The Lemon Cake has long been an integral part of the Shore Poets evening, the prized trophy for the winner of our raffle. In celebration and gratitude, we offer here a few poems inspired by its toothsome delight.

If you want to contribute, send your poem to shorepoetsedinburgh @

The lemon cake travels to America on a long-haul flight (connecting in London)
Tracey S. Rosenberg

On the Airlink 100
So early. Dark.
Way too early.
A bite of lemon cake will keep me from dozing off at the city by-pass.

Departure lounge at Edinburgh Airport
A blueberry muffin costs how much?
Keep your exorbitantly-priced sticky pastries.
I prefer lemon cake!

British Airways flight to London
Everyone else on this flight is wearing a suit.
They probably deploy customer-facing downsized lemon cake which is
leveraged for the benefit of a diagonal slice meeting IN THE CLOUD.

Security at Heathrow
They x-rayed the lemon cake!
Perhaps it will gain monstrous powers
and become an X-LEMON CAKE.
(But as origin stories go,
being zapped at the hand baggage screening point
isn’t terribly dramatic.)

Sitting on a plane that is sitting on the ground
Delayed forty minutes because air traffic control
is having a lousy day. If only they had lemon cake –
they would be zooming us into the sky from sheer happiness!

35,000 feet above the north Atlantic
I will be strapped in this seat for seven more hours, not counting turbulence.
Keep your warmed macademia nuts, first class passengers!
I will snack on lemon cake during the in-flight movies.

In the slow-moving passport line at San Francisco International Airport
Do not eat lemon cake here! It could be a security threat.
Will the border guards think I am attempting to bribe them?
I didn’t bring the recipe – might lemon cake be deemed an undocumented immigrant?

The final hurdle: Customs
I have nothing to declare except my lemon cake!
(Because failure to declare food products can result in up to $10,000 in fines and penalties.)

Standing at the curb outside international arrivals
I will lick lemon cake crumbs off my fingers while waiting for my SuperShuttle to arrive.
Thank you, lemon cake, for being such a good travel companion.
Welcome to America!

On never having partaken of The Lemon Cake
Ken Cockburn

Monday morning and it’s toast as usual,
maybe a flapjack to follow the sandwiches later.

It could be you but
my number has never come up.

I try to console myself by thinking
my luck is saving itself for better things,

my day of zest and glory is yet to come
but thoughts return of the mystery

beneath its silver veil
that Holy Grail of citrus peel

or bottled essence
I am raising its airy yet moist
light yet substantial
perfectly spherical form
onto the cake dish
the children’s eyes are wide
I prepare to cut into it
who will fortune favour with the first slice?
we bite
into yellowest promise
leaving aside all
coffee peppermint blackcurrant orange
prepared to accompany it
relishing only very lemonness
spooning up the scattered crumbs.

Each Monday morning as I bite into my buttered toast
I conceive
a minor miracle of transubstatiation.

Lemon Cake Anagrams
Ken Cockburn

A neck mole.

Me, on ‘C’ lake.

Make clone.

Enema lock.

Mo, Eck, Lena.

Lo, mean Eck!

Ace elk, mon!

A leek? – C’ mon!

Kneel, o Mac!

Mock an eel!

O keen clam!

Eke on, clam!

Eek, no clam!

Clean me, OK?

I taste the memory of lemon cake before work
Ken Cockburn

as I chew mechanically, the bran around my tongue
like wet sawdust (or what I imagine wet sawdust must be like).
I look out at the rain and know within the hour,
as I trudge across the Meadows, that memory
will linger behind the toothpaste in my mouth,
my mind a blank between the headphones,
my feet as cold as a splinter in the heart.

I lament the lemon cake
Ken Cockburn

is not as good as that brownie I smuggled
into my final Final and ate with half an hour to go. . .
Coming down I felt like that guy who flew to Moscow
undetected by the Russians’ radars –
landing in Red Square in his tiny model plane
how could he not feel the wonder and the folly of it all
as the uniforms encircled him with rifles raised?

The Lemon Cake/Poet Comparison
Ian McDonough

You stand quietly on the table
Unlike a poet
Who, if standing on the table
Is unlikely to be quiet.

Virtual lemon cake
Christine de Luca

Most websites don’t allow for scratch & sniff
especially those with literary pretensions.
But lemon cakes for prizes? Just a whiff
and ever you’ll be hooked on this confection!

Each month the cake sits waiting for a winner
– the raffle keeps Shore Poets on the road –
Its mythic recipe would be a sin to
give away: it’s worth its weight in gold.

So flour and sugar, lemon, eggs and butter,
mixed carefully in just the right proportion,
whet appetites for villanelle and sonnet,
well-ordered words selected to perfection.

A blend of poems and music is our quest
and all delivered with panache and zest!

Nancy Somerville

A lemon zest for life,
eat to enjoy, live till you’re full,
forget increasing hip inches, tooth decay.
Something will get you in the end. Savour
the taste of today. Tomorrow is crumbling.

On winning the Famous Lemon Cake
Irene Brown

I carried home this big dollop of the sun
that had landed in my lucky lap,
afraid my smug smile
would alert a sweet toothed mugger crying,
“Your Lemon Cake or your life!”
I unwrapped the layers of astronaut’s foil
round this edible asteroid,
like a solo game of Pass the Parcel,
to find
a big fat face of a cake
steeped in secret seeping syrup
with the shivery tang of the lemoniest lemon ever,
its soft moist crumbs
sticking to the plate
then melting
in the mouth.

As the week goes on,
The Lemon Cake diminishes;
its big fat face changing
slice by slice.
Yet, strangely
when I look in the mirror
I see it still.

4 thoughts on “The Famous Lemon Cake

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