Citrus fruits are in season right now and we’ve sure been enjoying the sweet oranges, tangy lemons, and Texas Ruby Red grapefruit. For years I’ve wanted to try making something with Meyer Lemons, so I adapted a lemon pound cake recipe to use these sweeter, less acidic lemons.
Meyer Lemons are a cross between regular lemons and mandarin oranges and didn’t really come to the U.S. (originally from China) until the 20th century. In the last few decades, chefs have discovered them and started featuring them in recipes. The skins are smoother and the fruit is a little rounder than regular lemons, having a deeper yellow, almost orange skin. I really liked the result when I used them for this wonderful lemony cake.
This recipe calls for zesting and juicing the lemons and while doing that I noticed a deep, almost oregano-like aroma. It was incredible. I’m going to look around for more recipes – maybe an ice cream this summer – that use these lemons. If you prefer the sharp, acidic flavor of regular lemons (which I love also!), go ahead and use those in this cake.
I went a little overboard with the size of the holes poked on the top of the baked cake, but I really liked the way the lemony glaze soaked down into them. It was even better when it sat covered at room temperature overnight. If you like lemon, this is the cake for you!
- 1/2 C butter , softened to room temperature
- 1 C sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- 2 1/2 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
- 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 C buttermilk
- 1 1/2 C confectioner's sugar
- 3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- Water to thin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9x5" loaf pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, lemon juice and zest until combined. Alternate adding the flour mixture and buttermilk and mix well after each addition. Do not over mix after combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (will have a few crumbs on it). The sides of the cake do brown quite a bit (see first photo), so don't worry about that.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack which has wax paper underneath it to catch the glaze. Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a toothpick, making sure the holes reach the bottom of the cake. Pour and smooth half of the glaze over the cake, making sure to encourage the glaze to go into the holes. Let this sit for a few minutes, then pour the remaining glaze over the cake. Allow to dry and set for about 30 minutes before serving.
Tips and Stuff:
I used a total of four lemons for the juicing and zest. When zesting remember the skin of Meyer lemons is thinner than normal lemons, so don't zest too deeply to the pith or it will be bitter.
If you want a taller cake you can use an 8x5" pan, but make sure and bake it 5-10 minutes longer.
I used a the end of a small wooden spoon when poking holes in the cake. It made great holes for the glaze to get it, but left mighty big holes in it! Still, I would do it the same next time because it made the cake so moist.