Saturday, November 7, 2020

Lemon Drizzle Cake


In Murder in the Margins, the position of writer-in-residence at the Open Book takes American Gothic writer Penelope "Pen" Parish overseas to Upper Chumley-on-Stoke, England.


Penelope makes new friends, solves a murder and discovers British cuisine like fish and chips, bangers and mash, steak and kidney pie and of course, an array of cakes and other sweets made by Lady Fiona Innes-Goldthorpe (Figgy to her friends) who runs the tea shop in the Open Book.

Pen is thrilled when American romance writer Charlotte Davenport, the future duchess of Upper Chumley-on-Stoke, invites her for afternoon tea.

"She had barely sat down when there was a tap on the door and a butler in a uniform resplendent with gold buttons came in bearing an enormous silver tray set with tea things and a tiered serving dish holding dainty crustless sandwiches on one level and delicate pastries on another."


One of the goodies on the tea tray was lemon drizzle cake, which quickly became a favorite of Pen's.


This recipe was adapted somewhat from several recipes on the Internet.  The glaze calls for "castor sugar," which we call superfine sugar.  I couldn't find any in our grocery store so I whirled the sugar in my food processor and it turned out fine.  

Your baking time may vary.  Mine took longer but check frequently.




1 cup butter, softened  
2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar (separated)
4 large eggs
¼ cup milk 


Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9-x-12-inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang on the long sides.


Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest.


Beat butter and half of the sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) until light and fluffy.


 Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.  Beat in milk (mixture will look curdled.) 


Mix in flour mixture until combined, then scrape into prepared baking pan, smoothing the top.




Bake until golden brown and springy, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. 



Let cool for 10 minutes.


Mix together remaining half of the sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) and enough lemon juice to make a runny mixture. You may need more or less lemon juice depending on the size of your lemons.



Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer.



While cake is still warm (but has cooled for ten minutes), spoon the sugar mixture evenly over the top. It will sink into the cake and form a crunchy sugar layer on top. 


Remove from pan when completely cool.




Barnes & Noble 

Out Now!

The plot thickens for American gothic writer Penelope Parish when a murder near her quaint British bookshop reveals a novel's worth of killer characters.

Penelope Parish has hit a streak of bad luck, including a severe case of writer's block that is threatening her sophomore book. Hoping a writer in residence position at The Open Book bookstore in Upper Chumley-on-Stoke, England, will shake the cobwebs loose, Pen, as she's affectionately known, packs her typewriter and heads across the pond.

Unfortunately, life in Chumley is far from quiet and when the chairwoman of the local Worthington Fest is found dead, fingers are pointed at Charlotte Davenport, an American romance novelist and the future Duchess of Worthington. Charlotte turns to the one person who might be her ally for help: fellow American Pen. Teaming up with bookstore owner Mabel Morris and her new friend Figgy, Pen sets out to learn the truth and find the tricks that will help her finish her novel.

 "I love this premise of this book. Small town England, bookstores, and royal families tied in. Swoon!...MURDER IN THE MARGINS should definitely be on your list of books 

to read this year!" 

Fresh Fiction



  1. The cake looks delicious! I love everything lemon. I’m looking forward to reading your new series.

  2. This sounds like a charming read. And I love lemon drizzle cake! I was first served it by a fellow expat (both of us from different countries) while living in Taiwan. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. This would be perfect with a nice cup of tea. Bring it on!

  4. Both the mystery and the cake sound delicious!