May 19, 2010

Nathan's Lemon Cake

When one thinks of cake, "refreshing" is probably not the first word that comes to mind. Usually, what makes cake, well, cake, a good drenching in buttery frosting, an uber-sweet filling, and a hefty sprinkling of something yummy, like toasted nuts. In fact, a mouth full of cake will most assuredly leave you reaching for a glass of milk… wash it down so you can clear your gob and go back for more.

Unless, of course, your cake happens to be comprised of two super moist and lemony layers that are delicately iced with a light, sweet, lemon icing and sprinkled with tangy lemon rind. Then, I guarantee that "refreshing" will ring with every bite.

Enter, the lemon cake, a cake delicious enough to line the store window of a good bakery, simple enough to make quickly at home, and refreshing enough to enjoy on even the hottest days.

Cake lovers, rejoice! Now, amid the wide array of tortes, pies and ice creams that pop up this time of year, cake can finally stake its claim in springtime. Now, I'm sure there are plenty of other dainty, fruity cakes out there, but this was my first time making such a treat, so humor me, please.

This recipe starts with simple lemon layers, which I have to say, turned out to be some of the moistest cakes I’ve ever eaten. So buttery, sweet and packed with lemony punch, you won’t believe it’s light. Just be sure to keep an eye on them while they bake. Mine were done a bit early.

Once the cakes are cool, a quick whip of powdered sugar, fresh squeezed lemon juice, lemon rind and melted butter equal a finger-licking good frosting. Although, I must have been a little too distracted on the finger licking part, because I read “1 cup” of powdered sugar, when it clearly said "3 cups."

So at first, my frosting was a clear glaze, paling in comparison to the bright white icing in the Cooking Light photo. I sadly dripped the watery goo onto the first layer, watched it immediately soak into the cake, and knew something was wrong. But too frustrated and sticky to reach for the measuring cups, I just added more powdered sugar until I had the right consistency. That’s the great thing about this frosting. You can wing it.

And you'd never know that I messed up. Frosting has a lovely way of covering up any mistake, making my final product almost too pretty to slice into...

With a major emphasis on the almost part of that sentence, because while I love looking at pretty food, I love eating pretty food even more.

Thank you so much to Meghan, fellow Cooking Light blogger for suggesting this delicious cake! It's sure to become a springtime-summertime-anytime-staple around here.

So, when you get a hankering for something citrusy and sweet to wash down those cookout burgers and dogs, skip the overly sugared lemonade and reach for something even better. A big 'ol bite of cake.

Nathan's Lemon Cake
Nathan Coulon, Cooking Light, MAY 2008
Yield: 16 servings (serving size: 1 slice)


Cooking spray
2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
2  cups  all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1 1/2  cups  granulated sugar
1/2  cup  unsalted butter, softened
3  large eggs
1  cup  nonfat buttermilk
2  tablespoons  finely grated lemon rind
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
3  cups  powdered sugar
1/4  cup  unsalted butter, melted
1  tablespoon  lemon rind
1/4  cup  fresh lemon juice
Lemon rind strips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray. Dust pans with 2 tablespoons flour, and set aside.

Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and 1/2 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture and nonfat buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon rind and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack; remove wax paper from cake layers.

To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar and the remaining ingredients (except lemon rind strips) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of icing on top of cake. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining half of icing over top of cake. Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired. Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 317 (27% from fat), Fat: 9.5g (sat 5.6g,mono 2.6g,poly 0.5g), Protein: 3.6g, Carbohydrate: 55.7g, Fiber: 0.6g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Iron:1mg, Sodium:165mg, Calcium: 52mg. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Kat said...

lemon cake is so perfect for summer...and i have totally been craving cake haha

LisaDay said...

Lemon. Lemon cake. Yum.

Found you on SITS. Glad I did.


Lori said...

lemon cake is my absolute favorite! that looks delicious. Visiting from SITs.Have a great day.

Pam said...

