celebrating sir paul mccartney’s birthday with linda’s lemon drizzle cake

“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.” ~ Paul McCartney



Why, hello. Thought we’d serve up some lemon drizzle cake in honor of Paul McCartney’s 74th birthday tomorrow. Please help yourself to a piece or two or three and a nice warm cuppa. πŸ™‚

While you’re sip sip sipping and ever-so-politely wiping crumbs from the corners of your mouth, enjoy Paul’s “English Tea,” which I strongly suspect he wrote just for me. See if you agree:



Am I not a “nanny bakes fairy cakes” kind of person who tends to veer into twee at a moment’s notice? I think “English Tea” should become Alphabet Soup’s official song. πŸ™‚

Miles and miles of English garden stretching past the willow tree . . . lines of holly, hocks and roses listen most attentively.

It’s hard to believe Paul is going to be 74; he hasn’t slowed down one bit. Right now he’s in the midst of his One on One Tour, and just a week ago he released “Pure McCartney,” a comprehensive retrospective collection of his solo, Wings and Fireman work available in 3 formats: 2CD, 4CD and 4LP. The 4CD version features an amazing 67 tracks, all handpicked by the man himself.

To help promote “Pure McCartney,” he’s done a series of six virtual reality mini-documentaries filmed in his home studio in England, where he discusses backstories and recording/production tidbits about some of his songs. These can be seen in 360-degree videos or in virtual reality on a mobile app for Android or iOS.

I love how he continues to be on the forefront of studio technology. Never one to rest on his laurels, he’s always been pro-innovation (Sgt Pepper, anyone?) — the mark of a true creative, a musician through and through. When it comes to staying power and audience appeal in a rapidly changing and highly competitive industry, Paul takes the biscuit!

Here’s the 360-degree video for “Dance Tonight.” Be sure to click on the arrows in the upper left corner for a nice spin around the room. πŸ™‚




Yes, Paul is still “the cute one.” Could it possibly be 52 years since I first saw him with the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show?! Those were the days of collecting Beatles bubble gum cards and plastering my bedroom walls with pics cut out from 16 Magazine. More importantly, the Beatles marked the beginning of my longstanding love affair with England.

And when I touch you I feel happy inside/It’s such a feeling that my love I can’t hide, I can’t hide.



So, about the lemon drizzle cake. It’s Linda McCartney’s recipe and is daughter Mary’s favorite (she included an adapted version of Linda’s recipe in her book, Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking (2013)):

Mum didn’t bake as much as I do, but one thing she liked to make (and eat) was a lemon drizzle cake. It’s quite tangy, with a real hit of lemon going through it; a lemon syrup is poured over the freshly baked loaf and seeps right down into it. I always love having a home-cooked cake in the house: You walk in the door and it’s just like perfume. Since I’m the only one in the kitchen when it comes out of the oven, I’ll end up cutting away thin slices of it to munch on. (I’ve tried to convince myself that if you don’t sit down to eat a slice, it doesn’t count as calories.) It always reminds me of my mother. I can’t have this cake without thinking of her.

I can attest to the wonderful aroma of this cake, the luscious lemony tanginess of it, and the wholly satisfying experience of enjoying warm, thin slices out of hand. Who can wait for a fork and plate when something smells this good? I used to make a lemon quick bread recipe that also called for drizzling a glaze over the top, but this cake is so much lighter and I like it better. The texture of the crumb is so delicate. It’s absolutely perfect with a cup of tea, and of course listening to Paul’s music while eating it enhances the flavor tenfold, and gives you the chance to daydream yet again about the Beatles.

All your life/You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

I love imagining Linda baking this cake for her family and Paul scarfing down a slice. I remember how jealous I was when she married Paul, but gradually I realized she was truly the love of his life. After the Beatles broke up and Paul fell into a dark, hit-the-bottle depression, it was Linda who reassured him of his talent, who encouraged him to forge ahead, write more songs, and carve out a new path as a solo artist.

Together they raised their children to live as normal a life as possible, and to be, above all, people with good hearts. Linda was quite the foodie pioneer and animal activist as well, publishing good veggie cookbooks at a time when such resources were scarce. She also created Linda McCartney Foods, a chilled and frozen vegan and vegetarian brand so successful it made her independently wealthy.

Maybe I’m amazed at the way you help me sing my song /Right me when I’m wrong /Maybe I’m amazed at the way I really need you.

