Lemon Cake with Pecan Streusel

5/5 - (1 vote)

Lemon Cake with Pecan Streusel is exactly that. A light sponge cake flavoured with some lemon zest.

A simple and sweet streusel with some finely chopped pecans adds a lovely crunch to the top. In North America this type of cake can be referred to as coffee cake. That means that it is perfect to eat with a cup of tea or coffee.

A food processor can be used to make the cake. Or just the streusel can be done in that and the cake batter can be made by hand or in a stand mixer. For mine I used the processor bowl of my immersion blender. That was perfect for the job.

The recipe is quite easy with two distinct phases. Make the streusel first and set it aside. Then make the cake batter. For the cake batter I added the zest from 3 lemons. That provided a subtle but distinct lemon flavour. However if you prefer a stronger flavour you could use some lemon extract, or swap out some of the milk for lemon juice. That said, I don’t think it is necessary. At least not for my palate.

I did also add some zest into the streusel. But the star of that is the pecans, which provide a nutty flavour. Toasting the pecans first, if they are not already toasted, will intensify the nutty flavour.

Once the cake is baked it needs to cool. Firstly in the pan for 15 minutes. Then the outer ring can be removed from the pan and the cake can cool completely on the base.


Different nuts can be used for the streusel, if you wish. The cake flavour can also be varied, using some coconut, almond or similar extracts.

An 8 inch/20cm square pan would also be suitable for the cake. In that case, unless it has a removable base, line it with parchment paper. That will make it easy to lift the cake from the pan.

The cake will keep well in an airtight container for a few days.

My Bake

I baked my cake for 50 minutes. It rose well, covered with the streusel. I tested the cake with a skewer poked into the centre. That came out clean. So I removed the cake from the oven. I allowed it to cool for 15 minutes. Then I removed the outer ring of the springform pan. I then cooled the cake completely on the base of the pan. Sliding a palate knife under the cake easily loosened it for transfer to a board.

Then I cut a slice of the cake. The slice looked perfect, with a wonderful crumb. When I tasted it a had the nutty and sweet crunch from the streusel and the soft texture from the cake. The subtle lemon flavour enhanced the cake immensely.

Of course, as is my way, I enjoyed my slice with a cup of tea. That was a perfect match. I am sure the same would be for a cup of coffee too. Though I cannot attest to that since I don’t drink coffee.

I am sure the cake would also match well with cream or ice-cream for a very nice dessert.

Lemon Cake with Pecan Streusel – Video

Another great cake to try is Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake. That has some spices in the cake and a layer of the streusel mixture in the middle too. It is a great alternative to this cake.

Lemon Cake with Pecan Streusel

Recipe by geoffcooCourse: Cakes, DessertsDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • Streusel
  • 100g(1 cup) toasted pecans

  • 65g(1/3 cup) packed light brown sugar

  • 75g(1/2 cup, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup)plain flour

  • zest from one lemon

  • pinch of salt

  • 56g(4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 5ml(1 tbsp) water

  • Cake
  • 235g(1 2/3 cups minus 2 tbsp, base on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour

  • 200g(1 cup) caster sugar

  • 100g(7 tbsp) unsalted butter, cubed and out of fridge for a few minutes

  • zest from 3 lemons, grated

  • 180ml(3/4 cup) milk

  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)

  • 1 medium egg yolk(large in USA

  • 4g(1 tsp) baking powder

  • 2g(1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 4.5g(3/4 tsp) salt

  • 5ml(1 tsp) vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F.
  • Grease and flour a 9inch/23cm round springform pan.
  • In the bowl of a food processor place the pecans, brown sugar, salt and lemon zest.
  • Pulse a few times, for about 5 seconds to reduce everything to a fine crumb.
  • Add the flour and pulse again a few times to incorporate.
  • Pour in the melted butter and the water and pulse 8 to 10 times, until the mixture starts to clump together.
  • Tip the mixture into a bowl and set aside.
  • Wipe the inside of the bowl to clean it out.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and place them into the bowl of the processor.
  • Pulse a few times to mix through.
  • Add the lemon zest to the sugar and rub it between your fingers to release some of the lemon oil.
  • Add that sugar and lemon to the flour mixture and pulse to combine.
  • Put the cubed butter into the dry ingredients and pulse it until the mixture resemble fine breadcrumbs.
  • Beat the egg and yolk with the vanilla extract and pour them into the bowl.
  • Add the milk as well and then pulse 4 or 5 times in one second bursts.
  • Scrape the side of the bowl and repeat the 4 or 5 pulses of one second.
  • Tip the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Shake the pan gently to level the batter.
  • Carefully sprinkle the streusel onto the top, covering completely.
  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the cake has risen and a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. (my cake baked for 50 minutes).
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Then remove the outer ring from the pan and leave the cake to cool completely before removing from the base for serving.

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