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I need a fantastic lemon cake recipe.

I am looking for a fantastic lemmon cake recipe that alsolooks pretty. Serving it at my Mother's 77th birthday lunch. I will have a lot of great bakers in attendence so I need something special. Help please.

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  1. I made a Lemon-poppy seed cake for a friends wedding that I was very pleased with. It had a lemon moistening syrup, and a lemon curd filling that I also mixed into the buttercream frosting. All the pieces are pretty simple - you could mix & match from the parts depending on what you're up for. I found icing the cake tedious, but it did make it look professional. And I piled lilacs on top...

    1. Maida Heatter's 62nd Street Lemon Cake from her "Book of Great Desserts". Amazing. You use a bundt or tube pan. Bake it several hours ahead of time to give the lemon glaze time to soak into the cake. So good.

      4 Replies
      1. re: robotcoupe

        That is a great cake.

        Do you want a layer cake or a loaf/bundt cake?

        I also really like Margaret Atwood's Baked Lemon Custard Cake. It separates into two layers - cake on top, custard on the bottom. Easy to make but looks/tastes impressive.

        This cake has gotten a lot of love on this board:
        Lemon Grove Bundt Cake (Miss Grace Cake Company)

        1. re: toveggiegirl

          Regarding Margaret' Atwood's Baked Lemon Custard Cake, recipes only uses 3 Tablespoons of Flour? Misprint?? Have you made this cake?

          1. re: Norm Man

            It's not a misprint. Yes, it's a wonderful, light dessert. It's more of a custard than a cake, but as it bakes the top separates and forms into a light cake layer

        2. re: robotcoupe

          I was going to suggest this one as well. Beautiful, delicious AND googlable.

        3. a 2-cents' worth you didn't ask for, but having looked after a number of older friends, i'll toss it out there: i'd go for a straight-up lemon recipe and leave out the poppy seeds. many people in the 70-80 year-old age group have diverticul-osis/itis issues and don't handle seeds or nuts well.

          4 Replies
            1. re: appycamper

              I'm standing by my lemon curd suggestion, though.

              1. re: THewat

                the whole thing sounds luscious. lemon anything is a winner with me! maybe analisas mom will make all of it and hold the poppy seeds and invite us too?!

              2. re: appycamper

                That seeds and nuts thing is an old wives tale. The wikipedia article on Diverticulitis explains and cites some sources.

              3. I do love Ina's lemon cake (the non yogurt one). She makes it in loaf pans but I'm sure you could adapt to cake...


                4 Replies
                1. re: geminigirl

                  I tried this and it was a lemony and rich. I then tried it with Splenda for some friends that have had gastric bypass and can't digest sugar, and it was flat and heavy.
                  The original is worth the time.

                  1. re: breakfastfan

                    Contrary to what Splenda would have you believe, you CANNOT sub it in for sugar in cakes which depend upon sugar for structure. The results will always be flat and heavy no matter which recipe you use. Splenda can only work in baking recipes developed by Splenda, or in regular baking recipes which only use a very small amount of sugar (1 TB or less).

                  2. re: geminigirl

                    I second Ina's lemon cake. Very lemony, moist, delicious.

                    1. My three favourite lemon cakes.

                      Lemonade Layer Cake from Cooking Light, can be decorated very nicely, good clear lemon taste, light, moist cake.


                      Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake from Flo Braker, quite a bit of work but the results are spectacular. Toasting the meringue with a torch after frosting works nicely.


                      Or the Cooks Illustrated Lemon Bundt Cake. Can't find a link to the recipe. But, it's very good.

                      1. This is the one you want. It is gorgeous. Make the curd in advance by a couple of days, and make the cake layers the day before. Assemble the morning of. It is truly beautiful. I've made it several times, all for birthdays.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: IndyGirl

                          ooo IndyGirl - I'm bookmarking that.

                          1. re: IndyGirl

                            This looks really good I think I will try this and see howit turns out.

                          2. Another fan of Ina Gartens's lemon cake. I put it in a 8 x 8 pyrex and had some batter left over to make a small loaf . I added chopped almonds to the batter and slivered almonds sprinkled on top. Sooo good.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: shaebones

                              Thanks for all the ideas if any one else has a great cake let me know. I do want it to be fancy as it is a birthday so a frosted layer cake is what I have in mind.

                              1. re: Analisas mom

                                I forgot that they will probably delete the link below, so I will post the recipe here. This is my very favorite lemon cake. I happen to be a big lemon fan too, so I have made all the popular lemon cakes already.

                                This one is tall, very lemony/buttery, and impressive looking.