La la la la la lovely Linda

Linda’s original Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe can be found in Linda’s Kitchen: Simple and Inspiring Recipes for Meatless Meals (Bullfinch Press, 1995). Mary’s adaptation calls for adding powdered rather than granulated sugar to the lemon juice glaze, 1/4 instead of 1/3 cup milk, and 1-1/2 instead of 1-1/4 cups flour. Either way, total yum.


serves 6

  • flour for dusting the pan
  • 1 stick butter, softened, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
  • 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour (or light spelt flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter and flour a 9-inch nonstick loaf pan.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and superfine sugar together with a wooden spoon (or an electric mixer). Gradually beat in the eggs and mix until light and fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest, flour, and baking powder, and mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and mix well again. Then beat in the milk.

3. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes.

4. In the meantime, mix the remaining lemon juice and the confectioner’s sugar together in a small bowl to make the glaze.

5. When it’s ready, take the cake out of the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then turn it out onto a plate. Pierce the top of the cake all over with a thin skewer. Spoon the lemon glaze carefully and evenly over the cake until all of it is absorbed. Ready to eat.

~ Adapted by Mary McCartney, from Food: Vegetarian Home Cooking (2013).

Jama’s Notes:

1. 45 minutes in the oven seemed like a long time to me, so I checked mine at 38 minutes and it was done. You might want to check yours no later than after 40 minutes to avoid over baking.

2. Mary’s recipe calls for superfine sugar; I used regular granulated sugar, as specified in Linda’s original recipe. You can make your own superfine sugar by processing 1 cup + 2 tsp. granulated sugar for 30 seconds. I might try that next time to see if I notice any difference.

3. Linda also suggests topping this teacake with a cream cheese frosting for special occasions. I don’t think it needs it. πŸ™‚



While your Lemon Drizzle Cake is in the oven, click over and watch Paul’s BBC 4 Mastertapes interview. This was filmed last month at the Maida Vale studios in London and is really good stuff! He tells some great stories about the Beatles, Wings, and his time as a solo artist, and answers audience questions. Did you know he and Linda were once held up at knife point in Nigeria? What was it like collaborating with Kanye West and Michael Jackson? How did he and John finally make up?

One thing I love whenever I hear him speak is how he pronounces words ending in the letter “g.” It must be a Liverpool thing to pronounce that “g” so distinctly: sonG. Ringo does the same thing. Absolutely charming! And lovely to see him wearing a purple necktie in honor of Prince.

John Lennon’s home in Weybridge, Surrey.
Paul with Jane Asher

He’s asked which of his own songs is his favorite. He concedes that “Yesterday” is special because it came to him in a dream. But from a songwriting standpoint, he likes “Here, There, and Everywhere.” It’s really quite the perfect love song, written poolside at John Lennon’s Surrey home early one morning while he was waiting for John to wake up. It was inspired in part by Brian Wilson’s “God Only Knows” at a time when he was enamored of Jane Asher (I was jealous of her too!). Both John Lennon and George Martin also counted HT&E as one of their favorite Beatles songs. It was included on the Revolver album (1966) but was never performed live by the Beatles, who had by then stopped touring to concentrate on making studio albums.




Rolling in the dough.
Nothing better than a man who cooks!
Paul grilling Linda’s veggie burgers and sausages.

With Sir Paul it’s always been about the music. We wish him a very Happy 74th Birthday and many, many more. Play on!

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make . . .


β™₯ Other Paul McCartney posts at Alphabet Soup:



poetry fridayCarol is hosting the Roundup this week at Carol’s Corner. Take her a piece of lemon drizzle cake and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared in the blogosphere this week. Don’t forget to celebrate Paul’s birthday tomorrow by listening to his music.

Do you have a favorite Beatles/Wings/McCartney song?



wkendcookingiconThis post is also being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts.



Copyright Β© 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.


51 thoughts on “celebrating sir paul mccartney’s birthday with linda’s lemon drizzle cake

  1. Jama- I loved this!! I remember seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan (and my father’s not so kind comments about their hair) and reading about them in Sixteen magazine. I’ll have to come back and watch the videos later on! And the lemon cake sounds absolutely yummy!


    1. Yay, a fellow Beatle fan who remembers that life changing Ed Sullivan Show! Wish I had kept all my fan magazines. Do you remember Tiger Beat?


    1. “English Tea” is so veddy British, isn’t it?

      Mr. Tea is happy you noticed him. He likes his daily hot tub sessions. He’s also quite a daredevil acrobat in the kitchen, balancing on faucets, teapots, and dish racks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love your official song! I didn’t realize until today that I was wishing for a song with tea and croquet in it. I adore a good lemon cake. Yum!


