Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake

Bear with me, I know the idea of thyme in a lemon cake might seem strange but it adds something truly special to it. I took this recipe from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries II, which I can’t recommend highly enough. I love the way he delights in simple good-quality ingredients and makes thoughtful unfussy food a real joy. He reminds me to take my time and enjoy cooking even simple dishes, something which is welcome when my days seem to be otherwise so frenetic.

Take my advice: turn the notifications off on your phone for half an hour and take the time to make yourself a fabulous cake this weekend. Oh and don’t forget to enjoy a slice of this moist and oh-so-tasty cake sitting in the sunshine… *bliss*

Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake

Mmmm… isn’t she beautiful?


  • 200g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

For the drizzle:

  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 2 large lemons
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon on thyme leaves
Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake

Straight out of the oven


  • Line a 20cm loaf tin with baking parchment and set your oven at 160 degrees C / Gas 3.
  • Cream butter and sugar in a mixer (or by hand) until light and fluffy.
  • Beat the eggs lightly and add to your butter and sugar mixture beating thoroughly so they don’t curdle.
  • Add the flour, baking powder and ground almonds.
  • Grate the zest from your lemon and put into a pestle with your thyme leaves and pound until you get a rough paste, then mix into your cake mix.
  • Spoon into your tin and bake for 45 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking dissolve your sugar, water and the juice of 2 lemons over a low heat and then add your thyme leaves (and flowers too if you have them).
  • When the cake comes out of the oven prick it all over and drizzle the syrup all over.
  • Leave to cool before slicing and devouring.
Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake

In need of some drizzling

Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake

Drizzle applied…

Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake

… and soaking in (it smells just wonderful at this point)

Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon CakeNigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake Nigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon CakeNigel Slater's Thyme & Lemon Cake