                                Triple-Lemon Layer Cake
                                Adapted from Fine Cooking

                                For the Cake:
                                9 1/4 ounces (2 1/3 cups) cake flour;
                                more for the pans
                                2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
                                1/4 teaspoon table salt
                                1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
                                2 tablespoons lightly packed finely
                                grated lemon zest
                                6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
                                completely softened
                                1 cup whole milk
                                room temperature
                                5 large egg whites
                                room temperature
                                1/4 teaspoon creme of tarter

                                For the Filling*-

                                3 ounces unsalted butter
                                room temperature
                                1 cup sugar
                                2 large eggs
                                2 large egg yolks
                                2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
                                1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

                                For the Frosting-
                                8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter,
                                completely softened
                                2 tablespoon lightly packed finely
                                grated lemon zest
                                3 ½ cups sifted confectioners sugar
                                3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

                                Make the lemon curd first so it can chill.
                                *This lemon curd is actually from an earlier Fine Cooking. It is in first
                                place in e-gullets lemon curd bake-off.
                                I like to use my mixer bowl as a double boiler when making it. That way when its done I can put it back on my mixer and whip it until cool. I think it gives it a creamier , fluffier, texture.
                                Don’t omit the unusual creaming of ingredients at the beginning. Fine Cooking found it eliminated the curdled bits of egg you usually have to strain out.

                                Beat the butter with the sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Slowly beat in the eggs and yolks. Beat for 1 minute more, then stir in the lemon juice. The mixture will look curdled. Do not panic.

                                Cook the mixture over low heat until it becomes smooth, then increase the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, without letting it boil, until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of the spoon when you drag your finger through it. If you want to go by temperature, you’re looking for 170 F.

                                Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Press plastic wrap on surface to prevent a skin from forming and chill in the refrigerate.

                                Make the Cake:

                                Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 by 2 inch round cake pans. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Pulse 1/4 cup of the sugar with the zest in a food processor until well combined.
                                In a large bowl, beat the butter and lemon sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 1 ½ minutes). Add the remaining sugar and beat until smooth (about 1 ½ minutes). Beat in a quarter of the milk just until blended. On low speed, add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk in three batches, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat just until blended.
                                In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer (with clean beaters or a whisk attachment) on medium speed just until foamy. Add the creme of tarter, increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the whites form stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Add a quarter of the whites to the batter and gently fold them in with a rubber spatula; continue to gently fold tin the whites, a quarter at a time , being careful not to deflate the mixture.
                                Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until a pick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pans 10 minutes. Run a table knife along the sides of the pans and carefully invert each cake out onto the rack. Flip them right side up and let them cool completely.
                                With the palm of one hand pressed on top of a cake layer, cut each in half horizontally, using a long serrated knife. Put one of the cake layers on a serving plate, cut side up. With an offset spatula or a table knife, spread a generous 1/3 a cup on top of the cake layer. Lay another cake layer on top, spread it with another generous 1/3 a cup, and repeat with third cake layer. (You will have extra curd, enjoy!) Top with the fourth cake layer.

                                Make the Frosting:

                                In a medium bowl, beat the butter and lemon zest with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners sugar in batches and beat until light and fluffy. Add the lemon juice and beat for one minute. (You can make the frosting a couple of hours early and keep it, covered, at cool room temperature.)

                                Frost the Cake:

                                Up to a few hours ahead, spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake, filling in any gaps as you go. Chill until the frosting firms up a bit, about ½ hour. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of cake. Scatter with bits of lemon zest and silver dragees, or garnish as you like.

                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                  And if you want really, really excellent, detailed instructions on things like getting your layers level, making a stunner of a buttercream frosting (with lemon curd in it), making your icing job look professional - as well as some wonderful cake recipes, I recommend "Wedding Cakes you Can Make" by Dede Wilson.

                                  1. re: Becca Porter

                                    Wow that sound fantastic. I think I will try it. Thanks so much

                                    1. re: Becca Porter

                                      Thank you Becca. You were absolutely correct about this recipe. It is a delicious, light and lemony cake and frosting. The lemon curd is a marvelous addition. I made it over the last 3 days. Friday I prepared the curd (refrigerated it) ,Saturday the layers (room temp covered with saran wrap) and and frosting (kept in the frig) Sunday, today, I put it all together. Some notes for other bakers: It is important to spread the thin layer of frosting to avoid crumbs in the frosting, then refrigerate, then put the rest of the frosting on the cake. I refrigerated it again for 15 minutes before we took an hour long ride with it. In order to spread the frosting today I warmed the frosting by putting the bowl with the frosting in warm water, it then returned to the correct consistency. We transported the cake in a plastic carrier putting a non-skid material between the bottom of the plastic cake carrier and the bottom of the glass cake plate - so it wouldn't slide around. I put a large gel cold pack (the soft kind) on top of the cake carrier and underneath it so the frosting and lemon curd wouldn't get too melty and the layers wouldn't slide around during transport. It worked. I put fresh yellow chrysanthemums and the lemon zest on top - twas beautiful and an adventure to prepare.


                                      1. re: ChicagoCooks

                                        Yay! I love this cake and I crave it often. I might have to make it for my 30th birthday next month.

                                      2. re: Becca Porter

                                        Old thread, I know, but I made this cake for Thanksgiving and wanted to report back. I think it came out pretty well but my husband adores it and can't seem to stop eating it. A few comments from me: a) the 35 minutes for the cake layers was too long in my not-particularly-hot-oven. Next time I'll check sooner. b) The cake tastes best when you get cake + frosting + filling in one bite so I might try to put a think layer of frosting between the layers next time.

