Lemon Cake

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Lemon CakeWhile I love cookies, I’ve been on a bake-in-a-pan kick lately. It’s always easier to simply slice a finished product than scoop, bake, wait, and repeat when making cookies. And the nice thing about recipes baked in loaf pans is that most of the time, you get two loaves–one to bring to the lucky recipient, and one for the freezer. This is one such recipe. Although, I don’t know if the second loaf will actually make it into the freezer.

Be warned, there is a whole lot of lemon going on here–lemon zest and lemon juice in the batter, lemon syrup that drenches the baked loaves, and lemon glaze on top. And the recipe is time consuming–there’s a lot of zesting, squeezing, and dish washing, but in the end, it’s worth it. The cake is super incredibly moist, tart, sweet, and delicious. And since I had some time prior to baking, I read all of the reviews to see if there were any tricks I needed to know. One of the reviewers suggested poking holes in the cake so that the syrup would go down into the cake, rather than just collect on the outside. I’m not sure if doing that made any difference, but there was definitely a lovely lemon flavor throughout the entire cake.

The next day: I brought these into work, and by 9:15 a.m. they were gone. Everyone loved them and kept saying how lemony and moist they were. I’m sure I’ll be getting requests for this in the future!

Photos of the process here.

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (I used large)
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided (I miscalculated and didn’t have enough lemon juice so I squeezed an orange and used that in place of some lemons.)
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I didn’t sift)
3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
  2. Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  4. Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan (at this point I poked holes in the cakes); spoon the lemon syrup over them (I ended up using a pastry brush because spooning it didn’t allow it to distribute evenly). Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Recipe from Food Network/Ina Garten.


16 Responses to “Lemon Cake”

    Elyse on 1 February 23rd, 2009 3:33 pm

    I’m ready to undertake the challenge of this recipe. That cake look so amazing! YUM. I’ve been in the same phase as of late: put it in a pan and worry about portioning later. My cookie scoops just aren’t showing me much love recently. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    Hilary on 2 February 23rd, 2009 4:04 pm

    Let me know what you think of it after you try it!

    Jenn on 3 February 23rd, 2009 5:45 pm

    I know what my lemon loving friend is getting made for her birthday!!!

    veggievixen on 4 February 23rd, 2009 5:59 pm

    oh sweetness. i love the flavor of lemon so much!

    Tartelette on 5 February 23rd, 2009 6:09 pm

    That’s exactly the kind of cake I can devour all by myself…Seriously delicious!

    Kelly J. on 6 February 24th, 2009 6:43 am

    Oh, that looks so good! I would smother it in a lemony cream cheese frosting and then devour with wreckless abandon!

    Seanna Lea on 7 February 24th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Wow. That would make excellent lemony cupcakes! I wanna make this, but I’m sure my hubby would rebel after all of the lemon and lime foods I’ve been making lately!

    Alisa@ Foodista on 8 February 25th, 2009 2:10 am

    Delicious! What a great recipe! Hope you can come over and share this yummy treat over at Foodista.com – the cooking encyclopedia everyone can edit. Would also love a link to this post from our site.(This will direct Foodista readers to your blog)Here’s how you can create inbound links from our site Check it out here. This is a great way for you to build blog traffic and connect with other food lovers! See you there! Thanks!

    Lydia on 9 February 26th, 2009 7:16 am

    This is one of my favorite lemon cake recipes. Such a bright, zesty flavor of lemon! Ina also has a lighter recipe for lemon yogurt pound cake if you want to try that.

    Amanda on 10 February 28th, 2009 8:20 am

    Oh wow! These look so moist and delicious. I love a nice lemon flavored cake. I have enjoyed your site so much that I added you to my Recipe Blog Reference Guide!

    RissyKay on 11 March 3rd, 2009 6:42 pm

    The cake was delicious! Thanks for the great recipe. It turned out very lemony and moist and wonderful.

    Klye on 12 March 10th, 2009 12:53 am

    EYE <3 Lemon Cake

    Katie on 13 April 22nd, 2013 2:04 pm

    Zack and I just made this on Saturday. It is absolutely as delicious as you said. HEAVEN on a plate right there. Thanks for sharing, Hilary!


    Hilary on 14 April 22nd, 2013 2:53 pm

    @Katie – Glad you guys liked it, it’s definitely one of my favorite recipes ever. Enjoy!

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