I make no secret of the fact that I am one of Ina Garten’s biggest fans. I have all her cookbooks in my library and am confident that every recipe they contain is wonderful. Oddly enough, this recipe for LEMON CAKE is one I have never tried. We love lemon desserts, and I have made many, but this recipe somehow slipped through the cracks. I have seen her make this on her Food Channel show, and a replay of it last week, along with the huge bag of lemons that I bought at Costco, were the push I needed.
What first caught my attention about this recipe is the amount of lemon that is added. Lots of juice and grated rind in the batter, a sweet-tart glaze that is poured over the warm cake, and finally a simple lemon frosting that covers it all. Just thinking about it makes those little glands at the back of my jaw start acting up. This isn’t a good recipe for me to bake because I simply can’t leave it alone. Delicious for breakfast with a cup of coffee…hey, it’s fruit isn’t it?…lovely for an afternoon tea break…and downright satisfying at night when I need just a bite of something sweet.
The recipe makes 2 nice loaves and, if wrapped well, will keep for a week. The lemon-sugar glaze keeps it moist. The next time I make this cake I will use a bundt pan to fancy it up a bit. I’m sure it would work as cupcakes too. I’m making myself a note to double the sugar/lemon juice glaze that is poured onto the warm cake before it is frosted. I love the lemon flavor this adds to the cake and, in my opinion, it can use more than what is called for in the recipe. Even a little limoncello would be a tasty addition. Don’t have any?…here is an easy recipe from Giada De Laurentiis that you might like to try. It’s a delicious flavoring in many dishes and lemons are so good right now.
- ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2½ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- ⅓ cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
- 3 cups flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
- ¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- FOR THE GLAZE:
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 3½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8½ by 4¼ by 2½-inch) loaf pans. You may also line the bottom with parchment paper, if desired.
- 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.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine ¼ 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.
- Combine ½ cup granulated sugar with ½ 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; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
- 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.