                                        I also absolutely adore Ina's pound cake (not the yogurt one) so that's what I'll make at Christmas.

                                    1. For lemon layer cakes, you might want to have a look at this CH thread:

                                      1. so I ended up going with a recipe from food and wine, turns out I decided to do this cake that was so awesome called six layercoconut cake with Passion fruit filling. It was so good. Had that sweet sour thing going like lemon but much more unique.

                                        1. lemon doberge are the greatest.
                                          2 1/4 cups cake flour
                                          2 teaspoons baking powder
                                          1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
                                          1/2 cup sweet butter
                                          1/4 cup crisco white shortening
                                          1 1/2 cups white sugar
                                          1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                                          1 teaspoon lemon extract
                                          3 large egg yolks, room temperature
                                          1/2 cup milk
                                          1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
                                          3 egg whites, beaten till stiff
                                          LEMON FILLING
                                          1 1/4 cups white sugar
                                          3 tablespoons cornstarch
                                          3 tablespoons flour
                                          1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
                                          1 1/2 cups cold water
                                          3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
                                          2 tablespoons sweet butter
                                          2 teaspoons lemon peel, finely shredded
                                          1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
                                          LEMON FROSTING
                                          6 ounces cream cheese, softened, room temperature
                                          3 cups icing sugar
                                          1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded
                                          1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                                          1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
                                          1LEMON FILLING: Make the lemon filling first to allow time for it to cool. In a pan combine, sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Stir in cold water and cook till thickened and bubbly. Now cook for two more minutes.
                                          2Put the beaten egg yolks into a bowl and mix with 1 cup of the hot sugar mixture. When well blended pour the egg yolks mixture back into the hot sugar mixture in the pan, bringing to a gentle boil. Stirring constantly, cook for two more minutes then remove from heat.
                                          3Stir in butter, 1 tsp lemon peel and lemon juice, make sure to mix well. Cover with plastic wrap, cool at room temperature -- Do Not Stir again.
                                          4CAKE: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour three 8" round baking pans. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in medium size bowl. Mix butter and shortening till creamy.
                                          5Add sugar, vanilla and lemon extracts, mix until light and fluffy.
                                          6Next add egg yolks, one at a time, beating for 1 minute each. Add milk and lemon juice together. set aside.
                                          7Now add dry ingredients, and milk/lemon mixture alternating until well blended. Gently, fold in the egg whites. Pour 3/4 cup of batter into each prepared pan. Bake in 375 degree oven for 10 - 13 minutes, or until tested done.
                                          8Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks. Now wash, grease and flour pans again and repeat procedure. When finished you will have six cake layers.
                                          9LEMON FROSTING: Beat cream cheese, icing sugar until fluffy. Add 1 tsp lemon peel, 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp lemon extract and beat till smooth.
                                          10CAKE ASSEMBLY: To assemble the cake, place one layer on bottom of a cake platter. Pour 1/2 cup of lemon filling on top of cake. Repeat the above procedure with the remaining four cake layers and filling.
                                          11Top with final layer of cake. Cover cake with plastic wrap and put in fridge for 2 hours till well chilled.
                                          12Spread Lemon Frosting on sides and top of entire cake. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. !

                                          1. This one looks nice- I found the recipe in a Bon Appetit (May 1996) magazine, that was featuring foods of Ireland.


                                            The Southern Living cookbook also has a nice recipe for a lemon layer cake (I believe)...

                                            Best of luck! I hope this suggestion comes to you in time!

                                            1. This is a very lemony cake that always gets raves.

                                              Pound Cake with Lemon Brandy Glaze

                                              makes 16 or more servings

                                              1 pound unsalted butter
                                              3 cups pure cane sugar
                                              6 large eggs, beat well after each addition
                                              1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                                              1 teaspoon lemon extract
                                              zest of one lemon
                                              4 cups unbleached flour, sifted 4 times
                                              3/4 cup whole milk

                                              1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-inch tube (Bundt) pan.

                                              2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, then extracts and lemon zest.

                                              3. Add flour alternately with the milk, beating well until all ingredients are blended. Pour into the prepared tube pan and bake in the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

                                              4. Cool in pan ten minutes, then invert onto cooling rack and remove from pan to complete cooling. Place a large piece of waxed paper under the cooling rack and poke holes in the top of the cake. Pour two-thirds of the glaze over the hot cake. Reserve the remainder to pour over when the cake is cool.

                                              Teacher’s Tip: This cake may also be baked in two loaf pans for about 55 minutes (or until a cake tester comes out clean).

                                              Lemon Brandy Glaze
                                              1/2 cup lemon juice
                                              1/4 cup brandy
                                              zest of one lemon, grated fine
                                              1/2 cup superfine cane sugar

                                              Mix all ingredients over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Let cool. Then drizzle over the cake.

                                              1. I know this is too late for your mom's party, but if anyone else is interested, this is a fabulous special occasion cake; I've made it several times, to raves.
                                                Note: I don't think the frosting needs as much (4 cups) confectioners' sugar as the recipe calls for; I've gone as low as 2 1/2 c, but my personal preference is for cream cheese frosting not to be overly sweet.