Rating: 3.16 stars
482 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 61
  • 4 star values: 88
  • 3 star values: 212
  • 2 star values: 109
  • 1 star values: 12

Layers of thinly sliced Meyer lemons lend a mellow complexity to this otherwise classic dessert. Thought to be a cross of a lemon and a mandarin, the fruit has an orange cast, a thin rind, and a heavily perfumed flesh that's valued by chefs.

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Ingredients

Streusel
Cake
Glaze

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.

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  • Cake: In a large skillet of simmering water, cook lemon slices 1 minute. Drain and repeat. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch angel-food-cake pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Beat in flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating until combined after each addition.

  • Spoon half of batter evenly into pan. Arrange half of lemon slices in a single layer over batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over top. Cover with remaining lemon slices in a single layer. Sprinkle chilled streusel evenly over batter.

  • Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet; let cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pan and remove outer ring. Let cool on rack 15 minutes more. Run a knife around center tube. Slide two wide spatulas between bottom of cake and pan, and lift cake to remove from center tube. Let cool completely on rack.

  • Glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners' sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes.

Cook's Notes

Mildly acidic Meyer lemons are available from late fall through early spring. For the rind to soften and sweeten sufficiently during baking or roasting, slice the lemon to near-transparent thinness. A mandoline, a handheld slicer, or a sharp knife and a steady hand will do the trick.

Cake can be stored at room temperature up to 3 days. The lemon flavor will intensify with time.

Reviews (43)

