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There's something about the fresh clean taste of lemon that makes it perfect for a spring cake. And the color yellow makes it an ideal cake for Easter, even if the coronavirus is keeping you segregated from your loved ones for dinner this year.

Think Easter eggs, yellow daffodils and tulips, and of course, lemons — the major player in a cake that gets hits of lemon three times. You'll find it in every bite. There's zest and juice in the cake, a clear soaking syrup that's brushed over the cake after two layers are sliced and made into four, and, finally, a creamy lemony cream cheese frosting that envelops the entire sweet package.

This cake is fluffy, and with sour cream in the batter, supremely moist. It's one of those cakes that you'll want to secretly return to the kitchen for a second slice.

I found the recipe at Taste of Home, and the accompanying photograph was something that looked as if it had been made by a professional pastry chef. Mine didn't turn out so pretty, but that was OK. Once slices were cut and on the plate, no one could tell it wasn't bakery beautiful. The taste is what counts, and this cake has it all. It's rich and sweet and tangy. And it's the perfect addition to finish off your Easter dinner.

The recipe advises leftovers — and you probably will have some left over this year. However, I found it to be a bit better left out covered and at room temperature.

 

Sour Cream-Lemon Cake

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

3 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup 2% milk

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Syrup:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

Frosting:

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter, softened

4 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2-2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

Lemon slices or edible flowers (optional garnish)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottoms of 2 greased, 9-inch round baking pans with parchment paper; spray or grease parchment.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in lemon zest and juice. In a small bowl, mix sour cream and milk. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream mixture.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 24-28 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove parchment. Cool slightly.

For syrup: While cake is cooling, combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Cool completely.

For frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth; beat in powdered sugar, lemon juice and salt until blended.

Using a long serrated knife or dental floss, cut each cake horizontally in half. Brush layers with warm syrup; cool completely.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with one cup frosting. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. If desired, top with lemon slices or edible flowers. Refrigerate leftovers, if desired.

Email Anne Braly at abraly@timesfreepress.com.

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Anne Braly

 

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