Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake Recipe (2024)



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How do you get 2 tablespoons of zest out of one lemon?

Linda Two Terriers

I haven't made this yet but I've learned about baking with whole lemon slices from making shaker lemon pies. 1) Use thin-skinned lemons. Meyer lemons work well. 2) Partially freeze the lemons before slicing in order to get them as thin as possible.


I don't think the lemon slices are nice at all. I found them quite bitter and rubbery, but they were really pretty. Maybe blanching and/or candying them first would help to make them more palatable.

Chris S.

Thank you, Alison Roman, for this marvelous recipe. The idea of keeping a simple, refreshing and not-too-sweet cake on hand for ordinary use (unexpected or planned drop-by visits, a needed post-challenge pick-me-up, or whatever) brings back the notion of simpler village life when we could all expect unannounced visitors to whom it would be polite to offer a hospitable bite and a cup of coffee or tea. The idea of a similarly nourishing ceremony just for ourselves when needed is uplifting.


You could also simmer the sliced lemons( as thick as you made them) in equal parts sugar and water just to cover them. These ’candied’ lemon slices are yummy

Jason K

I really like this cake. It stores well and definitely didn't last more than two days in my house. A couple of notes:1. Use the full 2TBSP of sugar on the top which takes away the bitterness of the lemon slices and adds some needed sweetness.2. At 60 min. bake time, the cake was still quite moist inside (and a toothpick did not come out clean). I pulled it anyway and it was baked perfectly. (My oven is calibrated)3. You need more than two lemons to produce 2TBSP of zest


Favorite cake! To make it more lemony, I put very thin lemon slices on the bottom of the pan before adding the batter. They melt into the cake. Agree that the slices have to be super thin (mandoline). I let the slices for top and bottom sit in a bowl with sugar for a while before putting them on.I've added grated fresh ginger.I've added a Tsp of cardamon which gives the cake a slight spicy savory flavor. Next time I do that, I'll reduce the sugar a bit. More turmeric is nice too


Love this recipe and have made it a couple times already! It’s really great to bring to parties or small, casual gatherings and everyone’s been impressed. The only issue I’ve had is that the lemon slices on top need to be VERY thin or they’re hard to cut through when slicing the cake and the rind can be pretty chewy to eat if it’s not paper thin. Otherwise, the lemon is a lovely crystallized, caramelized texture on top.


Quarter the lemons after thinly slicing and arrange in a pretty pattern on top to make slicing (and chewing) easier.

Elisabeth Gern

Saffron instead of turmeric. It works wonderfully well.

Elle C.

This is a nice simple & tasty recipe. Not too sweet & a light lemon taste. I wanted more of the crispy edges, so I baked them in a Madeleine pan about 18-20 min, made 2 doz. (Omitted the sliced lemon).If you want them a little sweeter, I think a light lemon glaze would be perfect.


Using 9x5 loaf pan worked fine, just watch the cooking time.Lemons on top need to be very thin, otherwise the rind can be difficult to slice/eat thru. Someone suggested using a mandolin, which could work well.Cake becomes more moist, when wrapped/bagged and stored at room temp for 1-5 days after preparing.

Cake baker

Agree with a recent commenter--the lemon slices become rubbery and are impossible to cut nicely. Cake is pretty when comes out of oven, but a mess when serving. If I make it again, I'll sprinkle the top with zest and sugar instead using the slices. So, I just signed on to NYT Cooking. Did you test this recipe? Is this the level of user-friendliness I can expect from NYT recipes?


Delicious. Will reduce the sugar by 1 or 2 TBS next time, as we don't like sweet. Did the lemons very thinly on the mandolin and they were perfect.

Mimi S.

This tea cake is incredible!I’m gluten intolerant, so substituted Cup4Cup flour.I used the mandolin to slice the lemons for the top- but they were weird, and frankly not necessary, so I pulled them off after cooking. Note- with the Cup4Cup flour- I had to cook for about 65-70 minutes total- which is normal for me when baking Gluten Free (always about 10 minutes longer).Next tim I’ll simply sprinkle the top with sugar before baking!

Bina Corkery

Just made this cake. Very easy for a very inexperienced baker. Absolutely delicious. About to make a second one to give as a gift!


Amp up the lemon and turmeric if you want. Will be making this again and going to try adding some other warm spices in the mix.

Kathy Fletcher

I would peel the lemon before slicing and putting on top. Too tough to cut through. Otherwise delicious!!


Good taste, but a bit dry and dense for a cake. Tastes more like a sweet bread. It took me 6 lemons to get 2 tbsp of zest… that part of the recipe really needs to be updated.


Made this for the first time today. Added about a half tablespoon of freshly microplaned turmeric and a half teaspoon of cardamom per others’ suggestions. Baked in 2 12-portion madeleine pans at 400 for 9 minutes. They were delicious! Didn’t need anything else. I’ll be making them again.


has anyone made this with Meyer Lemons? And if so did you cut the sugar?

Larry W

Turned out great! I had to bake it for 70 mins. I cut the lemon slices very thin so I didn't have any trouble slicing the cake. I also only sprinkled 2 tsp of sugar on the top.


The texture is nice but it’s not sweet at all and hardly tastes of lemon.


Gorgeous delicious cake. Buy the biggest lemon so you get a lot of zest. The scent of rubbing sugar and zest is heavenly. Mixing the meltedbutter at the end can be problematic so get a big rubber spatula and keep turning the bowl as you fold the butter into the batter. Turn/fold quickly and efficiently. I used the side of a box grater to get thin quarter slices of lemon and tossed it in boiling sugar water (smells delicious) dried it a bit then onto cake. Turmeric makes it healthy. right?


I didn't mess with the lemon slices and instead added more zest and additional two tablespoons of sugar to the sugar in the recipe which I then held back to sprinkle on top before baking. Perfect and it added that little something. I also used a 9x5 buttered nonstick loaf pan without the parchment and it came out fine. Will make this again.


This is a beautiful cake, but the lemon flavor is really faint. I think the cake could've used a lot more lemon zest and juice (and more turmeric, too, why not!) to give it a brighter, more intense flavor. It tasted good anyway--not too sweet. However, the texture was way off. For some reason, one stick of butter appeared to be too much. It was difficult to incorporate into the batter, so the cake came out a bit dense and rubbery. It looked like half the butter leaked out into the pan.

Dani W

This was a massive fail - it overflowed and started burning at the bottom of the oven so I had to turn off the oven about 6-10 minutes in. Maybe my pan was too small but it was at least 4 by 8 If there is any advice, I want to try again maybe I will just fill it a quarter of the way but I am too upset right now


Compared with other lemon cakes, the flavor here is not great. Try something else.

Karen in Seattle

This is awesome and so easy. Made exactly as written. Big hit at today's brunch.

Adele Smith

Made this exactly as the simple recipe indicated. I appreciated the hint about using a metal bread pan. It cooked perfectly in 60 minutes. It reminds me of an old fashioned bisquick Sunday cake. Don't overmix the batter!Delicious and easy.

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Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake Recipe (2024)
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