Lighter Lemon Cake

Right now,  I am listening to the sounds of our snowplow service plowing our driveway. Again.  We got 5 inches of snow yesterday and are projected to get at least another inch today.  It’s mid-late April.  Yikes!  So while I had a different recipe to share with you today, I thought we all could use a little sunshine, well…for a variety of reasons these days. Nothing says sunshine quite like a lemon dessert, and this Lighter Lemon Cake will definitely brighten any day.

Back in February, I shared Adam’s Baseball Birthday cake, and the flavor of that cake was this Lighter Lemon Cake.  Lighter Lemon Cake has become my ‘go-to’ lemon cake.  It has a generous amount of lemon zest and juice, yielding a vibrant lemon flavor, and the buttermilk helps yield a nice, moist crumb.  The lemon zest and juice in the frosting gives an extra lemon boost, which is bright and delicious.  If you like lemon, you’ll love this cake!

This cake is made on the lighter side, which means less frosting than a typical cake, or a typical layer cake anyway.  While I stretched it to cover the sides of a layer cake for purposes of making a last minute baseball cake, I recommend just spreading frosting between the layers and on top of the cake, leaving the sides exposed OR make 1 1/2 times the frosting amount to have enough to fully cover the cake.

And while we are all a little snowed out after this winter, I can tell you one little boy who is elated.  Here is a picture of Adam after the snowstorm we had last week.  He’s loving every minute of it,…which is a different kind of sunshine that is sure to brighten any day.

Lighter Lemon Cake
Yields: 12-16 servings
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons finely granted lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Icing:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • ¼/ cup fresh lemon juice, add as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 9-inch (or 8-inch) cake pans with cooking spray, line the bottoms with waxed paper and coat the waxed paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter at medium speed with a hand (or stand) mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beating on low after each addition until just combined. Last, beat in the lemon zest, juice and vanilla.
  4. Pour equal amounts of batter in prepared pans and sharply tap on counter to remove any bubbles.
  5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pans to cool completely. Remove waxed paper.
  6. To make icing: In a large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice until combined and smooth. Frost cake as desired.

Source: Cooking Light, May 2008


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  1. This sounds so yummy. I absolutely love lemon cake !

  2. I know what you mean about the winter that just won’t go away! I love lemon cake and usually opt to skip the frosting altogether and just dust a little powdered sugar on top.

  3. This cake sounds so delicious! I have many lemons that I still haven’t used in a fridge..

  4. Cake looks beautiful 🙂 Great job!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow