Favorite Lemon Cake

On a cruddy rainy day there are two things you can do: Indulge the weather and join in the gloom – crank up the heat and eat ice cream straight from the tub, watch Mark Darcy reject Bridget Jones for the 12th time, that sort of thing. OR, you can counter those rainy day feelings and flip Mother Nature, and her wily ways, on her head. I chose the latter and made believe yesterday was a nice sunny day (at least in my apartment) by making my favorite lemon cake. Bright, beautiful, and oh-so Spring-like! Impossible to resist 🙂

Lemon Cake

Recipe adapted from ‘Barefoot Contessa


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Lemon zest from 3-4 lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Scant 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3 oz. buttermilk, at room temperature (I used vanilla yogurt, because that’s what I had)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 inch round cake pan (I used springform).

Cream the butter and 1 cup 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 scant 3 tbsp lemon juice, the buttermilk or yogurt, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk (or yogurt) mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/4 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 cake from the pan and set 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 top of the cake and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Cut the cake in slices as big as you’d like – I prefer smaller pieces so I don’t feel guilty going back for seconds 😉 – and serve with black coffee. This is a very moist and lemony cake that I promise you’ll make again and again – your friends and family will MAKE you!

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