Lemon Cake, Idiot-proofed

Even if you don't have blood sugar issues, you're going to want to have insulin on-hand just to read this recipe for lemon cake!
I make this recipe every Christmas, but since I only make it annually, I always forget that I screw it up every single year. And this
year was no exception. It’s a Barefoot Contessa recipe and I find that Ina Garten over-complicates most things, so I have modified the recipe slightly and re-written it to be idiot-proof for my own benefit. Advisory: Even if you don’t have blood sugar issues, you’re going to want to have insulin on-hand just to read this recipe for lemon cake!
Cake Ingredients
  • 2 sticks of butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs (fresh from backyard hens if you can swing it)
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest tossed with one
    teapoon flour (6 to 8 large lemons, reserving rinds for Lemoncello Cleaner!)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Syrup Ingredients
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ½ vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise (optional, but worth the investment)
Glaze Ingredients
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice 
Tossing the lemon zest in some flour aids in the even distribution of the zest throughout the batter.
Zest is tossed with flour to aid in even distribution in the batter. 
 Juice lemons over a sieve to catch all seeds.

 Cake Directions

Preheat the oven to 350
degrees F. Grease and flour 2 loaf pans or 6 mini loaf pans.
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. Add eggs, one at a time, and the lemon zest
(be sure zest gets evenly distributed)
Sift together the flour,
baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
In a separate bowl, combine
1/4 cup lemon juice, milk and vanilla extract.
Add the flour and buttermilk
mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
Lemon Cake, Idiot-proofed
Lemon Cake, Idiot-proofed
Divide the batter evenly
between the pans (I use an ice cream scoop to portion evenly). Smooth
the tops and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick comes out clean.
Look at the fluffiness of this lemon cake batter!
Lemon Cake, Idiot-proofed
Syrup Directions
While cakes are baking, combine
1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and cook
over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Glaze for lemon cakes consists of sugar, water and an optional vanilla bean.
When the cakes have cooled
for 10 minutes, poke holes in them with a skewer. *Remove from the pans and set
them to a rack set over a sheet pan (I don’t remove cakes from the mini loaf
pans if I’m gifting them). Slowly spoon the syrup on top of cakes, aiming for
as little waste as possible.
Spoon lemon glaze over warm cakes.

Lemon cake after soaking with lemon glaze.
 Allow the cakes to cool
completely. .
Glaze for lemon cake.
 Glaze Directions
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. These lemon cakes freeze beautifully. (guilty pleasure: eating a hunk of cake FROZEN. Mmmmm!)
These lemon cakes freeze beautifully. (guilty pleasure: eating a hunk of cake FROZEN. Mmmmm!)
Lemon cake adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.
** The lemon rinds can be turned into an organic, Lemoncello Cleaner very simply with only a 2 liter bottle and 1 cup of brown sugar! 
Lemoncello cleaner made from spent lemon rinds
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®


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Kathie De ToroTheChickenChickL. KeippKathy Toomerkskountrygirl Recent comment authors

Thanks again for this – making it now, can't wait for the delicious aroma from the oven! Hope you and yours have a blessed Christmas and so happy everything worked out for you legally. In the end I am glad justice prevailed!

Avis Peterson

I like this, and now I am craving it!

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