Lemon Bakewell Slices

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Need crowd pleasing treats for Mother’s day, a baby shower, an afternoon tea or another event? You can’t go wrong with these yummy lemon Bakewell slices. They’re quite literally a slice of English tradition, and they’re surprisingly easy to make.

A stack of three lemon bakewell slices with lemons in the background

What’s a Bakewell slice?

Growing up in central England, you couldn’t help but come across some version of a bakewell tart – one of a handful of very traditionally British desserts.

There are various versions of the exact origins of this tart. Two things are sure, though. One, it’s closely associated with a pretty Derbyshire town called Bakewell. Two, it’s a very yummy traditional cake recipe with these 3 layers:

layer 1: a sweet short crust pastry base

layer 2: a fruity jam or curd layer

layer 3: frangipane cake with flaked almonds on top

This is a bakewell slice recipe with a lemony twist. Lemon curd’s used as the ‘jammy’ layer, and there’s lemon zest in both the sweet pastry and cake layers.

You could say this is a triple lemon almond slice!

About the ingredients

Ingredients for lemon bakewell slices pastry

Pastry: You only need 5 simple ingredients. Icing sugar, lemon zest and an egg yolk make it a rich, shortbread-like pastry that’s sweet and delicious!

Ingredients for lemon bakewell slices frangipane layer

Lemon curd: I use shop bought to keep this traybake as simple as possible. But feel free to make your own if you are that way inclined (or happen to have a lemon tree in your garden!).

Frangipane layer: A light cake layer that contains yet more lemon zest and some almond flour for a very delicious flavour and texture.

Sprinkle flaked almonds on the top of the cake before baking. They get lightly toasted while in the oven, adding a subtle, tasty crunch.

How to make lemon bakewell slices perfectly

The hardest part of this lemon traybake recipe is making the pastry. And even that part isn’t really hard.

There are only 5 steps to making the pastry, one step to adding the lemon curd (just spread it on the pastry!) and 2 steps to making the frangipane.

Pastry tips

8 process shots showing how to make the pastry for lemon bakewell slices
The unbaked pastry for lemon Bakewell slices in a pan from above
  • Use cold ingredients. Handle the pastry as little as possible. Just enough to rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Stir everything else in, then bring the pastry together with your hands. You might need to add a tiny bit more flour so it isn’t ridiculously sticky.
  • So the pastry is easier to roll out, wrap in plastic wrap / clingflim and chill for around half an hour in the fridge. If it’s an especially warm day I sometimes pop it into the freezer instead.
  • Because the dough is quite soft and a little sticky, I find it sometimes breaks apart when you lift it to put it into the pan. If this happens, just smooth the ‘bits’ out and press the pastry into the corners with your fingers.
  • Try not to forget to pre-bake the pastry! I did this one time. The lemon slices were still pretty good, but the pastry layer wasn’t crisp enough.
8 photos showing how to make frangipane for lemon bakewell slices

Lemon curd tips

  • My biggest tip for the lemon curd is… get a good store bought version to keep the cakes simple.
  • You don’t need as much lemon curd as you think you might – only about 3 tablespoons. Don’t spread it quite to the edges of the pastry. This will minimize the risk of the slices sticking to the baking paper too much.

Almond frangipane tips

  • To be honest, this step is pretty fool-proof. Just stir in the eggs, almonds and flour gradually. As always with a cake batter, don’t overmix.
  • Roughly spread the frangipane batter over the top of the lemon curd. It might not seem like enough batter. Don’t worry. It is.
  • The flaked almonds on the top of the cake will go lightly brown in the oven, so no pre-toasting necessary!

Variations to the recipe

  • The most obvious variation you can make to these lemon slices with almonds is to swap the lemon curd for a different kind of preserve. Raspberry or strawberry jam are obvious choices. The end result will be more like a traditional bakewell slice. If you like you can skip the lemon zest and add a teaspoon of vanilla essence into the frangipane instead.
  • And here’s the ‘wild card’ option: how about Nutella instead of a preserve?
  • You can even add some fresh fruit in the frangipane layer. Raspberries or blueberries would work really well.
  • Did you know cherry bakewell slices are also ‘a thing’? Spread the pastry with cherry jam. Then skip the flaked almonds and spread some thick icing (just icing sugar and water or lemon juice) over the top after baking! Glace cherries can be the literal icing on the cake.
  • I think different kinds of nuts on top are worth trying, too. Pistachios, hazelnuts or even peanuts come to mind.
  • How about more of an almond slice? Use apricot jam. Skip the lemon zest and instead add a teaspoon of almond extract to the frangipane.
Lemon bakewell slices from above

How to serve them

Believe it or not, there are options!

These lemon almond slices are delicious served hot with custard or ice cream. This way they become more of a pudding.

Alternatively you can add a blob of cream or even Greek yoghurt, and another of lemon curd. Yum.

But these are equally good on their own, eaten either at room temperature or chilled.

Can you freeze Bakewell slices?

Yes! They keep well in a sealed container for a few days, and for a bit longer in the fridge.

If you’d like to freeze them, wrap tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.

More cakes for afternoon tea

  • You can’t beat a good vanilla cupcake. But even better if they’re healthier cupcakes!

Got lemon curd to use up? Check out this list of best lemon curd dessert recipes!

