Our family loves anything lemon! The more lemon the better. So, a birthday cake for my granddaughter this week featured lemon in several ways!
I have often turned my mother’s pound cake recipe into a lemon pound cake, so delicious, but it does make a lot. For smaller gatherings, a half a recipe makes a cute little two-layer, six-inch cake. I often made this cake for our “elopement special” at the inn, a perfect little wedding cake to savor all weekend by just two people.
Lemon all the way!
This cake is lemon all the way, lemon zest in the batter, the cakes are drizzled with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, and topped with a white chocolate lemon frosting, with more lemon curd swirled in. A few lemon zests to garnish doesn’t hurt either! You will need about five lemons for this, six if they are tiny, and more if you are making your own curd, three more. This is the time for the economy bag of lemons, but look for organic!
To make your own lemon curd:
If you want a slightly lighter cake, add a teaspoon of baking powder, but I prefer the more traditional pound cake texture. The cake is quick to make. You can fill with your own lemon curd, or use a favorite jarred variety.
Since spring flowers burst forth in my garden this week, I couldn’t wait to garnish something with them! Little pansies and violets volunteered to add the beauty to the finished cake.
Lemon “Half a Pound Cake”
- ½ pound (8 oz) softened unsalted butter
- ½ lb. granulated sugar
- ½ pound eggs (about four)
- Zest of three lemons
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ½ tsp. lemon extract
- ½ pound all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. salt
The drizzling syrup:
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease, flour, and line two six-inch cake pans with parchment, and grease and flour the parchment as well.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter four about a minute, until light and fluffy. Pour in the sugar and continue beating for about seven minutes, until very light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on the time, this is necessary for a good rise.
On low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in well before adding the next.
Add the zest, juice, and extract, combine well, then add the flour and salt on low speed. Mix only until combined.
Divide the mixture between the two pans, and give them a whack on the counter to release any air bubbles.
Bake for around 40 minutes, but check at 35. You want the top to be browned, and a toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.
While the cake is baking, combine the lemon juice, zest, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat. You want the sugar to dissolve. Set aside.
Once the cakes are out of the oven, still in the pan, drizzle the syrup evenly over both cakes. Let the cakes stay in the pan for about five minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to cool thoroughly. You can stop right here and enjoy this cake, however, it is even better filled with lemon curd and frosted with the following.
To complete the cake, frost with the white chocolate frosting then swirl a bit more of the curd over the top. Add some pretty zest and edible spring flowers if you have them, pansies, violets, lilacs, cherry blossoms, even roses.
White Chocolate Lemon Frosting
- 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped, or use chips
- ½ stick unsalted butter
- Zest of one lemon
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup lemon curd
- 1 ½ cup 10X confectioner’s sugar
Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 15-second blasts, until soft, then gently whisk to melt any little lumps. Let cool to barely warm. In a bowl, beat with an electric mixer the butter, lemon, salt, and lemon curd. Add the chocolate, and then the sugar. Beat until smooth.
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