After last week’s lemon and blueberry pancake extravaganza for Shrove Tuesday, I had half a lemon and about 50g of blueberries rattling around the fridge. As nothing goes to waste in these tight times, I figured I may as well turn them into a cake. We’re big fans of cake in the Munching Matilda South London test kitchen so I knew that if I nailed this bad boy, it would not last very long.

To create a lemon and blueberry cake, I’ve adapted a fairly easy sponge cake recipe, taken the cream cheese frosting on my absolutely ridiculous salted caramel spiced carrot cake to the next level and created a jammy blueberry syrup to swirl through the luscious batter. With the frosting, I added a dollop of sour cream when I ran a bit short of cream cheese – it worked way better than I feared so I’ve included it in the recipe below.

I won’t lie – the cake is a bit of a faff but it’s worth it. Do not be scared of making a sponge cake – I’ve always had excellent results with this combination of ingredients. And if you just want to make a good old fashioned Victoria sponge, you can make this recipe minus the blueberry syrup and bake in two sandwich tins. The cake batter makes a pretty generous quantity.

Set aside some time on a weekend afternoon, turn up the music and get baking. The cooking time will vary depending on your oven – mine is terrible and I want to beat it with hammers – so do keep an eye on the cake – it may be worth setting the oven timer for 25 minutes and checking back and cooking in five-minute increments if your oven is a bit unreliable. If it runs too hot, put foil on top of the cake to stop the top of it turning into the surface of Mars. You don’t want the Perseverance mission knocking on your door and demanding your cake for research purposes.

Lemon and blueberry ripple cake with cheesecake frosting


For the cake

225g self-raising flour

Pinch of salt

225g softened unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

4 eggs, beaten

Juice of half a lemon (or two tablespoons if you’re using concentrate from the bottle – one of my preferred food cheats)

For the blueberry syrup

50g fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons vanilla essence or extract

2 tablespoons caster sugar

For the cheesecake frosting

50g soft butter

30g icing sugar

180g cream cheese

2 tablespoons sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract

2 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and flour a 25cm round cake tin (or line with baking powder).
  2. Sift the flour and salt together into one bowl.
  3. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric whisk or by hand until it is light and fluffy.
  4. Gradually add the beaten eggs to the butter and sugar until it is well mixed. Stir through the lemon juice.
  5. Fold the flour and salt into the wet ingredients with a metal spoon. Set the batter aside.
  6. To make the syrup, put all syrup ingredients in a small pot over a low-to-medium heat. Working quickly with a fork, squish the blueberries so they’re incorporated into the purple sugary syrup that will rapidly form before your eyes. As soon as it’s on the edge of boiling, remove from heat. It is very easy to burn a syrup so don’t get distracted.
  7. Put some of the batter into the cake tin and then dot some of the syrup across the surface. Add a little more batter and a little more syrup until it’s all gone.
  8. To create the ripple effect, gently run a skewer through the batter to swirl the syrup around.
  9. Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven.
  10. When the cake is golden-brown and springs away from the edge of the tin, take it out of the oven to cool.
  11. To make the frosting, combine all the ingredients with an electric whisk or by hand. Make sure the cake has cooled completely before you frost it so it doesn’t slide off in a slimy mess. Decorate with a few berries and some lemon zest.

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