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Lemon Thyme Snacking Cake

Updated: May 12, 2021

single layer lemon cake + hint of thyme


For the cake:

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 lemon

4 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1 cup milk

2 eggs

¾ cup canola oil

1 tbsp baking powder

1 ½ cups AP flour

For the icing:

1 tbsp milk

1 cup powdered sugar

1 lemon (can probably reuse the cake lemon if there is enough juice left)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Start by separating the thyme leaves from the stems, adding the leaves to a small bowl.

  3. Grate lemon zest into the bowl. Add the sugar, and massage the sugar, thyme, and zest together until fragrant and evenly incorporated.

  4. In a larger bowl, combine milk and 1 tbsp lemon juice, leave for 5 min. This creates buttermilk.

  5. To the milk, add sugar mixture, eggs, oil, and mix to combine.

  6. Add 1 cup flour, salt, and baking powder, mix. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour and mix until batter is smooth and no lumps are left.

  7. Pour the batter into a greased/lined cake tin.

  8. Bake the cake for 30 min. Take it out when the top no longer wobbles, is golden, and has a slight crack. See picture below for a visual example.

  9. To make the icing, combine milk and powdered sugar, add lemon juice until you reach a consistency you like. Wait until the cake is cool to ice it.


Other citrus

If you would rather use oranges than lemons, substitute the lemon juice for vinegar when you make the buttermilk. You can then use the orange zest, and add some orange juice if you want. This recipe could also work with grapefruit or limes.


You don't have to use thyme in this recipe if you don't want to or don't have any. I chose to incorporate it because our thyme plant was ready to be pruned. The main flavor here is lemon, and the thyme mostly adds a pop of color. The flavor of thyme is delicate and will most likely be overpowered by the lemon.

Top with lemon slices

Now that you've zested and juice your lemon, make it go even further! Cut that baby up into slices. In a small pan, add 1 cup water and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. On medium heat, stir the mixture until dissolved. Then, add the lemon slices. Let them bathe in the sugar water on low, stirring occasionally. I made this when the cake was in the oven. After about twenty minutes, the lemons were sweet and tender. I laid them on paper towels, sprinkled them with more granulated sugar, and added them to the cake after I frosted it.


Baked goods are often high in sugar, fat, and carbs. As someone who bakes often, I have to watch how much I eat. I love to eat. I do. I also love to have a healthy body. That being said, I appreciate when a recipe states a calorie count. So I've decided to provide that for you.

I'm not a dietician or a doctor, so I'm not going to tell you that this cake is healthy or unhealthy. Some of my recipes are created with a certain dietary need in mind. This cake was created with one thing in mind: lemony goodness. As always, eat in moderation.

Total calories: 2,985

Divide that number by how many slices you cut. I cut the cake into eighths, so each slice is 373 calories. I calculate calories ingredient by ingredient and then add it up. If you're using different ingredients, your calories will be different.


My family grows herbs in our courtyard. Thyme is such a lovely plant. Specifically, this is lemon thyme. It takes a little while to separate the leaves from the stems.

Here is the thyme, lemon, sugar mix.

Here is the cake, perfectly baked. Browned edges, golden dome, lovely cracks, and green specks of thyme are just barely visible.


Perfect snacking cake. Great with a cup of tea in the morning. Fresh and not over indulgent.

The story to this cake is quite simple: I realized I wanted to bake with more herbs. The herbs growing in our courtyard are beautiful and healthy right now, that was what inspired me. As for lemons, what can I say? I love them. I'm planning a rosemary cake, coming soon.



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