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Lemon Cake

While 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].

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 [2].