Lemon Snacking Cake with Lemon Glaze

This is the brightest and zippiest of lemon cakes and is a perfect last-minute addition to your Easter dessert spread, as it can be assembled and baked in less than an hour—and if you tuck it into the freezer briefly to quickly bring it down to room temp post-bake, you’ll be serving it soon after that. Sour cream is wonderful here, as it provides moisture and tenderness to the cake and its tang plays so scrumptiously with lemon. And there is lots of lemon packed into this little cutie, both in the form of zest and juice and a tiny bit of (optional) lemon extract. Cake flour makes for the lightest and most delicate of crumbs, and the sweet yet pucker-inducing glaze is the perfect finishing touch that zestily shatters with each delicious bite.

Lemon Snacking Cake with Lemon Glaze
Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
  • 1⅓ cups (267 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (9 grams) lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
  • ½ cup (112 grams) vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon (2 grams) lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams)
  • 1 large egg yolk (19 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) fresh lemon juice (1 to 2 large lemons)
  • ⅔ cup (160 grams) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 grams) baking soda
  • 1¾ cups (219 grams) cake flour
  • Lemon Glaze (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter an 8-inch square baking pan or spray with baking spray with flour. Line pan with parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides of pan.
  2. In a large bowl, place sugar; add lemon zest, and rub between fingers into sugar until incorporated. Whisk in oil, vanilla, and lemon extract (if using). Add egg and egg yolk, one at a time, whisking until combined after each addition. Whisk in lemon juice; whisk in sour cream. One at a time, sprinkle baking powder, salt, and then baking soda over mixture, vigorously whisking until combined after each addition. Sift flour over mixture, and gently fold with a flexible spatula until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a moist crumb or two, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
  4. Using excess parchment as handles, remove cooled cake from pan, discard parchment, and place cake on wire rack. Starting in center, gently pour Lemon Glaze over cake, spreading with an offset spatula so it drips over edges. Store, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.


Lemon Glaze
Makes ⅔ cup
  • 1½ cups (180 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) fresh lemon juice
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Use immediately.

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