Botham's of Whitby lemon buns - the right way to eat delicious delicacy

How to eat a Botham’s lemon bun is often debated by those visiting Whitby but now the family of bakers who make them have revealed what the correct way of eating this local delicacy really is.

By Sophie Mei Lan
Friday, 20th May 2022, 11:37 am

“It’s like an iced finger but a bun with raisins in the middle,” says one tourist, while another says “it’s like a tea cake with icing on the top”.

Even what a Botham’s lemon bun is is hotly contested among fans.

But people will know if you’re a local or not by how you eat a Botham lemon bun.

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Lily and Alice Welsh enjoy a Botham's of Whitby lemon bun each.

Elizabeth Botham began making Whitby lemon buns more than 150 years ago in Skinner Street bakehouse, behind the Skinner Street shop.

While the bakery is moving, apparently the recipe and the traditional method of how to eat a Botham’s lemon bun will always stay the same.

Botham’s of Whitby said: “We have been making Whitby lemon buns for over 100 years; a lightly fruited teacake generously topped with a zesty lemon icing.

“There is a long-standing debate about how to eat a lemon bun, which has even seen celebrity chef James Martin airing his strong views on TV.”

A tray of Botham's of Whitby lemon buns.

Mr Martin said that people will know you’re a tourist if you get it wrong.

So how do you eat it?

“Highly debated in the town and in our family of bakers,” said Botham’s.

“We definitely champion tearing the bun in half, lightly buttering before turning the icing inside – to be enjoyed as a lemon bun sandwich.”

Botham’s confirmed that this traditional method to split the bun in half but said that buttering at this stage is optional and is “also highly debated.”

Then turn the lemon topping inside and eat it like a sandwich.

“Just like fish and chips, enjoying a Whitby lemon bun is high up on any ‘visit Whitby’ itinerary,” added Botham’s.

Teresa Tyram, whose husband helps to bake the famous sweet treat, also said: “Locals rip them in half so the icing is in the middle, so you don’t get sticky fingers.”

By the end of 2022, all production will move up to the newly-built bakery on Enterprise Way and the Skinner Street bakery will turn off the ovens for the final time.

Customers can be reassured that the original premises, namely Skinner Street shop and tea room, will remain in place.

Jonathan Botham said: “This move is purely of necessity. Our popular Skinner Street shop and tea rooms will remain in-situ, the only change for them will be a daily delivery of fresh bakery produce by our vans in the same way that we currently supply our other four shops and tea rooms.

"It enables us to radically change production, advance with technology and replace vital machinery without the ‘how-on-earth-do-we-get-that-up-the-stairs!’ moments.”

Lovely Jub'lee!

Botham’s of Whitby has created two cakes especially for Queen’s Jubilee celebrations: a light Victoria Iced Sponge Cake and an Iced Fruit Cake, which is made to a recipe handed down the generations of family bakers.

Both Jubilee cakes are hand-finished with sugar paste crown decoration and available in a choice of platinum or gold colour design.

The Whitby-based bakery has also released three Platinum Jubilee hampers suitable for nationwide delivery, while special street party bakes can be ordered from its stores.