You all know how strongly I feel about chocolate by my post HERE. But I'll let you in on a little secret, and I'll try not to let the chocolate shamrock cupcakes currently in my kitchen hear me. My absolute favorite cake ever is lemon pound cake. I never buy it at the store, I never make it at home, but whenever I am at a breakfast or a banquet and they have lemon pound cake, I do a jump for joy. Only catch is that it has to have the lemon glaze on it. That tart, sugary glaze just brings the whole cake together. Perfection.
With Spring just around the corner and the temperatures (hopefully!) creeping up, I had the urge to finally tackle a lemon cake. So I scoured the internet for a recipe and finally settled on Ina Garten's Lemon Cake recipe. I love me some Barefoot Contessa, every recipe that I have tried of hers has come out great, especially her Cranberry Conserve that I make every year for Thanksgiving...seriously, the best cranberry sauce recipe ever.
A few notes in this recipe. I only have one loaf pan, so I used that and one 8 x 8 glass pan and that worked fine. Also, I did not buy buttermilk- I just made my own. To make your own "buttermilk", just take 1 tablespoon of vinegar and pour it into a 1 cup measuring cup, then fill the rest of the 1 cup with skim milk. Let set for 5 minutes and you have buttermilk! Amazing, right? And I highly recommend lining the pans with parchment paper, it will definitely make your life easier.
I really loved how this cake turned out. It's fluffy and moist and super flavorful. It put me in the mood for spring, and I would definitely make this again!
Here's the recipe!
Lemon Cake (from the Barefoot Contessa, original recipe HERE)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons) 3 cups flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-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 1/4 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 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 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.