Recipe: Triple Lemon Cake

14 Jun

When the kids were little, I used to make them specially decorated cakes: a pick-up truck cake with candy in the back (as if the cake and ice cream weren’t enough), a dinosaur cake, a cake that looked like a pumpkin (two Bundt cakes on top of each other,  covered with orange frosting, with a bit of stem coming out the top), a soccer field cake, etc. As the children got older, the decorations decreased–but not the cake requests.

Of all the cake options available, this Triple Lemon Cake is the most requested (with the Mexican Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze offering stiff competition). It has triple the tang because lemon appears in the batter, syrup, and glaze. If I could find a fourth way to get more lemon into the cake, I would. But it is really nice just the way it is, and is a good cake for spring/summer.

Triple Lemon Cake

1/2 lb. butter, at room temperature
2 c. sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
3 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk (a good substitute: put 1 tbsp. vinegar in a measuring cup, then add milk to make 1 c.)
2 tbsp. tightly packed grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (the 4 lemons should provide enough juice for the batter, syrup, and glaze)

1 c. confectioners’ sugar
½ c. butter, melted
1/3 c. fresh lemon juice

fresh lemon juice
confectioner’s sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325°.
2. Carefully and very thoroughly grease and flour a Bundt pan.
3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well each time.
4. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the egg mixture, stir to combine, add about 1/2 of the buttermilk, stir, and repeat, ending with last bit of flour mixture and ensuring it is well incorporated. Gently stir in the lemon zest and juice. Note: The batter will be thick.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top as evenly as possible. Cook for an hour in the middle of the oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Sometimes, it may take longer than an hour to cook.
6. Toward the end of the baking time, prepare the syrup: melt the butter and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the confectioner’s sugar. Bring to a quick boil just before using.
7. When the cake is done, remove from oven. Poke holes in the cake with a long skewer, then pour the hot syrup over the cake. Let the cake sit for about 20-30 minutes.
8. Put a large plate (or platter) upside down on top of the cake pan and invert the pan and plate together so the cake drops neatly onto the plate. Actually, I have rarely had the cake drop neatly onto the plate; I just always hope it will. It usually requires a lot of jiggling and careful loosening of the sides. And even then, the cake doesn’t always come out of the pan cleanly. So, grease and flour the Bundt pan heavily beforehand, and use a liberal amount of glaze on the cake afterward, to cover up any less-than-perfect parts (as I did for the cake in the phot0).
9. Glaze the cake: the amount of glaze is entirely up to you; I start off with about 2-3 c. of confectioner’s sugar, then add a few drops of lemon juice at a time until the glaze is a good consistency (and then if it looks like I don’t have enough glaze or if it is too thin, I add more sugar and keep going). Sometimes, I drizzle a thicker glaze on the cake first (also good for filling in rough spots), then add a slightly thinner one for contrast.

6 Responses to “Recipe: Triple Lemon Cake”

  1. smfuray June 14, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    This looks so delicious I may make it on Sunday night when Michael Lindsay is over for the evening. Awesome!


  2. Leah June 14, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    Yum. I, too, like to make lemony cakes with as many sources of lemon as possible. I’ve never done a bundt version (although I’ve done it with orange). Citrus = Happy.

    If you’re serious about wanting a fourth source of lemon, consider making or buying lemon curd and whisking it with some mascarpone, then put a dollop on each plate next to a slice of this wonderful cake.

    I love lemon so much that I once made it a theme for a dinner party. There was lemon in every dish on the table, from start to finish. Next time I do that, I’ll have to try this cake.

    P.S. I’ve been loving this blog.


    • perennialpastimes June 14, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Thanks, Leah. I forgot I actually do sometimes have a fourth source of lemon: lemon sorbet on the side (though actually, I really like this cake with strawberry sorbet for the nice contrast). But I hadn’t thought of lemon curd–may have to try your delicious-sounding suggestion, or perhaps try swirling some through the batter (or both)!


      • Leah June 14, 2013 at 11:21 am #

        Mmm. I love strawberries (and raspberries) with lemon.


  3. queenanndee June 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I think Suzanne should definitely make that. My mouth is watering. How you all are so thin with your cooking just amazes me. Thanks for the post.


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