Favorite Lemon Cake
The weather lately looks awful…
Every time a friend sends a photo of their car beneath a mound of snow, or my yiayia calls to say it’s so cold out the pipes are frozen, or I see all the (gorgeous) heavy winter coats for sale online, I cringe a little.
I love Los Angeles for many reasons, but the weather is near the top of that list.
Truth is, I’ve never really lived anywhere else, aside from a 2 year stint in boarding school. In Utah. That was 2 summers and 2 winters of extreme temperature changes, and I hated it.
Not being accustomed to snow, I even wore my Ugg boots throughout what was apparently one of the worst snow/cold seasons Utah had ever seen. I would NOT recommend it.
I’m one of those West Coast So Cal natives people love to laugh at… I wear a coat when it dips below 55 degrees. Even in the 60s, I’ve got on layers and leggings and I won’t hang around outside for too long.
In my own defense, I’m tiny and don’t retain heat well. I am almost always cold. Even in the house with the heat going.
So, today when I woke up and it was overcast, I wanted something light and lemony. The smell of fresh lemon is one of my favorite scents, along with real vanilla and all sorts of florals.
Whenever I want lemon, this is my go-to recipe. I’ve made this cake so many times I can’t count. It’s everything I want in a snack cake: a moist, soft crumb. Lots of lemon flavor. And it keeps for days. Of course, it would also be perfect for dessert, maybe with some whipped cream and berries. But I like to eat it throughout the day. Just a sliver here and a sliver there. It’s truly one of my favorite things to bake.
This cake can be baked in a Bundt pan, loaf pan, or as muffins. I’ve never tried it in a traditional cake pan, but I’m sure it would work that way too.
It whips up in no time and everyone I’ve served it to adored it. It’s even been requested as a birthday cake:
I came up with this recipe on my own, after looking through countless others for “Lemon Bundt Cakes.” I’ve tweaked it several times and love it as it is. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and if you’re somewhere cold tonight, maybe it will brighten up your day!
Here’s how to make it…
First, cream some butter and sugar, then add in your eggs (I’m making a half-batch of mini loaves today):
Now add some lemon and vanilla extracts:
Add the dry ingredients and the milk in 3 additions, stirring gently between each one:
Now, finely grate a lemon:
And stir it into the batter:
It will smell amazing!!!
Spoon your batter into greased pan/s:
And after they’ve cooled a bit, turn them out onto a cooling rack:
Top with a nice, thick, powdered sugar glaze:
And enjoy a little sunshiiiiiiiine:
FAVORITE LEMON CAKE
Makes a 10-cup Bundt
This cake is easily halved to make a 6-cup Bundt, or about 5 mini loaves or 12 muffins. Baking time will vary; check the 6-cup Bundt around 30-35 minutes, mini loaves around 20-25, and muffins around 10-15.
For the cake:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour (use cake flour for the most tender crumb, but all-purpose works well too)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (1 large lemon or 2 smaller ones)
For the lemon glaze:
- 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a Bundt pan (I use Baking Pam and have never had a cake stick).
2. Make the cake: In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well. Add lemon and vanilla extracts and stir to combine.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt and measure out milk. Add about 1/3 of flour mixture, then 1/3 of milk (just eyeball it), and stir gently to combine. Continue alternating flour and milk until all is added. Batter should be light colored, smooth, and somewhat fluffy. Stir in lemon zest.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake around 50-55 minutes, checking often with a skewer towards the end of baking so as not to overbake; remove the cake as soon as it is set in the center. Remove cake to a cooling rack and cool in pan for at least 20 minutes.
**To remove cake from a Bundt pan: Tap the pan on the counter several times to loosen the edges. If you prepared your pan adequately, it should sort of flop around in there when you tap it. Place a large plate over the top of the pan and using both hands, quickly and carefully turn it over, then allow cake to cool completely before slicing.**
5. Make the glaze: In a medium bowl, beat together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth. Adjust with more powdered sugar, lemon juice, or water to achieve a thick white glaze. Drizzle liberally over cake.