Sour Lemon Cake

2 6-inch round cakes

This sour lemon cake from "Martha Stewart's Christmas" makes a thoughtful food gift—if you can resist eating it yourself.


For the Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan

  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pan

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup milk

  • Zest of 2 lemons

For the Glaze

  • cup Cognac

  • cup lemon juice

  • ½ cup sugar

For Decorating


  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter and flour two 6-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with milk, mixing well after each addition. Stir in lemon zest.

  4. Place 2 3/4 cups batter in each prepared cake pan. Transfer to oven and bake until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly in pans; invert cake onto a wire rack.

  5. Make the Glaze: In a small bowl, mix together Cognac, lemon juice, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Brush glaze over cake and let cool completely. Serve with candied lemon slices and kumquats.

    sour lemon cake
    Rob Tannenbaum
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