    1. Linda was also a brilliant photographer and entrepreneur, and of course, she played keyboards with Wings. Do try the lemon cake. Think you’ll like it!


  3. You know I love my English teatime, Jama. One of my McCartney favorites is on the CD “Concert for George.” He performs George Harrison’s “Something” on banjo, with Eric Clapton joining in.


  4. I thought I had commented, Jama, don’t know where my words went! I have good memories of Paul all through these years, wow, fifty! My husband & I saw Wings in a small venue when they were just starting, & met them briefly, a huge memory in my life of rock and roll. Love the lemon cake, my son’s favorite, & listened to “Here, There & Everywhere” as I read the rest of the post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sigh sigh sigh. So jealous that you met Paul and Linda that time! Paul and the Beatles are such an integral part of the soundtrack of my life. Can’t beat all those good memories.


  5. Love this post! He was always my fav, too. I think “English Tea” is perfect for your theme song. Happy birthday, Paul! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


  6. Oooh, that looks like a lovely tea cake, and I think I’ll have to make that on Monday, when I have a moment. What a lovely celebratory post (although the temp is supposed to hit 100. Hm. Maybe I’ll wait ’til the weekend…).


  7. A delightful post from top to bottom, Jama. I’ve always loved Paul, and I love this collection of photos, videos, and snippets of lyrics! I’ll be baking lemon drizzle cake tomorrow with my Beatle albums blaring!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I bought that cookbook when it came out, so long ago. They were surely a wonderful couple and I don’t think he’s ever found any woman to replace her affections in his heart. True love.
    Great cake and what a wonderful post.


  9. Awwwww. I so loved this post. You always have the best videos and photos and links. I think I have Meet the Beatles in ***mono***!!! Which I played on my little record player over and over and over. πŸ™‚

    PLUS I love lemon. — The Beatles, Paul, lemon cake, English tea. Ahhhhhhh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the mono version of Meet the Beatles too! Wonder if it’s still in my box of vinyl LPs in the basement. Must check. πŸ™‚


  10. Love that you plastered your wall with pictures from 16–I did the same, though not with pictures of The Beatles. πŸ˜‰ The Lemon Drizzle Cake sounds absolutely delicious–and while I’m not a tea drinker, I bet the two would go lovely together.


  11. I love all the Paul and Beatles pictures. It’s hard to believe that he’s 74. He seems permanently young. That lemon drizzle cake sounds amazing. I love all things lemon and this sounds like a perfect recipe for a good lemon fix. I imagine it’s perfect with tea.


  12. This was a lovely birthday tribute. I really admire this man and all he has done. I also admire your cakes and now here we have a cake in one of my favorite flavors. I’m looking forward to a morning in the kitchen with this one. I’m also thinking of who best to share it with.


  13. Lemon drizzle cake seems to come up a lot when you read about deeply English teatime foods. This looks like a delicious version!

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com


  14. Thank you for the Paul McCartney smorg and glimpses into his continuing creativity (and for the the lemon cake recipe; I am so going to try it)! The tea song would be a perfect theme song for Jama’s Alphabet Soup.


    1. There were some technical issues at the London Olympics. I think he’ll continue performing live as long as people enjoy his concerts. He’s a musician, that’s what he knows and loves and wants to do. More power to him.


  15. What a fabulous post! I have always been a Paul McCartney fan and ‘Here, There, and Everywhere’ is one of my all-time favorites. I bought Mary McCartney’s Food (great cookbook) a few years ago and have made several fabulous things from it, but not the lemon cake for some reason. I think I need to make it now, it looks so delicious! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing your birthday tribute to Paul.


  16. How I would have loved to have seen the Beatles live. Everyone knows all their songs. I was studying for finals in high school when the news about John Lennon came over the radio. I can still remember the night. It was one of those beautiful winter nights with the snow falling in big flakes. Without a doubt my all time favourite band.


    1. I remember finding out the news about John too, sitting in our townhouse so shocked. I didn’t get to see the Beatles live either — they never performed in Hawaii. We were just too far away.


  17. Love the English Tea song. Pretty much everything that makes me feel romantic about England. This post would be a lovely addition to the British Isles Friday meme on my blog.


  18. I have a recipe for an Austrian syrup cake, with poppy seeds throughout. (You beat the egg whites and then fold them through.) It has an orange syrup dressing – but you can of course use other citrus. It is divine! I feel like a gourmet cook when I make it! (Usually I’m not gourmet. :P) Definitely no need for a frosting, when you have the syrup! *wants to make/eat it NOW*

    Another gorgeous post.


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