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Lemon and thyme sponge cake

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for lemon and thyme sponge cake

By Emma Knowles
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 10 mins cooking plus cooling
  • Serves 8
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Lemon and thyme sponge cake


  • 12 eggs, at room temperature
  • 330 gm raw caster sugar (1½ cups)
  • 2 lemons, finely grated rind only
  • 370 gm plain flour, triple sifted (2½ cups)
  • 120 gm butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 300 ml pouring cream, whipped to soft peaks
  • For dusting: sugar
Lemon butter
  • 165 ml lemon juice
  • 220 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 165 gm caster sugar (¾ cup)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
Lemon and thyme syrup
  • 180 gm raw caster sugar
  • 60 ml lemon juice (¼ cup)
  • 2 lemons, zested rind only
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 50 ml limoncello


  • 1
    For lemon butter, combine lemon juice and butter in a heavy-based saucepan and stir over low heat until butter melts. Whisk sugar, egg yolks and eggs in a bowl until combined, add to lemon juice mixture and stir continuously for 4-5 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly, transfer to a container and refrigerate until completely cold. Makes about 2 cups.
  • 2
    For lemon and thyme syrup, combine sugar, lemon juice and ¾ cup water in a small saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves, add lemon zest and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, simmer for 15-20 minutes or until zest is translucent, add thyme and simmer for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add limoncello and stir to combine. Cool completely.
  • 3
    Preheat oven to 160C. Using an electric mixer on high speed, whisk eggs, sugar and lemon rind for 7-8 minutes or until tripled in volume. Sift over flour, then fold through using a large metal spoon, add butter and thyme and fold through. Pour into a buttered and floured 28cm-diameter cake pan, filling to 3cm below rim (there may be mixture left over). Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and centre springs back when pressed gently with a fingertip. Cool for 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  • 4
    To serve, halve cake horizontally, spread base with cream and lemon butter and sandwich with top. Scatter top with white sugar, drizzle syrup over and serve.


Drink Suggestion: Grapey, sherbety Moscato. Drink suggestion by Max Allen

  • undefined: Emma Knowles