Ina’s Lemon Cake Recipe
Rich lemon cake that tastes incredible with my favorite cream cheese frosting and raspberries!
It’s that time of year! And no. I’m not referring to wearing swimsuits and looking cool by the pool
I mean, far be it from me to tell you how to spend your time. But what I’m talking about is SUMMER FOOD!
The first lemony-berry recipe you must make are these Lemon Blueberry Scones. Or maybe these Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls (all that frosting!!). And don’t forget about this Strawberry Lemon Cake. It’s amazing.
But after that, you must come back and make Ina’s Lemon Cake with the most amaaaaaaaaazing cream cheese frosting. I topped it with raspberries, and next time I think I’ll layer raspberries on the inside too. Because lemon + cream cheese frosting + raspberries = EVERYTHING.
This cake is pretty stellar. That Ina knows her way around a spatula, know-what-I’m-sayin?
Things start out with this beautiful, thick batter filled with real lemon juice, lemon zest, buttermilk, and alllllllllllllll the butter and sugar in the universe.
Don’t be scared. Step away from the swimsuit.
Once that’s baked and cooled, the real magic happens.
Have you ever poured a simple syrup over your cakes before you frost them? I’m no cake maker, but I gather from watching the eleventy billion cake decorating videos on my Instagram feed that this is a fairly common thing to do.
But it was new for me! A sweet lemon syrup drenches both layers of cake, and it is BY A MILE, the best part of this cake. I have no other words. Just trust me. It’s ridunkulous.
So after the cake and after the lemon syrup goodness, comes the cream cheese frosting. It’s fairly basic, just your standard cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar frosting. But we’re also adding a splash of REAL lemon juice, and that’s the clencher. It brings all the elements of the cake together and perfectly balances the tart from all of the lemon.
You can bake this in two loaf pans (like Ina does), as a sheet cake, or in two 9-inch rounds like me. It’s a pretty versatile recipe, and it’s perfect for your summer eats!
Enjoy, my friends! Happy summer!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups sugar, divided
- 4 eggs
- lemon zest from 5 lemons
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and line with parchment paper two 9-inch round baking tins.
- Beat together the butter and 2 cups of the sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at a time. Add the lemon zest.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients, 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and the vanilla and mix well.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans, and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, make the simple syrup: over medium-high heat, mix together 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. Set aside.
- Make the frosting: beat together the cream cheese and the butter. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix in the vanilla and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
- When the cake has finished baking, use a fork to poke holes all over the cake. Divide the simple syrup between the two cakes and pour over top.
Assemble the Cake:
Once the cakes have cooled COMPLETELY, you can layer them with the cream cheese frosting. Keep refrigerated until 1 hour before serving.