Monday, February 9, 2009

Ina Garten's Lemon Pound Cake

One of my favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen (, says this cake is one of the "top 10 that all good bakers should have in their repetoire". After making this, I can definitely agree! It's perfectly moist and the flavors are wonderfully balanced - it's not too tart, yet not too sweet. The hardest thing about making this cake was zesting all the lemons, and then waiting for it to finish baking and cooling. It's even better if you let it sit overnight, so that the lemon simple syrup distributes itself thoroughly through the cake. It travels well and would make a great gift for someone. Another wonderful thing about this recipe is that it makes 2 cakes. I took one of mine to a Bible study one night, then the next I took the other to a friends house for dinner. I served it with fresh raspberries and vanilla ice cream. If you are a veteran baker, or even if you're looking for a recipe that's great to try as a novice baker, this one is for you.

Lemon Pound Cake
Adapted from ”Barefoot Contessa Parties!” by Ina Garten


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted.

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/4-by-2 1/2-inch loaf pans, and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Cream butter and 2 cups sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Mixing at medium speed, add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest.
3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Divide batter evenly between pans, smooth tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
4. Combine 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.
5. When cakes are done, let them cool 10 minutes. Invert them onto a rack set over a tray, and spoon lemon syrup over cakes. Let cakes cool completely.
6. For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cakes, and allow glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Yield: 2 cakes.


  1. I LOVE this cake, I make it every year when Meyer lemons are in season. In fact, I'm making it this weekend!

  2. Sara, I have yet to try Meyer lemons. They're harder to find around here, but I am keeping my eye out! I am sure they taste wonderful in this cake!

  3. Looks so delicious. Your pictures are SO good Sarah!

  4. Thanks Priscilla! I think I am improving! Picasa has really helped, so thanks for that suggestion!