I love lemon. I love dark chocolate, too. I would say they are tied for my favorite flavor.
I’m not alone in my love of lemons. My father loved lemon. He used to tell us about eating lemons like apples when he was a kid. My mother loves lemon. My sister loves lemon. I think there’s a chance this might be genetic.
I have been on the hunt for the perfect lemon cake for a while and this might be it.
The first cake I found was Glorious Treats’ Lemony Lemon Bread. Oh, my, this is lemony! I made this at Christmas in small loaves to give as gifts. Everyone said they loved it. It is an excellent bread but with 2 cups of butter and 8 eggs, I needed to find one with less calories.
The second find was Becky Charms & Co. Lemony Lemonies Lemon Brownies. Again, an excellent lemon flavor, but more of a brownie consistency. I will make this one again. But I’m looking for a cake.
Now I’ve found Ina’s lemon pound cake from The Charm of Home. This is a lemon pound cake infused with a lemon syrup and then glazed with a lemon glaze. Believe it or not I found a way to add more lemon flavor. I added lemon verbena to the syrup and let it steep for a few minutes. There was a noticeable difference in the flavor. Yum!
One common theme among all these recipes is the fresh lemon juice (a must), and lots of lemon zest. The more you add of these two ingredients, the more lemon flavor. And if you have trouble with the zest clumping on your beater, try processing the zest into the sugar in the recipe in your food processor. This gets the zest well mixed into the sugar and makes it easier to use. You can even make this lemon sugar ahead. The longer it sits, the stronger the lemon flavor.
Lemon Pound Cake
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 c vanilla sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 T grated lemon zest
1 ½ c all-purpose flour
¼ t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t salt
1/8 c lemon juice
1/3 c + 1 T buttermilk, room temp
½ t pure vanilla extract
¼ c sugar
¼ c lemon juice
Two 2” sprigs of lemon verbena
1 c confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 T + 1 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cake: Preheat oven to 350˚. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2″ loaf pan. Line bottom and sides with parchment paper. Grease again and flour pan.
Cream butter and 1 c granulated sugar in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, add eggs, 1 at a time, and lemon zest.
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/8 c lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to batter, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into pan, smooth top, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Syrup: Combine ¼ c granulated sugar with ¼ c lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add lemon verbena and allow to steep. When cake is done, allow to cool 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set on rack over sheet pan; spoon lemon syrup over. Allow cake to cool completely.
Glaze: combine confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake and allow glaze to drizzle down sides.
Adapted from The Charm of Home