Let me introduce you to my favorite cake of all time. Meyer lemon cake is perfect in my book. It’s fluffy and buttery and every centimeter is layered with lemon-goodness. Lemon, of course being my favorite flavor for everything. It has a casual lemon glaze that says “no big deal, have me with a cup of coffee” and a pretty shape just fancy enough for sharing. Or not sharing, because we certainly didn’t. In other news, I did some extra spin classes this week.
Sometimes we just need some cake. Cakes are not just for celebration, but sometimes just because you bought a nifty bundt pan and a ton of meyer lemons. If you don’t have a bundt pan, just use a couple loaf pans. Lemon cake is easy going that way. I experimented with a “lightened up” version….and it just wasn’t as good. So here we have a super indulgent treat. We all need one of those sometimes.
This lovely cake was buttery and rich, but still bright and fresh from those gorgeous meyer lemons. Meyers are beautiful, sweet, fragrant, and much more subtle than their more common relatives. I highly recommend them! Meyer lemons are easy to find here in California, but if you find yourself with regular lemons, those will do just fine! I’ve tried the recipe with regular lemons, and it was just as good, just a bit more sour. Just please….for the love of all things culinary do not use bottled lemon juice. Ack!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s “Lemon Cake”, who adapted it from “Barefoot Contessa.” This is how I knew we had a winner. 2 of my favorites.
Yeild: 1 bundt cake or 2 loaves
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the lemon syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Lemon Glaze:
- Confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- I used a bundt pan, so naturally the parchment was left out
- Cream butter and 2 cups sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
- Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
- In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter evenly between pans, smooth tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
For the syrup:
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.
- When cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon lemon syrup over cakes. Let cakes cool completely.
- I decided to pierce my bundt cake with a skewer while it was still in the pan and spoon the syrup over it while it was still warm. Reviewers of the original recipe noted issues with the syrup pooling and not absorbing. I had success with this modification.
- Combine confectioners’ sugar and remaining 3 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a whisk until smooth.
- Pour over top of cakes, and allow glaze to drizzle down the sides.
Naked cake is still good cake, but it gets better when all dressed up with shiny glaze.
Mmmmm lemon glaze. I much prefer this to frosting. I’m a very strange person, I hate frosting.
We definitely ate a piece of this cake before taking the photos. It was too irresistible.
This is the second installment of my week of lemon inspired recipes. Hope you enjoyed it!
- Chicken Breast with Meyer Lemon Fennel Relish
- Lemon Garlic Linguine with Almonds and Peas
- Lighter Chicken Saltimbocca with Lemon-Sage Pan Sauce