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Lemon Frosted Lemon Cake Recipe & Video

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This Lemon Frosted Lemon Cake is one of my favorite pound cakes. It is a sweet and buttery cake with a moist yet dense texture. As its name implies, it has a tangy lemon flavor that comes from adding both lemon zest and lemon juice to the cake batter. To further enhance the lemon flavor, the cake is frosted with a simple lemon frosting. This frosting is made by combining powdered sugar with freshly squeezed lemon juice and what I like about it is how it dries to a hard and crusty glaze. A lovely cake on its own with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Recipes for this lemon cake are often found in English cookbooks. Arabella Boxer has a recipe in her wonderful book Arabella Boxer's Book of English Food which is about British foods served before WWII. Another similar recipe can be found in Jane Pettigrew's The National Trust Book of Tea-Time Recipes which pays tribute to present day tea rooms in the United Kingdom. And the late English food writer, Jane Grigson, has a recipe in her excellent book Jane Grigson's Fruit Book. This book covers a wide range of fruits, and besides recipes, she gives us a little history on each fruit.

When you make this Lemon Cake, always use lemons that are fragrant with brightly colored oily yellow skins. If you can, use organic lemons. Lemons consist of a yellow outer rind (skin) and this is where most of the lemon's wonderful tangy flavor is located. Before removing the outer rind (zest) make sure you wash the lemon thoroughly (soap and water is best). And when removing the zest do not remove the white membrane (pith) that is underneath as it is very bitter tasting. If you like, you can make this cake into a Lemon Poppy Seed Cake by adding about 2 to 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds to the batter. And you could make this Lemon Cake into an Orange Cake simply by replacing the lemon juice and zest with orange juice and zest.

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Lemon Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick cooking spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) spring form pan and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the lemon zest.

Then, in the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and pale in color (about 3-5 minutes). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition (batter will look curdled).

Sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture (in three additions) alternately with the lemon juice (in two additions), mixing until you have a smooth batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Bake about 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (The cake will just be starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.) (Do not over bake or the cake will be dry.) Place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes, then gently remove the sides of the pan.

Lemon Frosting: Place the sifted confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice and stir until you have a thick and smooth glaze. Add more lemon juice or powdered sugar, as needed. Pour the frosting over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Let the frosting dry before covering and storing. This cake will keep for several days in an airtight container.

Makes one - 9 inch (23 cm) cake.

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Lemon Cake Recipe:

1 cup (200 grams) granulated white sugar

Zest of 1 large lemon (outer yellow skin of lemon)

1 cup (225 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs (200 grams out of shell), at room temperature

2 cups (260 grams) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons (8 grams) baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine kosher salt

1/4 cup (60 ml/grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Lemon Frosting:

1 cup (115 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing), sifted

2 - 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

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