How to Make Homemade Lemon Cake

Written by julie elefante
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How to Make Homemade Lemon Cake
Make a tart moist lemon cake at home. (stock.xchng)

This cake packs in a lot of fresh tart flavor, especially if you use fresh lemon zest and juice. The addition of lemon juice makes this cake moist, too, so make sure it cools completely before handling it, and turn it out of the pan gently. It may come apart, otherwise. Before you zest your lemon, make sure you wash it well, especially if it's not organic. Then, zest only the yellow part of the lemon's rind because the white part is bitter.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Cake:
  • Nonstick spray or shortening
  • Parchment paper
  • 9-inch pan
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Zest from one large lemon
  • Icing:
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar

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  1. 1

    Place one of your oven racks in center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of your pan. Grease the pan with nonstick spray or a thin layer of shortening. Place the parchment into the pan. Grease the parchment.

  3. 3

    Whisk your flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Set these dry ingredients aside.

  4. 4

    Cream your butter and sugar together in another large bowl until it is light-colored, fluffy and smooth.

  5. 5

    Beat in one egg at a time, mixing each one in completely before adding the next. Then beat in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and lemon zest.

  6. 6

    Pour the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined; a few light streaks of flour are fine. If you overmix your batter, your cake won't be as light and tender as it should be.

  7. 7

    Pour your batter into your greased pan. Spread it out evenly with a spatula.

  8. 8

    Bake for 45 minutes. At this point, check your cake with a tester, toothpick or thin knife to see if it's fully baked. Your tester should come out clean and dry. If the cake isn't fully baked through, bake it further and keep checking it until it's done.

  9. 9

    Cool your cake completely in the pan on a rack. Once it's cool, loosen the cake from the pan by running a thin knife between the cake and the pan. Gently turn the cake out onto a cake plate and remove the parchment paper.

  10. 10

    Mix the fresh lemon juice and powdered sugar together to make a somewhat thick but still pourable icing. If it's too thick, you can thin the mixture with more juice, milk or water. If it's too thin, add more sifted powdered sugar.

  11. 11

    Pour the icing over the cake. Covering the cake's entire top and let the icing drip down the cake's sides. Serve once the icing has set.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe if you have one. Apply grease and parchment paper as directed. Don't use butter to grease your pan because it can make your cake stick to the pan, making it harder to get it out. Incorrect oven temperatures affect how evenly your cake bakes and how it rises. Give your oven enough time to preheat, and make sure it reaches the correct temperature. Temperatures in any oven, especially older ones, can be off by several degrees.

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