Lemon drizzle cake is one of those cakes that seems to have always been around. There are countless recipes, each with their own twist, but when baked with rosemary it is particularly delicious. I first tried this combination at the E5 Bakehouse in London – theirs was made with polenta – and I just had to make a version of my own.

Because this is made with ground almonds, it’s gluten-free, too. And in the event that there are leftovers (as if!), this will last a good week or so in an airtight tin. 


Ingredients - serves 8 

  • 6 large eggs
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 3 large lemons
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary

The Essentials

  • 50ml water 


Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas mark 3. Grease and line with baking paper a 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin. 

Separate 5 of the eggs placing the whites into one bowl and the yolks into another. Put the remaining whole egg into the bowl with the yolks and add 300g of the sugar and the zest of all 3 lemons. Whisk the yolks and sugar until the sugar more or less dissolves into the yolks, then beat in the almonds. This will be an almost impossibly thick batter, but that is normal.

Using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites to fairly stiff peaks. Scoop one third of the egg white into the yolk mixture and beat vigorously to slacken. Gently fold the remaining egg white into the batter using a spatula or large metal spoon, being careful not to deflate the whites. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45–50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out fairly clean – there may be the odd moist crumb on there.

While the cake bakes, make the syrup. Put the remaining sugar into a saucepan with the juice of all 3 lemons, the water and the rosemary sprigs. Bring to a boil, stirring. Boil for 1 minute, then set aside until the cake is baked.

As soon as the baked cake comes out of the oven, stab the cake repeatedly with a skewer, then pour the syrup over the top and leave it to soak in while the cake cools completely, in the tin. 

Recipe taken from John's book, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients. Buy here.