How to ice a Whitby Lemon Bun and why their bakers Botham’s of Whitby are ‘baking like the wind’

Since appearing on BBC’s Countryfile programme, Whitby Lemon buns have been selling like hotcakes and the makers have shared some of their secrets.

Whitby Lemon Buns have always been synonymous with a seaside visit since Elizabeth Botham started baking them in 1865.

While their popularity has remained consistent among locals and tourists alike, recently there has been a spike in orders outside of the town.

The rise in requests for the popular buns to be posted came off the back of the TV appearance which featured the Botham Bun in an episode exploring how people living in Whitby protect their traditions.

Botham's of Whitby make the traditional Whitby Lemon Bun

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The correct way to eat a Botham’s lemon bun in Whitby - according to the people ...

Botham’s Alyson Jackson said: “BBC Countryfile were covering 125 years of Bram Stokers’ Dracula and, as part of the show, they talked about thousands of visitors to the coastal town annually.

“Sean Fletcher and the entire film crew were a pleasure to welcome into the bakery and we had great fun filming with them.”

Since the airing, Botham’s have been baking approximately 1,000 lemon buns daily and say they have had so many people “desperate” to try a Whitby Lemon Bun for the first time.

Fans of the show have been flocking to their shops and ordering Lemon Buns by post.

“Let’s just say we are baking like the wind,” said Ms Jackson.

Here’s how to make your own Botham Lemon Bun at home

The special recipe has been passed down through the generations to Elizabeth Botham's great and great-great-Grandchildren who run the bakery today.

Jonathan Botham, Elizabeth Botham’s great-grandson who welcomed the BBC Countryfile crew including presenter Sean Fletcher to the bakehouse, demonstrated how to make the buns the traditional way.

He said: “We chatted about Sean’s sourdough starter he cultures at home and I gave him some tips, and he was also very keen to perfect his kneading technique as we prepared the lemon bun dough.

“Sean, and the entire crew, were very interested in Botham’s; the history, the products, the baking progress, and they certainly enjoyed sampling our bakes.”

With mixing, kneading and baking complete, Sean then headed to the finishing room, with its iconic view of Whitby Abbey, to get his hands on an icing bag to attempt the flick required for icing batches of Whitby Lemon Buns at speed.

How do I finish my Whitby Lemon Buns? Here’s how to ice the Botham Lemon Bun:

Lois Borrett, Elizabeth Botham’s great-great-grandaughter, who ices the famous buns each morning, said: “Our top tip for icing Whitby Lemon Buns at home is to add a few drops of water to the lemon icing to loosen it before topping them – makes the icing much easier to work with!

“After that, we would simply say ‘have fun!”

What is a Botham Lemon Bun?

While the bakery is moving, apparently the recipe and the traditional method of how to eat a Botham Lemon Bun will always stay the same.

Botham’s of Whitby said it’s a lightly fruited teacake generously topped with a zesty lemon icing.

How do you eat a Botham Lemon bun?

How to eat a Botham Lemon Bun is highly debated in Whitby and among the family of bakers themselves.

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

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

Then the person devouring said bun, should turn the lemon topping inside and eat it like a sandwich.

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

New bakery ready for the ovens to be installed

For the first time the bakery is moving from its original Skinner Street location. By the end of 2022, all production will move up to the newly-built bakery on Enterprise Way business park and Skinner Street bakery will turn off the ovens for the final time.

Jonathan Botham said that: “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 & tea rooms.”

When it comes to the new bakery, the roof is on and they are working on the floor and mezzanine levels.

“There will be some exciting stages of the build coming soon, like when we take delivery of the new ovens,” said a spokesperson for Botham’s.

Whitby Lemon Buns featured on BBC’s Countryfile on Sunday 19 June at 19:00 on BBC One and is now available on BBC Iplayer.