Lemon Cake with Lemon-Vanilla Glaze

by kitchenarian on June 21, 2012

Oh hey, how is your summer going?

I stepped out of the kitchen for a bit, but I am back. Where have I been, you ask? What could take me away from this? I didn’t intend to be gone for so long, but I got swept away with life. I spent March and April on the lacrosse field. Well, not really ON the field, but you know what I mean. Both my boys were playing this past season and it was my oldest boy’s senior year so I made a point not to miss a bit of it. I took thousands of pictures…want to see them?? haha – maybe later, right?

May always arrives with a bang as we hit the final stretch of school. We raced around to attend sports banquets, award assemblies, and end of the year parties after surviving the dreaded exams. In the middle of the craziness, I headed out on a quick road trip to pick Sous Chef up from school. Then there was graduation. My oldest son graduated from high school and we had a huge celebration. Two days after graduation, we headed off to Mexico!

Whew, so here I am. It’s good to be back in the kitchen. How have you been? Summer is in full swing here in Virginia with temperatures that are supposed to soar up to 100 degrees today. Ordinarily I would have found that to be a good excuse not to turn the oven on, but I have been itching to get back here, so I baked something light and lemony to beat the heat with. I love lemon desserts in the summertime. I have this theory that since they look cool and taste cool, they must make me cool.

I have made this lemon cake once before, but it has been a long time. For some reason, I thought of this cake a couple of weeks ago and have been looking forward to making it for you. The buttermilk makes for a denser cake, almost muffin-like, and the glaze is both sweet and tart. This is a cake you will love! The recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Stonewall Kitchen Favorites by Jonathon King, Jim Stott and Kathy Gunst.

Cake Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
¾ cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
½ cup canola oil

Lemon-Vanilla Glaze Ingredients:

2 tablespoons lemon zest (2 lemons)
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 8 inch cake pan and set aside. Zest one lemon in a small prep bowl and set aside. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and buttermilk. Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon zest. Gradually blend in the flour mixture until smooth. Add the oil and mix briefly. Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool slightly about 5 minutes.

To make the glaze, zest one lemon and squeeze 2 lemons for lemon juice. Add all the ingredients together in a small saucepan: lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently for about 4 minutes. Reduce to simmer and let cook for another 4 minutes until reduced and thickened.

Remove the cake from the pan and move to a large cake plate. Brush the top of the warm cake with the glaze. Wait five minutes & repeat. Glaze the cake until it’s saturated with the glaze. Save the remaining glaze to pour over each slice when serving. Serves 6 – 8



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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Esther June 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Glad you are back! This cake does look very refreshing and perfect for the hot summer. Have you ever used the dried buttermilk powder rather than the fresh buttermilk for baking?


kitchenarian June 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Hi Esther – I have heard of buttermilk powder but have never actually used it. I should definitely get some to keep around. Great tip!


CJ at Food Stories June 22, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Thx for connecting with me on foodbuzz. I just subscribed to your blog feed and can’t wait to see what your next post will be!


Sous Chef June 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Great to see you back in the kitchen! I plan on finding my own way back there too with you. Save some lemon cake for me 😉


Anita at Hungry Couple June 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

I love citrus flavored desserts in summer. Sounds yummy!


Abby June 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

Perfect summertime dessert, I like the glaze option too, then you don’t have goopy frosting melting away. (I’ve used powder buttermilk before, it works great! You mix it with water, and the package usually has conversions which is really helpful)


Amber June 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

This looks so refreshing, light, and tasty!


DB-The Foodie Stuntman June 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

You are brave, operating your oven in such heat. Congratulations on making the foodbuzz Top 9!


kitchenarian June 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Sometimes you have to be brave when cake is involved! haha Thanks for the kind comment.


Alix June 25, 2012 at 5:03 am

It’s good to have another recipe from you. Love the photos. Lemon is a favourite ingredient of mine. Will try this cake as my only other go to lemon cake is a palenta with syrup cake. I even have lemon essential oil in the car as it is a natural energy booster. Who doesn’t need that at 3pm when picking up the kids from school.


Beth Michelle June 25, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I love lemon cakes! This cake looks so delicious, especially with that glaze! Beautiful photos!


Deb July 1, 2012 at 10:47 am

I adore lemon desserts and your scrumptious cake is very appealing. Easy to prepare and lots of lemon flavor, perfect for a quick summer dessert. I imagine serving a slice of cake with fresh berries would be a happy pairing.


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