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Mary Berry vs Nigella Lemon Drizzle Cake Recipes

Celebrity Recipes
Slices of Mary Berry's and Nigella's lemon drizzle cakes on white plates

First thoughts on the bakes:

Both recipes were really easy to follow because they used all-in-1 methods - you put all of the ingredients into one bowl, and away you go. 

The steps were easy to follow too, and it’s hard to go wrong with either recipe. You literally measure everything out and off you go.

Nigella’s recipe was slightly harder to follow as the ingredients were in ounces and I’ve never had to make a recipe using imperial measurements before, but once I cracked the measurements I was fine. The Mary Berry recipe was a lot easier as a lot of the ingredients were the same weight. If you’re a novice baker, the Mary Berry recipe was easier as the method seemed simpler. 

I really enjoyed baking both lemon drizzle cakes - and it was interesting how differently they both turned out! Nigella’s cake turned out paler than the Mary Berry one. Mary’s recipe was yellower due to the amount of butter and eggs. It was surprising that the Nigella lemon drizzle cake didn’t look as rich, as she’s known for her decadent bakes!

Overall, both were great to bake and both tasted delicious. Overall, both were great to bake and both tasted delicious but Nigella’s did win on the indulgence factor!

Cake mixture in baking tins for Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson's lemon drizzle cake

Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake recipe - a top-level look:

  • Ease of baking: 9/10
  • Enjoyment to bake: 9/10 - although more confident bakers may not find this as challenging as they’d like
  • Time to bake: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Appearance of bake: 7/10 - this came out looking fairly basic in terms of presentation 
  • Taste test: 8/10
  • End result: 8.5/10

Want to bake for yourself? Here’s Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake recipe.

Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake recipe - a top-level look:

  • Ease of baking: 7.5/10 - I marked this down as the recipe used imperial measurements, which isn’t what I’m used to
  • Enjoyment to bake: 8.5/10
  • Time to bake: 1 hour 15 mins
  • Appearance of bake: 8/10 as this recipe used caster sugar for icing, which turned out much smoother
  • Taste test: 8/10
  • End result: 9/10

Want to give it a go? Here's Nigella's lemon drizzle cake recipe.

Mary Berry vs Nigella lemon drizzle cake:

The Nigella recipe didn’t specify which tin to use, so I used a loaf tin, whereas I think the recipe originally used a square tin, so the bake did take a little bit longer. I didn’t have a square tin, but if I’d used one the baking time would have been different. The good thing about both recipes is if you don’t have the equipment, you can make do!

You could easily add your own flair in both recipes - you could add poppy seeds, thicker icing, or maybe even lemon and lime. You can definitely make these cakes your own. 

Zesting a lemon for Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson's lemon drizzle cake

Mary Berry lemon drizzle cake verdict:

How did it taste?

This cake tasted really good - it was nice and lemony, especially when eaten with the drizzle, and it was a delicious-looking yellow colour from butter and eggs.

Mouthfeel and texture:

A good consistency; it wasn’t too crumbly or dry.

What would Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle cake pair well with?

I’d say it’s perfect paired with an afternoon cup of tea.

Overall, this bake tasted wonderful - I paired it with a cup of tea and got my housemates to join me, and they agreed it was one of the nicest sponges they’d ever tasted. I think it would work well with a flavoured buttercream - and maybe some citrus flavours.

Nigella lemon drizzle cake verdict

How did it taste?

Like Mary Berry’s recipe, it tasted fantastic, and had more drizzle on it so it was much more moist - even though both recipes used only one lemon, Nigella’s was more lemony.

Mouthfeel and texture:

This bake was pretty similar to Mary Berry in terms of consistency - maybe a little more moist, because of the plentiful drizzle. To look at it, it was paler - less buttery - and it looked more like a Victoria sponge than a lemon sponge.

What would Nigella’s lemon drizzle cake pair well with?

Nigella’s bake is definitely more of an afternoon tea-esque vibe - but equally would be great with tea and coffee in the afternoon. 

Overall verdict:

Overall winner: Nigella

I think Nigella is the winner, but only by a very small margin - both are great bakes, and I’d definitely bake them again. I’m pretty sure my friends and family will request them again!

I even got my mum and dad to do a taste test - they guessed them the wrong way round on appearance but the right way round on taste. 

Mary Berry and Nigella Lawson's lemon drizzle cakes with slices cut

What went well?

Both recipes called for softened butter, which I found really helped. I got it out of the fridge an hour before baking, preheating the oven at the same time - this really helped speed up the process and helped my cakes rise evenly.

Because there weren’t too many ingredients it was really easy to keep organised, weigh things, and put them away - it was easy to tidy as I went. Also, I didn’t need too much equipment - a bowl, spatula and my little electric whisk were all I needed, which cut down on washing up.

What was a challenge:

When I was baking the Nigella recipe, I wasn’t 100% clear on the size of the tin. This is why I ended up using a loaf tin, which slightly stretched the cooking time. Converting the ingredients from ounces to grams was also a small sticking point, but I navigated that fairly easily. 

Overall though, they’re both great bakes and it’s been hard to pick a winner. I also made the drizzle while both cakes were in the oven; they’re time-efficient recipes, and I did both easily in under 90 minutes. 

How would you improve these recipes?

I think if I was going to redo the Mary Berry recipe, I’d use caster sugar instead of using granulated sugar - it didn’t dissolve very well and it made the icing a little crunchier than I’d have liked. 

You can do more with these bakes if you’re feeling a bit confident - add poppy seeds, orange, lime, or any kind of citrus rind and flavour to take the recipes to the next level.

I reckon a cream cheese icing on the top would work really well - it would add a level of decadence, and would take it to the next level if you wanted to make a show stopping dessert.