This lemon cake is perfectly lemony, tender, and is so refreshing! It’s always nice to have an easy lemon cake recipe in your go-to recipes!
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Lemon and summer are just a perfect pair. I love how refreshing anything lemon is and I’ve kind of been on a lemon kick lately.
Other Lemon Recipes:
Everyone knows I am not ashamed to use a box cake mix every now and then if I doctor it up.
HOWEVER, it is nice to have from scratch recipe at hand because sometimes you just want to make cake with a little extra love.
This lemon cake took a little while to get just right but it is so worth it.
It has the PERFECT crumb and stays so moist. Plus, top it off with the lemon frosting and dang- you have a delicious dessert.
How to make lemon cake:
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt- set aside
- In a mixer whip the butter until nice and fluffy then mix in the sugar.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time then mix in the zest, lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract
- Bake until edges are golden and a toothpick stuck int the middle comes out clean
- Allow to cool then frost
Lemon Glaze or Lemon Frosting?
I am not a huge fan of lemon glaze- it just tastes too much like wet powdered sugar to me. However, there is nothing wrong if that’s what you want! Just mix together 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tbs lemon juice.
Lemon Frosting is my favorite though and if you have the ingredients, I highly recommend it. It’s richer, creamier, and just adds that extra lemon flavor that we all love- and is the perfect compliment to this moist lemon cake recipe.
My biggest dilemma was whether my homemade lemon cake should be in baked in a loaf pan or in a cake pan. I thought the loaf pan was more traditional and loved how it turned out.
That being said you can definitely make this into a traditional round cake.
Watch how to make this lemon cake here:
How to make this in to a round cake:
This recipe will make one 9-inch cake. Check for doneness around 20-25 minutes.
If you double the recipe (which is totally fine to do!) it will make two 9-inch round cakes OR three 6-inch round cakes. Check for doneness around 20-30 minutes.
How much juice in in a lemon?
I can get 3-4 tbs of lemon juice from a lemon typically. So, two to three lemons are perfect for this recipe.
Fresh or store-bought lemon juice?
I have nothing against using store-bought lemon juice- I use it all the time in recipes. However, I love using zest in this recipe so I was going to buy lemons anyways- turns out I just needed 3 lemons for all the juice and zest!
How to soften cold butter without leaving it out for hours?
I always forget to set my butter out to soften- so I simply cube up a stick of butter and microwave it for 15-30 seconds on 30% power. Comes out nice and soft and not melted!
How to make buttermilk if you don’t have any:
Combine 1 cup milk in a bowl, with 1 tbs lemon juice OR white vinegar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until it starts to curdle. Use in recipe!
Since you don’t need a full cup of buttermilk you can combine ⅓ milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar and use that entire amount in place for the 6tbs called for in the recipe.
Why use buttermilk in baked goods?
The acid in buttermilk helps to create a softer texture in cakes.
Lemon cake from scratch is so easy and so delicious and you need to make it right away!
For more from scratch recipes check out:
- Homemade Chocolate Cake
- Homemade German Chocolate Cake
- Homemade Orange Cupcakes
- The BEST from scratch Brownies
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Easy Chocolate Cookies
- Orange Buttermilk Scones
- Orange Cranberry Muffins
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Easy Lemon Cake Recipe
- 1.5 cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature (1 stick)*
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 6 tbs buttermilk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup butter softened*
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tbs heavy cream
- Lemon zest optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour* a loaf pan*. (8.5x 4.25x2.5)
- In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. (1.5 cups flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt)
- In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, cream together butter with sugar until fluffy. (½ cup butter, 1 cup sugar)
- Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated. Then stir in the lemon zest, 2 tbs lemon juice, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. (2 large eggs, zest from 2 lemons, 2 tbs lemon juice, 6 tbs buttermilk, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Stir in the flour mixture until combined. Pour into prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow to cool before frosting.
How to make lemon frosting:
- Whip butter until fluffy, then mix in the lemon juice, vanilla, salt. (½ cup softened butter, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla, pinch of salt)
- Alternate mixing in the heavy cream and powdered sugar (3 cups powdered sugar, 3 tbs heavy cream).
- Frost the cake and then sprinkle with lemon zest
*Cold butter can be softened in the microwave by heating for 15-30 seconds on 30% power.
*You can also bake this in one 9-inch cake pan for 25 minutes or until done. Then top with a lemon frosting, vanilla buttercream, almond buttercream, or a chocolate frosting!
*You can easily double this recipe for 2 loaves or 2 9-inch cakes.
*If you’d prefer a glaze simply combine 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tbs lemon juice.
* The frosting recipe is supposed to be slightly looser than a stiff buttercream- if you would like the frosting to be a little stiffer simply stir in a little more powdered sugar.
Recipe and pictures updated on 5/7/2020
These look so tasty! Such a lovely idea for cakes!
I'm a big lemon fan, especially lemon curd so sold on that part. The decoration is such a fun idea.
Awesome! Yes I'm a huge fan of lemon curd too!
They sound so tasty, fun decoration too, I love it!
These mini lemon cakes look so cute and I'm sure they taste wonderful! Def one to try!
These look like great fun to make, Need to give them a go!
Thanks! They are super fun!
These were so good great and easy ingredients. I love lemons
So glad you enjoyed it!
This looks so good! Is this frosting good with other kinds of flavorings?
Yep! It's based off my standard vanilla buttercream- I've used it for almond buttercream on my Easter Cake, and Brown Sugar Buttercream for my Sweet Potato Cupcakes, I also have a delicious Chocolate Buttercream and Cream Cheese Frosting! But if you swap out the lemon juice for lime juice that would be tasty- or use any number of extracts!
Thanks for sharing! Does it keep long?
Yep- should keep at least a week if refrigerated- and if you can keep from eating up in that time (I know I can't :P)!