New This Month

Tender Lemon Cake


A soft crumb and a tangy, lemony flavor make this birthday party-ready cake a stand-out.

  • Yield: Makes three 6-inch round layers

Source: Martha Stewart Baby, Fall


  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • Zest of 1 lemon


  1. Arrange racks in center of oven and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-by-2-inch round baking pans. Line with parchment; butter; dust with flour.

  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. With electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Add sugar; beat well. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Reduce speed to low; alternately add flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with flour. Stir in zest.

  3. Pour batter into pans; bake, rotating halfway through, until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on rack 15 minutes. Remove; let cool completely right side up on rack.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS10531973
    28 APR, 2014
    this is an tasty & tender cake! Easy to make!!! I used a lemon flavored powder sugar icing. Will make again.
  • victoriacsanders
    2 SEP, 2013
    This is the third year that I've made this cake for my daughter's birthday, and it is so delicate and perfect. I had to substitute a lighter frosting to decorate it as I wanted, but it was still exceptional, and I made Martha's frosting for cupcakes and they turned out beautifully. Best Lemon Cake ever!
  • AmandamIJ
    5 MAR, 2013
    (continued) to read the recipe before making the cake. I only hope other readers are not influenced by these unjust reviews, for it is a lovey cake. It is moist, tender as promised, and able to hold up well under the weight of the layers and frosting. Most importantly, it is as delicious as it is beautiful. You just have to follow the (simple) directions.
  • AmandamIJ
    5 MAR, 2013
    Although constantly assailed with examples of blatant indolence that seem to run rampant through our society today, I never cease to be amazed. Three quarters of these reviewers criticize the recipe for having too much batter for an 8 inch cake pan, despite the fact that the recipe CLEARLY states MORE THAN ONCE that it calls for three 6 inch long pans. Especially ironic, is that these people take the time to voice their impetuous criticisms on the internet, although they couldn't take the time
  • paularaei
    28 FEB, 2013
    i loved it, was not sure i would, due to several reviews complaining...however, iI READ THE RECIPE...'it makes 3- 8inch layers', mine turned out great! paula, belfair, wa
  • zenbee
    2 MAR, 2012
    Ugh. This is not a good recipe. First of all, it makes way too much batter for an 8 inch cake pan. I put it in a 9 inch and it still seemed a bit much. It also took nearly an hour to bake, definitely not half an hour. Also, it didn't have much lemon flavor and I zested a pretty large lemon. It also came out on the dry side. Not worth it to make - I think they should go back to the drawing board on this one...
  • Izzy95
    23 OCT, 2010
    this is a great cake!! the icing is very thick so i recommend that you don't use a lot!
  • antxibeibi
    26 SEP, 2010
    I used an 8" round cake pan and about 20% of the batter overflowed, it took 50 minutes to cook through and now if I cut it into 3 layers each will be about 1/2" thick. This recipe is definitely not meant to be made using an 8" pan. If I make it again I'll try it with 3-6" rounds.
  • JeaninVancouver
    23 AUG, 2010
    I followed this recipe exactly. this cake was very dense and heavy. It says one eight inch pan,m but there is enough batter for two. I will try it again to test.