It was Day 3 of the coronavirus lockdown. I had already eaten my 21-day lockdown snack stash. Twice. And I was feeling peckish. Again.

In my defense, I discovered that the kids had been helping themselves to my super secret snack stash on Day 2 already, so I decided to hide the chocolates and easter eggs inside me. Desperate times and all that…

But I digress. I needed something for Sunday afternoon tea, and my inspired decision to teach the teenagers how to bake macaroons were soon dashed when I realised that I had used the last of my icing sugar in a midnight Marie Biscuit Square binge session. Brownies were also out, for the same reason.

And then it came to me: LEMON SQUARES! I had all the ingredients, plus extra lemons, a super secret hidden stash of sugar that the Son hadn’t discovered yet.

The prep and baking process is straightforward and quick. The only downside is that they are so delicious that they were gone before they were even properly cold.

Clearly all the more reason to bake some more between now and mid-April.


Preparation time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes


  • 225g butter, softened
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1tbsp baking powder
  • finely grated rind of 3 lemons & juice of 1/2 lemon

Syrup: Gently heat 1 cup of sugar and the juice from the lemons you just used in the cake. Stir frequently until all the sugar has melted.


  • Preheat oven to 180C
  • Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl, and blend until smooth.
  • Line a medium sized baking tray with baking paper (or foil if you’re in a pinch), and grease with butter OR spray.
  • Pour the mix into the baking tray and smooth the top.
  • Bake for approx. 30 minutes (time may vary depending on oven and altitude, and whether you use a thermofan, which I don’t). Test with a knife or skewer – if it comes out clean, your cake is ready.
  • While your cake is in the oven, make the lemon syrup.
  • Remove the cake from the oven, and pierce the cake with a toothpick or fork.
  • Pour the syrup over the cake, and let it be absorbed by the cake before you remove the cake with the baking paper and place it on a wire rack to cool down.
  • Once cool, transfer the cake to a board or plate, cut into squares and enjoy.

** You can add some more lemon if you want, or even add lemon concentrate for extra tang.