Treats Worthy of Royalty

Dr Catherine Hamlin’s cottage on the grounds of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital has played host to royal dignitaries, global leaders in medicine and fistula patients – suffice to say, she knows how to entertain a guest! For this year’s High Tea for Hamlin, we are taking cues from Catherine’s hospitality by recreating some of her favourite recipes.

“I wish you all the very best with you High Tea festivities and thank you once more for your wonderful support. I hope you enjoy my lemon drizzle cake recipe. I do love a tea party; Ethiopian tea really is the world’s best!” Catherine wrote in a letter to her Australian supporters.

In her autobiography, ‘The Hospital By the River’, written with John Little, Catherine recalls the cakes she would bake for her dear friend, Princess Sybil – the imprisoned granddaughter of the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie. The sweets treats, including Catherine’s famed lemon drizzle cake, were of great comfort to Princess Sybil and her sisters.

Below is Catherine’s lemon drizzle cake recipe, so you can bake a cake worthy of royalty for your own High Tea for Hamlin event.

The below recipe is just a taste of the exclusive, staff and patient favourites that you unlock when you register to host a High Tea for Hamlin.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Cake Recipe by Dr Catherine Hamlin
Cake Prepared and Photographed by Jacki Fanto of Blissfully Sweet

Anything with lemons gets my vote! Be it with savoury or sweet culinary delights, lemon adds LIFE! Lemons are quintessentially a summer fruit and this perfect little summer cake oozing with lemon flavour, sings summer. However, I find nothing more comforting in cooler weather than the zing of lemon flavour.

This easy to make and big on flavours cake will become a family favourite and one made over and over again.


2 tbs (60gm) butter
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp of finely grated lemon rind
1½ cups plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
2 eggs
¼ cup lemon juice & enough icing sugar to sweeten it



Preheat oven to 1500C (fan forced, 1700C if not fan forced). Grease and flour a loaf tin. In a stand mixer (or hand mixer, or by hand) cream the butter and sugar together with the lemon rind until combined fully and the mixture becomes creamy.


Add the eggs one at a time into the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Add in the sifted flour with the baking powder and mix until just combined. Do not over mix at this stage. Lastly slowly pour in the milk and give a finally mix until the batter is well combined.


Pour your batter into the greased loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Test at the 45 minute mark to see if the cake is baked. To easily see if a cake is baked, you can gently press down in the centre of the cake and if it is still spongey, it will need more time. The other tried and true method is to insert a skewer into the centre of the cake and if the batter sticks to the skewer, the cake needs a little more baking time.


While the cake is baking, make your lemon glaze. Add ¼ cup of lemon juice (juiced from your grated lemon) and enough icing sugar to sweeten to taste (I used approx. ¼ cup). Whisk together and gently heat for a minute to combine the juice and sugar. This can be done in the microwave or on the cooktop. Set aside.


When the cake is finished baking, make small holes over the top with a skewer while it is still hot in the pan. Pour over your lemon glaze and let sit until the cake cools down slightly. Then turn out the cake onto a cake plate and let cool completely.

You can serve this cake cool or warm and it is the perfect zingy and sweet treat.

Click here to learn more about High Tea for Hamlin, the Hamlin Sister Circle and how you can make a difference to women in Ethiopia by having a party to remember!

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