Friday, July 24, 2015

Recipe: Lemon Cake

I first made this lemon cake for my flatmate’s 30th birthday party. We had quite a lot of people invited to the apartment and so I wanted to bake two cakes; one a traditional sort of birthday cake that I could ice her name onto and the other a free cake. Flatty requested chocolate for her b’day cake so what better than a citrus cake to contrast? I went to my favourite cooking blog Smitten Kitchen and searched for a lemon cake. A few came up but this one looked delicious. It was a huge hit because of it’s really lemony flavour; it practically hits you in the face with it. It’s now in my repertory as one of my favourite cakes that everybody loves. I even baked it for a friend who came and helped me with German tax paperwork (even more boring than it sounds). This recipe makes a lot of cake, which isn’t normally a bad thing just be prepared with your tin. I’ve never made it as anything other than a bundt shape (although the Smitten Kitchen lady writes it also for two loaf shape cakes). The bundt shape is really lovely and very German and dresses up this cake when the icing doesn’t really do that for itself. Even though this cake is very large, it lasts for a long time (cough cough: sugar content).

The 175+50mL of lemon juice is basically the juice of the whole lemons. Another attempt at watercolour illustration.


I’ve pretty well transcribed the recipe as it is but I’ve added some tips learned from my own experiences * with an asterisk.


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350F) and grease the bundt tin. *Tip: grease it well and sprinkle a little flour in there, I am yet to extract one completely whole.
  2. Cream butter and 400 grams of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs one at a time and lemon zest.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 58mL (a third of the 175mL) of lemon juice with the buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour.
  4. Pour batter into the bundt tin and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. *Mine has always been an hour or more.
  5. Towards the end of the baking time combine the final 100 grams of the sugar with 116mL (the remaining two thirds of the 175mL) of lemon juice in a small saucepan cooking over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
  6. When the cake is done let it cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto a rack set over a tray and spoon the lemon syrup over. *Do this gradually so more can soak into the cake without just running over the sides.
  7. Whilst the cakes cool completely, combine powdered sugar (aka confectioners’ sugar/icing sugar) and the remaining 50mL of lemon juice in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake and allow for decorate drizzle down the sides. *I find this yields plenty of icing so maybe start with half the lemon juice quantity and add powdered sugar gradually until you get the desired consistency (like honey).

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