I love lemon desserts, and this lemon cake recipe is one of my latest favorites. It's super easy to make and seriously fast to prep and get into the oven. Those are my favorite kinds of desserts. Being able to whip something up from scratch that is easy to make is a huge bonus in my opinion. There is just something special about knowing you made a cake from scratch, but also knowing it wasn't something you spent hours preparing. This cake is sure to become a family favorite.
Lemon Cake Recipe
Growing up, one cake I remember my Granny making on a regular basis was a lemon cake. My grandpa really enjoyed a plain lemon cake and she always tried to keep something on hand that he liked for dessert. This just happened to be something she rotated between making various pies or cobblers. The thing about her cake was, as long as I can remember, it was made from a basic Betty Crocker mix.
I don't honestly know if she ever made a lemon cake from scratch, but I knew I wanted to, and the result is this delightfully moist and brightly flavored cake. There is something about lemon-flavored desserts that really feels light. I find that no matter what event I am attending in the summer, reaching for lemon desserts seems to really hit the spot. Now that I know how to make a homemade lemon cake, I'm sure this will soon make the rounds in my potluck rotation.
Can I Add Fruit to The Cake Recipe?
Yes! This recipe in fact includes some blueberries. While not a must, they make a nice addition of texture and flavor to break up that bright lemon. Blueberries are my go-to when making foods with lemon, but you can also use strawberries, blackberries, or raspberries if desired.
Berries pair well with lemon and seem to be the best options when added to this cake. Do remember that no matter what you choose to add to the batter, adding fruit can increase the moisture. This will alter the texture of the cake and in some instances the cooking time.
Why Do My Berries Sink to the Bottom of the Cake?
If you notice that your berries seem to sink to the bottom of the cake rather than being distributed throughout the baked product, I can help. You'll notice in this particular recipe, I added berries directly to the batter. In the sliced pieces of cake, the berries are gathered toward the bottom almost completely. The biggest reason for this is that you didn't coat them before adding into the batter.
To prevent this from happening, simply toss your fruit with cornstarch or flour then fold into the mixture. This helps the berries stay separated and incorporate into the batter rather than sinking to the bottom.
Does My Lemon Cake Need to Be Refrigerated?
While you do not need to refrigerate the cake for safety, it does last longer when refrigerated. The cake when sitting out on a counter uncovered will dry out and start getting stale within hours. If covered on the counter, it will stay good for 2-3 days. When covered and refrigerated, it may last up to one week in the refrigerator.
This cake is on the small side, so in our family, it likely wouldn't last past the second day. However, if you make a double batch or have a smaller family, you will want to refrigerate to keep it fresh for eating when desired.
Do I Have to Use Real Lemons for This Recipe?
It is my opinion that this recipe does not turn out well if you do not use real lemons. For both the cake batter and the glaze, I highly recommend including freshly grated lemon zest for optimum flavor. The lemon juice is best when freshly squeezed, but can be substituted for prepared juice you may have for long term storage in the refrigerator.
You can make without the zest and simply using a jar of lemon juice, but the flavor will be somewhat flat and not nearly as bright and refreshing as with a real lemon.
- Lemon juice
- Baking powder
- Lemon zest
For the Glaze
- Lemon juice
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon zest
How to Make a Lemon Cake Recipe
Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a loaf pan by greasing and lining with parchment paper or lightly dusting with flour.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar with lemon zest and mix together so the zest is combined well with the sugar, and the sugar is dampened. This will also make the lemon scent fragrant.
Into the sugar zest mixture, add the softened butter, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon juice and mix until well combined.
If adding blueberries, fold those in at this point.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread evenly with a spatula.
Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool completely.
How to Make Lemon Glaze
In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest and mix until combined.
If the glaze is too thick for your liking, you can add lemon juice, milk, or water to the mixture by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is made.
Remove the cake from the loaf pan and place it on a serving platter or storage container and drizzle the top with the glaze allowing it to pour over the sides some as you spread evenly over the top.
Serve warm or room temperature as desired.
More Dessert Recipes
If you are looking for more yummy desserts for your family, check out these recipes listed below. Whether it is lemon-flavored, or just a tasty custard, this list has something light and refreshing you will love.
- Delicious Fresh Strawberry Bread
- Creamy Indian Custard Recipe
- The Perfect Banana Bread
- Cream Cheese Lemon Bars
- Strawberry Lemon Muffins
- Chocolate Chip Lemon Zucchini Cake
- Classic Lemon Butter Cookies
- Delicious Lemon Glazed Zucchini Bread Recipe
- Lemon Raspberry Loaf
When making cakes that you want to easily lift out of a loaf pan, I recommend greasing the pan with butter or shortening first, then lining with parchment paper. There are pre-cut parchment paper sheets available that make this super easy to manage. Another option is to use a silicone loaf pan instead of the traditional metal or glass options. Silicone pans are super easy to remove and prevent the batter from sticking.
Lemon Cake Ingredients
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- Zest of 2 Lemons
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 medium eggs, beaten
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ cup blueberries
Lemon Glaze Ingredients
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp lemon zest
How to Make a Lemon Cake Recipe
- Grease and line a loaf pan and set aside;
- Preheat your oven to 350°F;
- In a large bowl, add granulated sugar and lemon zest and mix together until they are combined and the sugar is damp and fragrant;
- Add softened butter, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon juice to the sugar mixture and beat for 2 minutes or until smooth;
- Fold in blueberries;
- Pour the thick batter into the loaf pan and spread evenly;
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean;
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely;
How to Make Lemon Glaze
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and remaining lemon zest in a small bowl until well combined and the sugar is completely dissolved;
- Remove the cake from the pan and then pour the glaze over the top and allow to spread over evenly on top then drizzle over the sides;
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
This can be served without a glaze or with cream cheese icing if preferred.
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Lemon Zester & Cheese Grater
Metal Lemon Lime Squeezer - Manual Citrus Press Juicer
Nonstick Carbon Steel Baking Bread Pan, Medium Loaf Pan, 8 ½" x 4 ½", Set of 3
Mini Loaf Pan Silicone Baking Mold
Silicone Bread and Loaf Pans - Set of 2 - SILIVO Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mold for Homemade Cakes, Breads, Meatloaf and Quiche - 8.9"x3.7"x2.5"
Parchment Paper Sheets 200 Pre-Cut Sheets
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 352Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 86mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 4g