482 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 61
  • 4 star values: 88
  • 3 star values: 212
  • 2 star values: 109
  • 1 star values: 12
Rating: 4 stars
04/18/2019
Can I make this cake upside down, with the streusel on the bottom such that I can simply flip to remove from pan?
Rating: 4 stars
01/30/2019
I loved the taste and texture of this cake. I followed directions exactly as written. My issue was in removing it from the angel food pan. I guess my spatulas were not 'wide' enough and the cake broke apart during transfer. I will use a bundt cake pan next time and see if I have better luck. Definitely use a mandolin to cut the lemons!
Rating: 5 stars
11/26/2015
Recommend to not reduce the amount of salt mentioned in the recipe. Disagree with the comments that say to use less salt as salt helps bring out the flavors in baking and this recipe has the right amount of salt. Definitely add the lemon slices as it adds a nice flavor and balances out the coffee cake. This recipe is a fun twist on a coffee cake. (I made this recipe with yogurt due to not having sour cream and it turned out great. Next time will make sure to stock up on sour cream.)
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Rating: Unrated
09/18/2015
You must use a mandolin type slicer in order to get the paper thin slices as the recipe calls for or have impeccable knife skills. I used the mandolin.
Rating: Unrated
03/26/2015
Hi! Has anyone frozen this cake? Thanks Cammis
Rating: 4 stars
01/01/2015
Very tasty, but I agree with other reviewers that the salt was a little too much. A few tips: 1. Do NOT leave out the lemons! They are what makes this cake interesting, and the provide a nice texture and tartness. Halve the lemons first and remove the seeds before slicing. Thank me later. 2. Don't worry if your streusel seems sandy in texture - the cake will rise "through" it amazingly and the stuff left on the top will cohere. 3. As mentioned above, perhaps cut the salt in the cake to 1 tsp
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Rating: 4 stars
09/28/2014
This cake is fantastic. It was the first time I was making a coffee cake and I had six guests for brunch. Everybody loved it and in order not to eat it all I gave half to my next door neighbour who enjoyed very much! Highly recommended!
Rating: 5 stars
05/05/2014
This cake is fabulous! I omitted the sliced lemons but followed the rest of the recipe to the letter. The ingredient ratios are perfect...yes, even the salt. (My husband is a chef and says home cooks are hesitant to use an adequate amount of kosher or sea salt--the only kind you should be using). The streusel topping seemed like a lot but the way it cooks in it's really just right. This cake was beautiful and exceptionally delicious. I served it at a brunch buffet and it was a huge hit!
Rating: 5 stars
01/12/2014
This cake is absolutely delicious ! I made it for a brunch today and several people said it was the most delicious cake of any kind they had ever eaten ! It is very flavorful with a real lemon tang, and a crusty streusel and a rich, moist, cake in between ! Definitely will make it again. I also did do a bit less kosher salt than recommended.
Rating: Unrated
11/10/2013
I made this yesterday and found it to be utterly scrumptious! I did make a few changes: I added less salt (as I was using regular table salt) in both the streusel and the cake; I also baked this in a bundt pan since I didn't have an angel food cake pan, so I ended up placing the streusel as a middle layer in the cake. The last thing I did was omit the meyer lemon slices. It was so good!! Nicely scented and sweet but in the right balance, with the icing. I'm making this again for sure! Yum!
Rating: 5 stars
10/27/2013
Martha Stewart has done it again. This is a wonderful recipe. I have a Meyer lemon tree and am always looking for new lemon recipes. The glaze on top adds a nice tang to the moist case. I have seen some comments about the salt.From what I've read, you should use around half the amount if using table salt instead of coarse salt. I think perhaps the other commenter who said it was too salty may have used table salt without reducing the amount.This is a wonderful coffee cake that I will make again!
Rating: Unrated
08/23/2012
I would love to try this coffee cake but getting the cake out of the pan per directions scares me. I think the cake would just fall apart while trying to get spatula's under it and then trying to lift it out. Has anyone done this with luck? Could a cheese cake pan with removable bottom be used instead or do you need that "tube" in the middle of angel pan to help bake the cake in the middle. Would appreciate any help before I try this recipe. Thanks
Rating: Unrated
05/27/2012
I'm from Israel, I don't believe we grow these kind of lemons here, but the recipe was so inviting that I made it with thin skinned oranges. It turned out amazing!!!
Rating: Unrated
04/09/2012
Made this for Easter and the family loved it, along with a New York Style Crumb Cake. Both were incredibly well received by my nephews! I was worried the lemon coffee cake would be a bit bitter but it actually had a nice taste (yes!!). Kudos to Martha yet again =)
Rating: Unrated
03/21/2012
Could I make this in a bundt pan? If so, what would I do about the topping....? I don't have an angel food cake pan! Thank you!
Rating: Unrated
02/26/2012
Very good. Leaves a slightly bitter, lemony taste in the mouth but not overwhelming. I only had salted butter so I used that. I eliminated all salt from the streusel, cut back to ~1t in the cake itself, and cut the streusel AND glaze recipes in half.
Rating: Unrated
01/14/2012
I think if you had trouble with the lemons you may not have sliced them thin enough. I followed the recipe, used meyer lemons and sliced them very very thin. Layered in the cake they just melted in and made it delightfully lemony!
Rating: Unrated
01/14/2012
I think if you had trouble with the lemons you may not have sliced them thin enough. I followed the recipe, used meyer lemons and sliced them very very thin. Layered in the cake they just melted in and made it delightfully lemony!
Rating: Unrated
02/13/2011
Thank YOU for the recipe and the flavor presented to me by my VALENTINE after she made this delectable cake! Wayne
Rating: Unrated
03/19/2009
I love this cake! Great show stopper....great flavor........everything great.....Been thinking about making this cake again since the first time I made it! And that was a week after I saw the show......I could not stop thinking about it....I just had to try it.....It proved to be great! I cant say enough! Except I am making it this weekend.....just cuz! Very pleased, Patty
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I was disappointed with this cake. The cake itself was wonderful. But, my meyer lemons must have been a little tart. The cake was kind of sour. I was careful to follow all directions. The streusel seemed to be not necessary. I doubled the glaze to sweeten up the cake. Making the cake in an a
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/17/2009
I had trouble with the lemons making the cake undercooked. I used Meyer lemons, and the cake was rather sour. If I made this cake again, I would make it in a 9x13 pan, with one layer of lemons on the top. The cake had a wonderful flavor, and I will use that recipe in other cakes. It seemed to have way too much streusel. This cake gets a mixed review from me.
Rating: Unrated
03/16/2009
Actually, Meyer Lemons are a winter fruit, easily accessible here in California.
Rating: Unrated
07/15/2008
Meyer Lemons are in season in mid-late Spring so don't bother driving yourself insane to find them. Cut the rinds and pith mostly off regular lemons. A food processor with the slicing blade makes beautiful thin slices that bake perfectly! I baked this cake, 3 days ahead of time, for July 5th breakfast at the cabin. Topped with glaze just before serving and the cake was still moist and extremely flavorful. Everyone loved it!
Rating: Unrated
05/25/2008
In Oz we don't have Meyer lemons (yet !) I used two mandarins two lemons and two limes instead. I zested the skins first then sliced in food processor for paper thinness and to eliminate the bitterness of standard lemon/lime rinds. I also used no fat yoghurt instead of sour cream .Yummy!
Rating: Unrated
05/25/2008
I made the cake using regular lemons. It tasted great, but next time after simmering the rinds, I would cut them into small bits using a scissor or knife. That way one could avoid the "surprise" of finding a much too large rind when taking a bite.
Rating: Unrated
05/17/2008
Looks like the Martha test kitchen ought to develop a similar recipe using regular lemons since Meyer lemons aren't as readily available as we are led to believe.
Rating: Unrated
05/17/2008
The area around the lemons leaves the cake looking raw in the center, even with more baking time. However, it needs less baking time. About 10 min less. Also, the Meyer Lemons were not available and I used the regular. It was very sour and the rinds were bitter. Next time I dusted them with sugar but still bitter. Today I am going to try it one more time with lemons cooked in a simple lemon syrup. Also, will cut with a razor so they are as thin as possible.
Rating: Unrated
05/16/2008
I need to know if one can buy these lemons in a store or where? I am not able to buy the tree and would really like to try this with to right lemons. Also, being one with diabetes, can I use subtitutes to cut fat and sugar? Thank You
Rating: Unrated
05/15/2008
I tried this cake last night, WITH REGULAR LEMONS. I have not had the cake with Meyer lemons, but the regular lemons were mighty tasty to me. It seems regular lemon rinds are thicker, so I would recommend chopping off some of that on the lemon before slicing. I liked the 2 layers of lemon in it, and didn't think it was overpowering at all. I really thought the lemon flavor came in with the glaze, which was yummy. I increased baking time to 20 minutes though. It needed it. Thanks MSL!
Rating: Unrated
05/14/2008
This is really good...a keeper. If you are pressed for time, the nice thing about this cake is that you can omit the lemon slices in the cake, and even the icing and strudel. But the strudel is yummy, and the lemon slices add a subtle complexity and freshness.My only comment is that one layer of slices in the middle is enough - you don't need two layers (a little overkill), thus less lemons needed. Area around slices tend to leave a slight rawness in batter and creates less height in cake.
Rating: Unrated
05/13/2008
That's what I want to know too. I too couldn't find them, so I'm going to be trying it soon with regular lemons. Wish me luck!
Rating: Unrated
05/12/2008
Has anybody tried to make this coffee cake using regular lemons in place of Meyer lemons? I am having difficulty findin Meyer lemons at me local grocer. Thanks in advance for the help. Linda