FINALLY!! I’ve had this recipe bookmarked in my recipe binder since I printed it out almost two years ago and I’ve finally made this lemon cake. Why did I wait so long?! Probably because Kyle isn’t a lemon fan (jerk. lol). Probably because there was always another recipe that made it to the top of the list when I needed something like this. Like this recipe. Or this one. Nonetheless, when I was creating my menu for our brunch this past weekend, I firmly decided to use this recipe come hell or high water.


Holy crap. I’m SO mad at myself for waiting so long to make this cake!  It was waaaaay better than any lemon cake I’ve ever had – light yet dense and just lemony enough to satisfy both the lemon lover and the almost-converted lemon lover in the house.  I even caught Kyle eating the loaf (the loaf – not a slice of the loaf) with a fork earlier in the week!  The most time consuming part about the whole cake is zesting the lemons but seriously, when you get TWO 8-inch loaves from this one recipe (I froze the 2nd loaf), I can hardly complain about zesting a few lemons.


Tired of the brunch posts yet?


Lemon Cake

source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa Parties!

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 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
  • 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  5. For the glaze, 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.
we love to see what you make!

tag what you make with #smellslikehomeblog on Instagram and follow along with me in my New England kitchen!

  • February 26, 2009 at 4:02 PM

    I wish I had some lemons & I’d make this RIGHT NOW!!!

  • February 26, 2009 at 6:58 PM

    I love lemon, I am going to have to try this cake!

  • February 26, 2009 at 7:56 PM

    Pretty much YUM sums it up!!!

  • Annie
    February 27, 2009 at 7:12 AM

    Looks and sounds great! I have a version of this recipe bookmarked where someone used orange instead of lemon and I’m hoping to try that soon. Yum!

  • insanelygoodfood
    February 27, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    Ooh! I’ve made this one! Yes I agree it is holy crap good! AND it makes the house smell lemony fresh! :o)

  • Melissa
    February 28, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    Looks delicious! I have been looking for a lemon cake and didn’t even think to check my cookbooks! This one sounds amazing!

  • March 1, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    […] Lemon Cake […]

  • March 24, 2009 at 11:19 PM

    I absolutely can’t wait to make this! I have two events this weekend that I need something just like this for, so I love that the recipe makes 2 loaves…thanks for posting!

  • April 28, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    […] Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties, as seen on Smells Like Home. […]

  • elda bielanski
    November 4, 2009 at 7:50 PM

    Has anyone tried this cake in a regular cake pan for a more formal cake ? Because it sounds more lemony than most, I would like to use it but as a 12 x 12 cake for my grandson’s christening. I was thinking of making this two times in a 12 inch square pan and slicing each layer horizontally with the glaze in-between and covered with fondant. Any thoughts or ideas?

    • smellslikehome
      November 4, 2009 at 9:39 PM

      Hi Elda, Yes, I definitely think you could make it as a 12×12 cake but I’m not entirely sure how it would work as a layer cake. I’d suggest giving it a test run!!

  • Kathy Cannon
    October 3, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    This looks like the perfect dessert to take to a meeting next week. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! I might try to make the NY Coffeecake too.

  • Glen Kazmierski
    March 30, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    it’s a keeper. can’t really decide if it’s a cake or bread…..but it is delicious! Shared with some neighbors and got a thumbs up from everybody.

Leave a Comment

You Might Also Like: