Mark's college roommate, John Verderesee, whom we call Verdi, loves lemon cake; whenever there's something for him to celebrate, I make this cake. Over the years, I have added more and more lemon, and now, after adding still more, I am finally done. If you're using flavored yogurt, I suggest you use Stonyfield. Don't use a custard-style or gelatin-stabilized variety.
For a fancier presentation, bake the cake in two layer pans and spread purchased or, if you are determined, fresh lemon curd between the layers. Cover the whole thing with Seven-Minute Icing (page 184) and then with shredded coconut.
For the cake:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar (use 1-1/2 cups if using lemon yogurt)
3 eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup buttermilk or plain or lemon yogurt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (or for an icing, increase to 1 cup)
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat until light, fluffy, and light lemon colored, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition. Add 1 cup of the flour and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add H cup of the buttermilk, continuing to beat. Add 1 cup of the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat well.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the remaining H cup buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice, continuing to beat. Add the remaining 1 cup flour and beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and spoon into the prepared pan. Transfer to the oven and bake until light golden, about 45 to 55 minutes.
To make the glaze: Place the sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Set aside.
Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a rack. Prick the surface with a toothpick. Brush on the glaze and cool to room temperature. If using icing, let the cake cool to room temperature first. Cut into 12 to 16 pieces.
Copyright © 2000 by Sally Sampson