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Simple Lemon Cake

Recipe photo courtesy of Anna Williams

Whole lemons are the base of this rich, citrusy batter. Precooking the fruit removes the pucker and makes for an intensely flavored cake.

Source: Everyday Food, April 2011
Total Time Prep Servings



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How would you rate this recipe?
  • charmainelazar
    7 APR, 2019
    I believe the step of boiling the lemons and processing them made this too bitter because of the lemon rind being including. The cake was good, but very bitter. Glad I tried this ahead of Easter, it would have been a disappointment to my guests.
  • PattiPatti
    3 MAR, 2012
    Found recipe in Martha's Everyday Food mag.April 2011. I am experienced baker. Made TWO cakes, one to keep one for gift. Followed recipe exactly. I had to throw both away. I was so mad to waste all of those ingredients $!$ After looking at the recipe posted HERE they obviously made changes to the recipe and did not let the readers know. 1 1/2 C butter,2 c flour, 3/4lbs lemon, 2 c sugar, only bkg powder, 2/3 c milk,2 tsp vanilla & oven temp 400*. Shame on you Martha! I feel betrayed and broke$!
    • CKL22106970
      23 SEP, 2018
      ok. This explains the problem. Wish I'd looked at this earliers. 2 cups of sugar and the other changes is a huge difference.
  • CKL22106970
    23 SEP, 2018
    Coming from someone who loves lemon desserts, this cake is extremely bitter. Cooking the lemons in no way took away the strong, bitter taste of the lemon rind. Either the rinds need to be cooked much longer, or more sugar is needed to counter the bitterness.
  • alyhamilto9257319
    13 SEP, 2018
    I made the recipe exactly a couple weeks ago and it overflowed the 9” round. The flavor was not affected by that little mishap. It was delicious! I made it in a Bundt pan this time which cut baking time to 30 minutes at my high altitude. Another reviewer’s use of a honey glaze made with some of the cooking liquid from the lemons is a good idea but I accidentally discarded it so used plain honey glaze. I also took the advice to cook the lemon slices longer. The full robust lemon flavor is assertive but not overwhelming and it’s the right size for us. Picture on Pinterest.
  • aimee9131668
    31 AUG, 2018
    we loved this updated recipe. We made a double batch and baked for approximately 40 minutes in a 12 inch round pan. I highly suggest cooking the lemon peels for 30 mins. Just let them sit in the really hot water.
  • mleachl
    31 MAR, 2018
    I made the recipe dairy free by using pure coconut cream in place of the buttermilk and palm kernel shortening in place of the butter. The cake was moist and delicious . I'm going to make it again and add one extra egg white to stabilize it. I thought the flavor was delicious and the recipe very easy. I served it with candied lemon slices, whole raspberries, powdered sugar and a drizzle of homemade raspberry brandy syrup.
  • m_benellyyahoo
    23 MAR, 2018
    I have not made this recipe but I will. It looks simple and delicious but I would like to bake in a bundt pan - has anyone tried baking it a bundt pan?
  • bhavsrinivas
    15 JUL, 2017
    Amazing recipe! I suspect that the bad reviews are a matter of taste - this will be a bitter, fairly dense cake. But if you like old-fashioned marmalade and savoring small slices, this cake is fantastic. I also used small, homegrown lemons, which seemed to be juicier and have a thinner skin than most store-bought lemons. I was attracted to this recipe because none of the fruit is wasted - I even saved the cooking water to make a bitter lemon and honey jelly to drizzle over the cake. My mother won't stop gushing about the cake, and my grandmother took one bite and said "God bless you."
  • jbtomo38comca
    8 JAN, 2016
    Guess I missed all the hub-bub of recipe changing and bad experiences. In spite of the negatives, I made this last night and received stellar reviews from my DH. Served with the raspberries sans cream. Yum Meyer Lemon heaven.
  • caiticlaire
    17 FEB, 2015
    I substituted the buttermilk for Greek yogurt and added 1 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract to boost the flavor, it turned out delicious! Light as a feather. Baked in a 9 inch springform pan for 42 min.

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