Moist and zesty lemon cake topped with rich lemony cream cheese icing and decorated with lemon slices! What makes this a great lemon cake recipe is how easy it is to make. Sooo easy, that you do not need to make a big preparation like you would for, let’s say, Thanksgiving turkey. You most likely would not even need a grocery run to whip this up. Make this for your next dinner party for an impressive dessert.
Another fun part about lemon cakes is that you can pair it with a lot of different fruits. Try topping it with coconut, strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and you’ll see how it doesn’t fail to make you drool, longing for more.
Tips to get the perfect lemon cake
- Sifting the flour prior to measuring is essential. It helps in breaking up lumps, getting accurate measurement and aids in mixing with other ingredients while making the batter. Un-sifted flour can contain lumps which results in dense cakes and can even cause cakes to sink in the middle.
- Overhang the parchment paper from the pan: For easy removal of the cake from the loaf pan, lay a rectangular piece of parchment paper with the longer side along the length of the loaf pan with some of the parchment hanging off the long side so that you have enough to hold and lift the cake when its baked.
- Remove air pockets: Cakes usually needs some air in it to let is rise properly, but if there is too much trapped in the batter can lead to large air pockets in the cake which eventually leads to a dry cake. So, what can you do to remove these excessive air bubbles? Once you pour the batter into the pan, bang it against a wall or simply, but carefully, let it fall 1 to 2 inches onto the countertop with a thud. This will help some of the larger air bubbles to rise to the top which you can burst with the help of a toothpick. Do this a few times.
- Bake time: Depending on your oven, the bake time would vary by 5 to 10 minutes. The best way to check if the cake is done is to insert a toothpick or skewer in the centre and see if it comes out clean.
Besides your standard small and large bowls, few spoons and measuring cups, you need these items
- Electric handheld mixer: for mixing the cream cheese frosting
- Whisk: for mixing the batter
- Offset spatula or rubber spatula
- 9 x 5 inch loaf pan: If you don’t have a loaf pan, you can use a 6 to 8 inch round cake pan.
What Goes into Your Lemon Cake and Substitutes
- Milk: To make it a vegan lemon cake you can use almond or soy milk
- Oil: Olive oil or some form of vegetable oil would work. The key here is to use mild tasting oil and to stay away from strong oils like sesame
- Lemon juice: Freshly squeezed lemon juice is always preferred over bottled ones. Depending on how much of a lemony kick you want, play around with different amounts of lemon squeeze.
- Lemon zest: This is optional and totally depends on how lemony you want the cake. I for one love strong lemon flavors, but that’s just me.
- Others: All purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, cream cheese and butter (regular or vegan)
How to Make Your Lemon Cake Different
The number of ways you can alter this recipe and try out with different flavors, is only limited by your mind and your clock. That said, these are one my favorite alternative lemon cake recipes:
- Lemon poppy seed cake: This variant is quite like the simple lemon cake recipe we have given. You simply add poppy seeds to the recipe and bake the cake. The poppy seeds will give a nutty undertone that pairs deliciously well with the lemon flavor
- Orange – lemon cake: In this cake, you add both lemon and orange squeeze and also zest of both. Both flavors being citrous in nature, the overall taste is very zesty.
- Cranberry – lemon cake: In this case you don’t necessarily need to add crushed cranberry or cranberry syrup in the batter. You can simply add some cranberries into the batter and bake it. If using frozen cranberries, I suggest tossing the berries in flour to keep the outer skin dry. Once the berries feel dry in your hand, take them out of the flour and add to the batter.
- Blueberry -- lemon cake: Follow the same steps as for the lemon—cranberry cake. Depending on how the blueberries are, a lot of them might burst and bleed into the cake, mixing in with the lemon flavor to give an awesome taste. Sometimes it might not burst at all, but the taste is still beyond words.
Do you like lemon meringue pie and cheesecake? This recipe for combines both for a Lemon Meringue Cheesecake.
Best Ways to Store Lemon Cake
- Never store the cake in the refrigerator. Unlike most foods we store in the refrigerator, cake gets stale quite quickly. Its better to freeze than simply store in the refrigerator
- For consuming within 24 hours, you can store it at room temperature, away from heat and direct sunlight. If you have a cake box, then store in the box. If you don’t have one, then wrap the cake loosely with plastic wrap.
- If you want to store for 3 to 4 days, store the cake in a cake box and wrap the box tightly with the plastic wrap. If you don’t have a cake box, then use a cake lid to cover the cake and cover it with a tea towel to keep it away from direct sunlight.
- To store for weeks or 3 to 4 months, you can freeze the cake. Double wrap with plastic wrap and store it. Thaw it on the counter before serving.
Note that the storage guidelines provided on this page and site are estimates from personal experiences. We are all adults and as an adult you are responsible to ensure that the food you eat is safe to eat. Since, I'm not a food safety expert, you are responsible to review your local guidelines on food storage prior to storing any food left-overs.
For Canadian Guidelines check Government of Canada's Food and Safety Guidelines for further information and resources.
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About Akshita Pillai
Guest Blogger and Recipe Developer at Sugar Spice N' Everything Nice
Akshita is a food blogger at Sugar Spice N’ Everything Nice, along with her husband, Midhun. They focus on creating easy eggless and vegan friendly recipes, using ingredients commonly found in your pantry.
Lemon Cake Recipe
For the Cake
- 2 cup All purpose flour
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- ½ tsp Salt
- ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup Almond milk or any other milk
- ⅓ cup Olive oil or any other oil
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Lemon juice
- 2 tsp Lemon zest
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2.7 oz -- Cream cheese
- ½ cup Powdered sugar
- 3 tbsp – Butter softened at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp of salt a pinch
- The Cake
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl
- In a measuring jar, mix oil, milk, butter, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest.
- Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk
- Grease 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper and let it overhang along
the length of the loaf pan. This will help in lifting the bread up later once it's baked.
- Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake at 355 F for 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then remove the bread by lifting with the overhanging parchment paper on the sides.
- Let it cool on a wire rack to room temperature before applying the cream cheese frosting
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a medium bowl, add softened butter and cream cheese
- Using an electric hand mixer, whisk till you get a smooth creamy texture
- Add powdered sugar and mix everything together using a spatula
- Add vanilla extract and salt and mix again with the electric hand mixer.
- Apply a thick layer on the cake.
- Top it off with lemon slices and zest for décor