in the kitchen with: kate wesson’s lemon cake

One of my absolute most favorite places to eat dessert is London.  I find that the Brits use a flavor palette that we don’t in the US and I love the ‘adventure’.  For this reason, I also love British food magazines and cookbooks.  This week’s recipe for a Lemon cake with lime curd and pomegranate topping comes from British food stylist Kate Wesson.  If you can’t find lime curd where you live, you can always use the lemon curd recipe by Marjorie Taylor as a guideline to making your own. -Kristina

About Kate: : Initially, I undertook a course in Hospitality Business Management at Leeds Metropolitan in the UK. After completing this course I discovered my passion for food surpassed all other areas of what I had learnt. Shortly after college I found myself in the kitchen of various well-respected restaurants before moving on and establishing myself as a food stylist and recipe writer. Over the past 10 years I have refined my creative and technical skills and have worked on all aspects of food styling, which include recipe development, prop styling, home economy and food styling. The job of a food stylist is to make us drool and gobble up every last morsel on the plate; this is what I aim for!  You can see my other work at my portfolio site.

(Food photography by Charlotte Tolhurst)

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Lemon cake with lime curd and pomegranate topping

Preparation Time: 1 hr
Cooking Time: 35-40 mins
Serves: 6

45g (3 tbsp) butter plus a little extra for greasing
85 ml (6 tbsp) honey
30ml  (2 tbsp) Agave syrup
Juice and zest of 2 lemons (set aside two tablespoons of lemon juice for later)
125g (1/2 cup) Ricotta cheese
140ml (1/4 pint) of milk
140g (1 cup) spelt flour
5g (1 tsp) baking powder
2 egg whites
60g (1/3 cup) semolina
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 jar of lime curd
1 pomegranate
Zest of 1 lime for decoration (optional)


Oven temperatures in 190ºC/375ºF/Gas Mark

Preheat oven to 190ºC (375F), grease and line a 7/8-inch cake tin (18-20cm).
Melt the butter in a pan, when the butter is melted add 60ml (4 tbsp ) of the honey, the agave syrup, juice and zest of lemons (all but the 2 tbsp you set aside) , milk  and ricotta. Whisk the ingredients together, don’t worry if the mixture appears to curdle.
Next sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl. Stir in the semolina.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
Mix the liquids into the flours and then fold in the egg whites.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 35 to 40 mins until golden on top.
Heat the remaining 25ml (2 tablespoons) honey and remaining lemon juice and prick the cake whilst still warm and pour over the honey and lemon juice.
Allow  the cake to cool fully and decorating by smearing the cake with the lime curd, creating attractive wave patterns and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and lime zest.

Why Kate chose this recipe:

A hazard of my job is the constant urge to pick and try food whilst working. I often find that by the end of the day I couldn’t tell you what I’d eaten, consequently when in the throws of a big project (French cheese recipes at present), the scales can tip quite heavily.  So when I find myself hankering after a good slice of cake, as damage limitation, for the highly calorific days, I try to create something that’s not to bursting with calories but still a little naughty. Except for the lime curd topping which could be optional, it is low on fats and sugars but still as tempting, as any gut busting cake. The pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top just make it look so pretty and give it a slight Middle Eastern feel, which is a current cultural food obsession of mine!


Yum, I can’t wait to try making this. As I recent newcomer to the US, I have to say that the pastries and cakes here do taste completely different.
Also, I’ve worked with food stylists at photo shoots and it is really, really so much harder than you would think. Good for you, Kate!


The recipe is fantastic. Looks like something I should try sooner than later. :) What’s the story behind the gourd? it’s huge!

Snoh White

For some reason the textured background of these photos is throwing me off. It reminds me of that awful ceiling texture ever so popular in the 70’s and 80’s. Not super appetizing.


what a great recipe! and after reading Snoh White’s comment I had to go back to see the background because I was so concentrated on the scrumptious looking cake that I missed it


the styling is pretty… i just can’t really get a feel for what kind of cake it is (and would i want to make it or even eat it) without seeing pics of the actual cakey-ness.


@Noelia – since it is only 2 Tablespoons of Agave Syrup, I’d say you could just use more honey, so 8 Tablespoons of honey instead of 6 tablespoons of hone + 2 of agave syrup.

Patricia Shea

That looks really yummy, I love curd and also pomegranate so that’s a great combination for me…nice crisp pics too. Thanks!!


This looks yummy! Do you mind sharing where the silverware/knife is from?

kate wesson

Thanks for all your comments and interest in this recipe. Hope some of you get around to trying it out! In reply to the comments from snoh white about the textured wall paper in hindsight its a fair observation and as a kid remember calling it Rice pudding wall paper, ha ha…..Robin, the cake is very moist in texture and quite dense, hope you give it a go any way. Noelia, as kristina has said you could add in extra honey if agave syrup is not available, alternatively use maple syrup. To patricia, the photographer Charlotte Tolhurst was responsible for the propping of this shot and the silver ware has been raided from her parents cutlery drawer.

kate wesson

Nearly forgot about the giant guord, this was discovered whilst on a food shoot in Turkey. On a well diserved day off I was thrilled as you can see to find it resting on a table outside a small bar.

Tree house fairy

Great recipe, wonderful images, will make it tonight, however could not get my hands on Pomegranates, as they are not in season right not. That is a fall and winter fruit.