaves. Add these to the egg/oil/ sugar mixture, mix and thoroughly incorporate.
  4. With the mixer on a slow speed, add the dry ingredients and continue to mix until fully combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool a little in the pan and then remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. With a skewer, pierce a number of holes in the top of the cake.
  6. Prepare the syrup by placing the all ingredients into a small saucepan and over a moderate heat allow the sugar to dissolve. Allow the pan to remain over the heat for a little in order for the syrup to reduce slightly.
  7. Place the cake on the serving plate and the spoon the syrup over the cake ensuring that it drizzles down into the holes.
  8. Slice and serve.

Source: Adapted from Nigel Slater’s ‘Dish Of The Day’ BBC Food


  1. The texture of your cake is unbelievable, I love what oil can do… and well… the flavour is about my favourite!! Great job, Joanne!

  2. This is my kind of cake, too! I have heard so much about Nigel Slater. I’ve never had the combination of lemon and thyme in cake before but I imagine it works just as well here as it does in savory dishes. Whenever I see a cake made with oil, I always suspect I’ll love it. Just love the moistness and the fact that it stays that way for days. This would be such an afternoon treat with a cup or two of tea.

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Thanks Monica! It’s the thyme infused lemon syrup that clinches this. I used a scented thyme so you can just imagine the smells going on in the kitchen 🙂

  3. Super easy cakes are the kind I need these days! I feel like I have no time right now for anything!! haha This sounds delicious with the thyme … I keep meaning to bake more with herbs.

  4. Yummm!!!!! This cake looks so DELICIOUSLY moist!!!! and the thyme infused lemon syrup is simply making me droooool!!!!!!! Such a scrummy treat for teatime! 🙂

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Thank you Samina!! Great to hear from you. This cake gets better as the days pass 😉

  5. This cake looks amazing, Jo! I love lemon and thyme but have never baked both flavours in a cake! But I need to try out this recipe soon- it sounds brilliant and that last photo with the slice and cream is super yummy! 🙂

    • thecontentedbaker says:

      Thank you so much Jess! Yes – it is a surprising combination in a cake but works really well 🙂

Speak Your Mind