Its Big Ted's birthday this coming Thursday and I wanted to make him a cake that I knew he couldn't resist. Like my dad, he loves all things sweet and lemon flavored. As I continue to grow in the kitchen, I am finding there are some chefs who are spot on EVERY TIME and Ina Garten is one of them (also known as the Barefoot Contessa).
This Lemon Cake is the key that will unlock the lemon lovers soul. It is truly something to write about. Moist, sweet and tart, and melts in your mouth. Let me not forget that it is also easy to bake.
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (4 eggs will do if its all you have)
- 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (4 to 6 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
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.
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. Allow the cakes to cool completely. Dip cakes in syrup (Optional**).
**If you decide to use syrup I recommend pouring the syrup into a flat pan that your loaf easily can be placed in and removed. After letting your cake cool down enough that you can pick them up with your bare hands, dip the top and bottom in the 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. (I used 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup water and didn't use all of the syrup)
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.