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Lemon Cake (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)

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A summer party or a picnic is incomplete without some cake. Agree? What can be better than a perfect spongy, lemony yet sweet, and refreshing lemon cake? This Lemon Cake without Leavening Agent, which is without any baking powder or baking soda, is very light and can be assembled within 15 minutes, and is definitely a crowd-pleaser.

Lemon Cake without Leavening Agent (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)

One of our family favorites now. I actually never made a lemon cake earlier. I thought the tangy lemon taste will not be liked by my family. But I was surprised. My family wants more of this Lemon Cake.

My son a hardcore chocolate cake lover like me now loves this lemon cake. And he is correct, the cake leaves your palate with a lovely lemony, sweet and refreshing taste. The tangy and the sweet combination is just awesome and you keep craving for more. You really need to stop yourself from eating too much.

So surprised how a cake is made without a leavening agent and how it looks so soft and moist? Read on further to understand better.

The picture speaks for itself and believe me the cake is really soft and all that color is natural. The lemon and the eggs work their magic. I have not added a drop of any artificial color.

Lemon Cake (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)


The key ingredient for the rise of this Lemon cake without Leavening Agent is egg and there is no replacement of the same in this recipe. Eggs have a great ability to leaven or puff up foods when air is beaten to them. When you are beating eggs with a whisker or an electric mixer you are simply incorporating air into the mixture.

When you beat an egg in any mixture you would see that increases in volume. Egg whites are specially used for this purpose and egg whites expand up to 8 times their volume. Hence you can see that Soufflé, meringues all use egg whites, especially for this purpose. There is some science that when air is incorporated into the protein molecules it unwinds and stretches.

Tip with Respect to Eggs

  • If you are storing your eggs in the fridge it is always advisable to get them at room temperature for baking. They create the best volume and stability.
  • Secondly for any recipe if you are just beating egg whites, make sure the vessel is clean and does not have any traces of egg yolk or fat at all.
Lemon Cake (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)

The beating of the Butter & Sugar

Though this is the first step, I am adding it second here as many have asked me for the replacement for egg in this recipe which sadly is none. So I have mentioned the key ingredient egg in the first place.

So the first step of the recipe is beating the butter and the sugar. It has to be beaten thoroughly to almost a ribbon stage or when the mixture changes color. This will take around 3-4 minutes but is well worth the effort.

Always use room temperature softened butter when you want to cream the butter and sugar together. The butter has to be softened but not melted. There is a difference. You will not get a creamy texture batter with melted butter and you will not able to even cream it. So keep that in mind.

Recipe process of this Lemon Cake

Next, you are adding the eggs one at a time and beat each of them slowly until well incorporated. After each addition, you would see the eggs adding some volume to the mixture and the mixture getting creamier.

Now we are adding the flour, finely grated lemon zest, and vanilla essence. One can skip the vanilla essence if required but at times I can smell the egg and hence I love to add it to mask the smell.
One can skip the vanilla essence if at all. The real flavor comes from Lemon Zest, the outer rind of a lemon. Be sure to take only the yellow part. Do not use the white skin or it will go bitter.

Do not Overmix

When one adds the dry ingredient to the wet do not overmix. What I mean by Overmixing is:

Well, many think the more you beat the cake batter the fluffier it is. That is not correct. The beating is done before mixing the wet and the dry. Once both are mixed they react and the leavening agents or in our case the mechanical raising agent here egg starts to work.

So it is best to just mix it until the dry ingredient is mixed into the wet and then put it in the oven as soon as to not release the air and let it further expand during baking. Of course, every recipe differs, and it depends.

Always make sure you are running the spatula up to the bottom. At times the dry flour remains and then it will not be an even mix.

I have shared this for the cookout week 2018, an annual event where bloggers share summer recipes. This Lemon Cake without Leavening Agent is tangy, light, and airy and hence a perfect treat for summers.

This recipe is adapted from here, with my changes. This cake is very simple and is without any baking powder or baking soda and with just a few ingredients. The original recipe calls for Self-raising flour which has baking powder and salt added to it. I simply used All purpose flour / Maida without any leavening agent.

Lemon Drizzle

I have also drizzled this cake, with a lemon drizzle. That is a syrup made using lemon and sugar. This cake stays fresh for 4-5 days outside (if cold) or in the fridge. I have not frozen this cake, but you definitely can. Just cut into individual portions, and freeze. Try this cake and I am sure you are going to make this again and again.

Lemon Cake (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)
Baked Cake in loaf tin
Baked Cake in loaf tin
Baked Cake in Round Shape
Baked Cake in Round Shape

Few more cake recipes on my blog :


I have not changed the recipe at all. I am just adding some descriptive content as to why eggs are required, how to cream butter and sugar and what is meant by overmixing etc.

