Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake.
For this cake, simple loaf pans just don’t measure up. After one slice of the perfect, absolutely perfect cake, it became clear that when I next bake this cake (tomorrow morning), I’ll need to devise some sort of pillow shaped cake pan.
This cake is going to be my new pillow. Forget goose feathers, cotton fluff, memory foam… I want, I need, I’m not sure how I’m going to live without a Lemon-Drenched Lemon Cake Pillow.
Lemon Drenched Lemon Cakes
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Think of this cake as a classy version of the store bought, chemical filled version of Sara Lee pound cake. The density is only matched by the soft, moist and lemony crumb. Sara Lee? Yea, I had my suspicions too, but this cake is without a doubt, the best pound-type cake I’ve ever encountered. Love. Love. Love.
I doubled the ingredients for the syrup and spread them between the two cakes. I liked lots of syrup.
For the Cakes:
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 plump, moist vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
2/3 cups heavy cream
zest of two lemons, finely grated
1 stick, plus 7 Tablespoons (15 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the syrup:
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
juice of two lemons
Making the cakes:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8 1/2-4 1/2-inch loaf pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Even if the pans are nonstick, it’s a good idea to butter and flour them. Place the pans on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular sheets stacked one on top of the other.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Put the sugar and the lemon zest in a large bowl, working with your fingers, rub them together until the sugar is moist and thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of lemon. Add the vanilla bean seeds and work them into the sugar. If you are using vanilla extract, add it later, after you have added the eggs.
Add the eggs and whisk them into the sugar, beating until they are thoroughly incorporated. Whisk in the extract (if using), then whisk in the cream. Continuing with the whisk, or switching to a large rubber spatula, gently stir in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions; the batter will be smooth and thick. Finish by folding in the melted butter in 2 or 3 additions. Pour the batter into the pans, smoothing with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. As soon as the cake goes into the oven, make the syrup. After about 30 minutes in the oven, check the cakes for color- if they are browning too quickly, cover them lightly with foil tents.
Making the syrup:
Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil Remove the pan from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.
When the cakes test done, transfer them to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding them and turning them right side up on the rack. Place the rack over a baking sheet lined with wax paper and, using a thin skewer, cake tester or thin-bladed sharp knife, poke holes all over the cakes. Brush the cakes all over with the syrup, working slowly so that the cakes sop it up. Leave the cakes on the rack to cool to room temperature.
I’ve just discovered this blog and so glad I have.
This cake was fantastic.
Okay, I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this yet! lol. I’ve had this on my list of “NEED to make” since you got it posted. I finally made it tonight and, at my three year old’s insistence, added the zest and juice of a lime as well “Because I like green, Momma! It HAS to have a lime!” My husband couldn’t wait for them to completely cool and promptly devoured one of them. hehe. I *was* going to take one in to work on Monday, but oh well. It’s too good to really share anyway. ;)
Joy, as always, you rock. My mouth was watering the whole time I had this in the oven. lol. Thanks for sharing!
Me from Malaysia, Asia. Tried this cake on Friday. This was the best cake I ever made. Replaced the cream with Evaporated Milk. For the syrup added juice of one lemon only. It’s was good. Thanks.
This looks way too awesome. will definitely be trying this recipe out.
i’m a new follower of your blog and I think you’re awesome! ;-)
I am going to try this as a bundt cake, I just order the Heritage Bundt Pan from Williams – Sanoma, and I think this would be perfect. If you haven’t seen this pan go to their website and take a look. One of the coolest, chic pans I’ve seen. I have a pan fetish I guess.
Love this site!
Have you ever cooked or made ice cream using the syrups that coffee shops use? They come in a zillion flavors but I don’t have a clue how
they might be used in the kitchen. Some of the more exotic flavors would be dynomite in your basic pound type cake recipe.
Andrea [bella eats]
Joy! I made these cakes last weekend while visiting family in Florida. They were delicious!!! I will surely be making them again, very soon.
Now I just hope I can get this to work at altitude…any tips? I´ve got a lot of experience at this, but the first time is always a shot in the dark! And Meyer Lemons grow here all over the place!
I tried this cake yesterday and it sank in the middle but the syrup made everything wonderful. It has that eggy poundcake flavor and the density that comes only with artery-clogging amounts of butter. I used regular lemons, not Meyer, which require a second mortgage to buy up here in Canada…luckily I have a brother in the Bay Area who grows them!
Hi, I couldn’t wait to try this recipe, and was so disappointed with the results. The cake was heavy and coarse, and a complete waste of my time and costly ingredients. I bake regularly, and with great success, and the only thing I can think of that I did not follow to the letter was that I baked the cake in a large, square heavy pan instead of two loaf pans. The lemon syrup was a lifesaver, as the actual cake was a sodden, flavourless mess and not recognisable when compared to the pic’s on the website. We ate the cake served with custard, fresh cream and fruit, to disguise the flopped results. Any comments from those of you who made this cake successfully?
This lemon cake looks amazing. I’d like to try amaretto as a substitute too, similar to your recommendation of dark rum. Your site is now in my favorites for baking ideas and recipes!
Joy, I made the lemon- drenched much to the delight of my neighbors who were begging for more! This is definitely the best lemon cake ever and I have been baking for 35 years. Love your blog.. so glad I found it.. going to try more of your recipes as soon as I make another round of lemon cake :)
Do you think I could make these as cupcakes? My triplets are wanting it for their 9th birthday next week and I thought cupcakes would be cute. Do you think it would work?
I made this last night for a barbeque. It was amazing and dissapeared quickly! Thank you!