What do you do when you have a bag of lemons and a free afternoon? You bake Ina Garten’s wonderful Lemon Cake that’s what you do. Then step back snap a photo, slice it up, and take it to all your friends!!! This cake has been one of GI Joe’s favorite cakes for the past three years that I have been whipping it up. The cake reminds me of the one that Starbuck’s sells by the slice. Starbuck’s texture is a little more dense , but the flavors are almost identical. Freeze by the slice and you will save yourself a boatload of money. Today I made it in this new Wilton 16 in. x 4 in. loaf pan that my longtime friend Connie bragged about. The cake came out lovely. The only drawback is how to store it without cutting it in half. If you have any ideas let me know!
This cake has a few more steps than your plain poundcake, but it is totally worth it. You will need a good zester or a microplaner for the eight large lemons that are zested. I love the layers of lemon flavor which is such a favorite of mine. The cake has lemon flavor added in three layers. The 1/3 cup of zest and lemon juice go in the batter for the first layer, secondly a lemon syrup is poured over the cake after baking and lastly a lemon glaze is added to the top made with powdered sugar and lemon juice.
I have made this cake in every cake pan that I own: bundt, tube, glass loaf pans, metal loaf pans. Watch the cake really carefully! It only took about 35 minutes to bake it in my new Wilton pan and in my bundt pan in took about an hour. Here are some guidelines for those of you that are not too seasoned at baking cakes:
- Place your cake in the center of the oven
- Turn the temperature down by 25 degrees when using dark or glass pans
- When cake starts to brown don’t leave it. Watch carefully. Minutes can make the difference between a good cake or a bad dry one.
- Check by pressing with your finger. The cake should spring back.
- If the cake has a crusty top use a thin wooden skewer or a cake tester. Insert in the cake and if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs it is done.
- Let the cake sit for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Run a spatula around the edge to loosen the cake.
- Place a cooling rack over the cake and invert.
By the way, my preference is to leave off the top glaze. You know that I am not a fan of frosting.
Hope ya’ll are enjoying this wonderful spring day!
Lemon Cake from Ina Garten
Ingredients for cake:
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 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
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For lemon syrup:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 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. Cook according to the type of pan you may use. My tube pan takes about an hour but the Wilton 16 in loaf takes only about 35 minutes.
For lemon syrup:
- 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. I spooned the syrup over the bottoms of the cakes while the syrup was warm. The cake soaked up almost all the syrup. Very little dripped into the pan. Be patient!
- 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. I threw in some lemon zest for extra flavor. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.
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