Lemon Cake without Leavening Agent (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda) - This Lemon cake without any baking powder or baking soda is very light, spongy, lemony, sweet and Refreshing. A perfect treat for all ages.
Lemon Cake (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)

Lemon Cake (No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda)

This Lemon cake without any baking powder or baking soda (i.e. without leavening agent), is very light, spongy, lemony , sweet and Refreshing.
4.76 from 25 votes
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Course: Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Bakes, Cake, Kids, Lemon, No Baking Powder, No Baking Soda, No Leavning Agent
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre



For the Lemon Sponge

  • 225 gms Softened Unsalted Butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 225 gms Demerara sugar or Granulated Sugar or Castor sugar
  • 225 gms All purpose Flour/Maida
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon- (Only the yellow part)
  • 1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

For the Lemon Drizzle

  • Juice of 1.5 lemons
  • 85 gm of Granulated Sugar (or Castor sugar)


  • Preheat the oven to 170C (fan assisted)/180 C normal.
  • Prepare a loaf tin (8 x 2.1 inch), by greasing it or lining it with grease proof paper.
    Pan being ready for the cake to be baked
  • Sift the flour in a bowl.
    225 gms All purpose Flour/Maida
  • Cut the butter into cubes or small pieces
    225 gms Softened Unsalted Butter
    Softened Butter
  • With the help of your stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes
    Beaten Butter
  • Add the sugar.
    225 gms Demerara sugar or Granulated Sugar or Castor sugar
    Sugar and Butter ready to be mixed
  • If your sugar is granulated and not in a powdered form, just roughly process it for a few seconds in a blender to break it down
    Powdered Sugar
  • Now beat together softened Unsalted Butter and sugar until pale and creamy (2-3 mins).
  • Add eggs one at a time. Slowly beating after each addition.
    4 eggs
    Eggs being added to the mixture
  • The mixture might appear curdled, but it is fine
    The mixture before adding flour
  • Add in the flour, finely grated lemon zest, Vanilla Extract and mix until combined.
    225 gms All purpose Flour/Maida, Finely grated zest of 1 lemon-, 1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
    Lemon Zest added to the flour mixture
  • Scrape off the side and the bottom of the bowl. Do not over mix.
    The cake mixture
  • Add the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and level with the back of the spoon.
    Lemon Cake Ready to be baked added in the baking loaf
  • Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
    Baked Cake in loaf tin
  • While the cake is baking prepare a mix of lemon juice and sugar.
  • In a small bowl add in the sugar and lemon juice.
    Juice of 1.5 lemons, 85 gm of Granulated Sugar
  • Mix until the sugar is dissolved.
    Sugar and Lemon Mix in a bowl
  • Once the cake is baked, remove from the oven and keep it on a wire rack.
  • Immediately poke holes with a toothpick or a skewer.
    Baked Cake in Round Shape
  • Drizzle the mixture of lemon juice and sugar, while the cake is still hot.
  • The lemon juice will be soaked up.
  • Let the cake cool completely.
  • Once Cooled, dust it with some icing sugar. (Optional)
  • Cut and Serve.


  • Baking time varies depending on your oven and loaf size.
  • Do keep a close watch on the cake after 40 minutes.
  • The cake can be prepared in a loaf tin or any other shaped tin. Please note the baking time varies.
  • The lemon drizzle has more lemon. If you prefer less lemon taste, reduce the quantity of lemon.
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu_ad or tag #cookwithrenu
Made it? Upload Your photosMention @cookwithrenu or tag #cookwithrenu
Tried this recipe?Share your feedback @cookwithrenu or tag #cookwithrenu

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 2nd of November 2022

Just tried it and loved how it came out! Perfect combo of sweet and lemony. I served it with some raspberries and it was perfect

Renu Agrawal Dongre

Thursday 3rd of November 2022

Thank you so much for your feedback. Glad it came out good for you and you liked it.

Lisa Gons

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

just what I was looking for, without bakg powder. thank u sounds lovely. I will try.

Renu Agrawal Dongre

Tuesday 20th of September 2022

Hope you like it, Thank You


Monday 18th of October 2021

Can you do this egg method for pancakes as well?

Renu Agrawal Dongre

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

I did not understand your question?

Chaitra Nagaraja

Friday 16th of April 2021


Renu Agrawal Dongre

Friday 16th of April 2021

Hi, Not in this recipe, unfortunately. if you want you can try this, Eggless Lemon Drizzle Cake


Thursday 8th of October 2020

I know I'm not supposed to rate before I tasted it but it was a blast to make, so that's good enough for me. One thing though, 1.5 lemons juice sounds vague, would be better in (ml) measurement. I'm not sure if I have too much because the drizzle seems to overflow! :p Or maybe I just didn't poke enough holes? I made sure to poke a lot though...