This lemony cake sounds very refreshing and delicious to me! I must try this, bet the tang is great!

the VA foodie said...

Great pictures! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I do!!! I usually bake it in a 9 x 13, and create only one frosted layer to make them into bars (great for parties).

I'm just dying to make that chocolate berry pie you made last week.

Thanks for the shout out!!


julie said...

I love love love lemon desserts and this one is beautiful!! I may just make this next week and link back to you if you're ok with it. :)

Katie said...

This looks wonderful, I love lemon!

Julie said...

I have a new found love for lemon and this sounds awesome! I love the thing that makes the little lemon curlies. I totally need one of those :)

teresa said...

wow oh wow! this looks incredible, i love lemon cakes! your pictures are amazing as well.

WhisperingWriter said...

I would LOVE this. I love anything lemon.

Rachel Cotterill said...

Ohhh I do love lemon cake. Yours looks great :)

Just Breathe said...

I LOVE LEMON, thank you for sharing this recipe.

3 hungry tummies said...

This is my kind of cake.great looking cake and love your styling!

Lo said...

OMG that cake looks great! Love lemon cake...but what I find funny is that the cake is from Cooking Light and the next recipe is Chipotle Bacon Baked Potatoes...which I'm guessing is NOT! Your blog is really great - I'm going to check back on your food photos to get ideas for my own blog. Haven't started the food-blogging thing yet but I'm told I should.

Me, Myself and Pie said...

Julie-Please do make it! I'm sure you'll love it!

Lo- believe it or not, ALL the recipes I make are Cooking Light. But happily, none of them taste like it. (I just have to refrain from eating seconds!)

Ingrid said...

I'm rejoicing...not only because I'm a cake lover but because I'm a citrus (lemony) cake lover, too! I want a big ol' slice NOW! Thanks for passing along the recipe. Btw, great job on the zesting. Mine never come out as nice as that. :(

Allyson & Jere said...

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM lemon cake! I lurve all things lemony flavored! I also loved all your pictures and tutorial. Fun. Perhaps I'll get brave enough to give this a whirl sometime.

Just stopping by from SITS. Happy Sharefest Saturday.

Tom and Karen Mortensen said...

Everything looks so good here. What a great project. Do you have mail order delivery?
Thanks for your kind words over at my blog.
Have a wonderful day.

M said...

The lemon cake looks outrageous. I'm going to have to buy some lemons soon.

Visiting from SITS

Creative Mish said...

Lemon flavor is my favorite desserts! This looks delish! I must give it a try.

La Bella Vie said...

Oh my, oh my I think I have found food heaven! I too am not a great cook but do love to play around in the kitchen and love the final outcome.
This one looks amazing, think I'll make it for dessert tomorrow.
I just became a follower on this happy blog!

Michelle said...

SITS visiting. So glad to have you - I just LOVE lemon anything, ESPECIALLY lemon cake. It's just too good. I'm totally going to give this recipe a try. Thanks. Peace. :)

Shamrocks and Shenanigans said...

I have to make it!! I have a lemon tree (although I swear a neighbor is helping themselves to them lol) and I have had a sweet tooth lately which is really odd for me. Thanks for sharing!
Shamrocks and Shenanigans

Stacy said...

I made these for a birthday party for a neice who's getting more sophisticated in her tastes. I improvised the recipe and made "Texas Style" cupcakes, which are big. I generously put fluffy lemon-buttercream frosting and topped with lemon zest. They were simple, yummy, and yes, sophisticated. Your review in Cooking Light helped me choose this recipe so thanks to you and of course, Nathan;-)

Me, Myself and Pie said...

Stacy, thank you for sharing! I bet this cake would make terrific cupcakes. I just may try that next time. I'm so glad it worked out for you! It's great to hear that a recipe was a hit for someone else as well! =)

Sasha17Baker said...

This cake was amazing !!! I don't like lemon cake and I still ate it !! WONDERFUL 10 0ut of 10 so far the best lemon cake I've ever had !! TRY THIS !

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