Lemon Toffee Upside Down Cake

This Lemon Toffee Upside Down Cake is a spin on my Apricot and Thyme cake, that Good Housekeeping featured in their July 2015 #GHBakestars issue, and was prepared for the Afternoon Express show on Tuesday 14 July 2015.

On Afternoon Express - courtesy image

On Afternoon Express – courtesy image


2 medium lemons, washed, dried and sliced thinly

1 heaped tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, plus sprigs for decoration

¼ cup caster sugar

Toffee Sauce

80g cold unsalted butter

¾ cup caster sugar

½ juice of lemon (zest lemon and set aside for cake)

1 t vanilla extract

lemon toffee cake


100g unsalted butter, chopped

1 cup (250 ml) caster sugar

4 extra large eggs, separated

1 t vanilla extract

1 ¼ cup (310ml) cake flour

2 t baking powder

lemon cake


For the Toffee

  • Heat a 26-28 cm Teflon coated frying pan or skillet (with a metal handle) and add butter and sugar to pan on low heat. Ensure pan is dry and wiped well. Allow to melt, swirling pan gently now and then.
  • Add lemon juice, vanilla and increase temperature slightly – mixture will start to bubble already. Swirl pan and watch liquid as it starts to colour. In 5-8 minutes it will turn a lovely caramel colour, and will continue to colour off the heat. Remove from heat and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Place the lemon slices in concentric circles over the caramel. Sprinkle caster sugar all over the lemon slices. Scatter the thyme leaves over the lemon and caramel.


  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy in a electric mixer or by hand – 10 minutes or so.
  • Add egg yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix.
  • Sift flour and baking flour and fold into mixture. Add lemon zest. Batter will be thick.
  • Beat egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold egg whites gently into batter in three parts, with a rubber spatula. Spoon batter evenly over lemons in caramel. Tap the pan to ensure batter is smooth and evenly spread out.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Cover with heavy foil after 15 minutes, and pierce foil a few times with a skewer. Bake covered until last 10 minutes, then remove foil.
  • Remove cake from oven and leave in pan for 5- 10 minutes to cool.
  • Turn over onto a wire rack carefully. Add sprigs of thyme and serve still warm

Serve with a dollop or crème fraiche or Greek yoghurt.

lemon marmalade cake

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