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A stack of two lemon bakewell slices with more in the background and lemons
4.67 from 9 votes

Lemon Bakewell slices

This dessert sounds and possibly looks complicated, but it isn't at all! It's just a simple sweet pastry layer topped with lemon curd and almond frangipane layers. Lemon bakewell slices are a traditional British dessert with a lemon twist…. enjoy!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 8

Ingredients 
 

For the pastry

  • cups plain flour
  • 3 ounces butter, (6 tablespoons) chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk , plus 1 tablespoon water

For the other layers

  • ounces butter, (7 tablespoons) at room temperature
  • cup caster sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup ground almonds
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons lemon curd
  • 2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, quickly rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the icing sugar and lemon zest, then add the egg yolk and tablespoon of water. Mix lightly then bring the dough together with your hands. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least half an hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C. Line a baking tin (about 20×20 cm or 8×8 inches) with baking paper and grease it well with a little butter.
  • When the pastry has chilled, roll it out so that it's a little bigger than the baking tin. Then place the baking tin on top of it and cut around it with a sharp knife. Use this square of pastry to line the bottom of your tin, making sure you push it right into the corners. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make your filling. Beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest with a handheld whisk until light and creamy-looking. Gradually add the eggs and ground almonds, then stir in any remaining ground almonds and the flour.
  • Roughly spread the lemon curd over the pastry base (don’t go right to the edge, to stop the curd layer from sticking to the baking paper while cooking). Then top with the almond filling and smooth down with a spatula or the back of a metal spoon.
  • Scatter over the flaked almonds, then bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top of the dessert is lightly golden.
  • Cut into 8 slices, then serve warm with ice cream, custard or cream or cold, by itself.

Notes

Pastry: Use cold ingredients and handle as little as possible. The dough might be quite soft and sticky, but it’ll be easier to roll out after chilling. If it breaks up while pressing into the cake pan, just patch it up and smooth it over. It’ll be fine! 
I usually make the pastry by hand, but you can also make it in a food processor. Again, don’t overmix. Pulse just until a pastry ball forms. 
Frangipane layer: Don’t overmix. Just mix until well combined for the lightest, fluffiest result. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 199mg, Potassium: 55mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 667IU, Calcium: 33mg, Iron: 1mg
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About Helen Schofield

Don't expect to find anything fussy or complicated here. Just QUICK, EASY & (mostly!) HEALTHY recipes from the Mediterranean and beyond. ENJOY!

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74 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I am from Australia:)
    I made these yesterday and they are delicious, the whole family loved them, I made my own eggless lemon curd which I prefer, one thing though is that my frangipane turned out quite solid and crisp on top, not sure why, let me know if you have any theories as to why this happened.

    1. Hello Vanessa, and thank you for the feedback – I’m so glad you liked them! Eggless lemon curd sounds intriguing… and delicious! As for the frangipane… hmmm. My best guess is one of two things: either they need just a bit less time in your oven than they did in mine. Or: what size baking tin did you use? If it’s deep the top could bake faster than the inside? Or perhaps try reducing the oven temperature slightly. I find there’s definitely a bit of variation in results sometimes depending on your oven and dishes etc. This post is actually one of my oldest baking recipes, so when I get around to updating it I’ll let you know if I get any more insight after testing the recipe again. Thanks again for getting in touch! 🙂

  2. Colin Firth’s Pemberley is Chatsworth House-just up the road from Bakewell so this would be just the thing to savour while watching P&P. Personally I always make lemon bakewell.

      1. 5 stars
        I’m sure these treats would be delightful to eat! I have a punnet of Strawberries that need to be used – do you think they’d work in this recipe along with strawberry conserve in place of the lemon curd perhaps? And would I still use the lemon zest do you reckon? Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this, thanks.

      2. Hello Leanne – I think that would be perfect and yes, I would personally still add the lemon zest although you could try 2 teaspoons of vanilla instead! I hope you enjoy them!

  3. Hi I discovered your recipe on Pinterest last week and have made Lemon Bakewells this week to serve in the small village English café where I work. I’m sure that this will delight you seeing as your post was about café cakes. I’ve blogged and linked back to you for the recipe, thank you so much for sharing a lovely recipe. The pastry is certainly devine!
    https://stylesofcooking.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/dessert-challenge.html

    1. Hello! Thank you SO much for taking the time to come here and tell me this. I feel very honoured that you liked the look of this recipe to try making it … and for your CAFE no less! I really hope your customers enjoyed them. I thought they were absolutely delicious – and now you’ve made me want to make them again soon! Will sneak a look at the post, too 🙂

  4. Your lemon version looks absolutely scrumptious! I’m overdue to make a lemon dessert and this looks like the perfect recipe to try. Pinning!

    1. Thanks so much for pinning this, Liz … so glad you like the lemon Bakewells. I think these are my favourite dessert right now … they’re delicious!

  5. Helen this is just TOOOOOOOO good!!!!! I have never eaten a bakewell tart but I have heard soooooo much about it!!!!!!! A trip to the UK has ALWAYS been on the cards but it just never seems to materialize! Some day, maybe, and then I’ll gobble all the classic and traditional desserts there! hehe! 🙂 But for now, I’m going to make this bakewell slice with the lemon curd! This is just such a creative spin on the traditional one and I am LOVING it!!!!!! I love the tangy-sweet flavor of the lemon curd and combined with that delish frangipane…. oooooohhh DROOOOOOOLING! I love going to cafes!!!! Somehow, the vibes there are soooo different and more relaxed and the food and coffees – I could eat and drink those everyday! Loved your hiking story!!!! 😀

    1. Thanks so much, Samina! I really hope you give these a go some day … they are one of the best desserts you could imagine … and really not difficult to make 🙂