Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake




Cutting the lemon
the knife
leaves a little cathedral:
alcoves unguessed by the eye
that open acidulous glass
to the light; topazes
riding the droplets,
aromatic facades.

                    –Pablo Neruda


I’ve always loved lemon cakes. 

Back in the 1980s, I remember that the Miss Grace Lemon Pound Cake set the standard. Do you remember that cake? It was moist. It was beautiful. It was bold; the tart lemon flavor that infused the cake grabbed you by the lapels.

Recently, in the grip of a moment of nostalgia, I went online to see if Miss Grace cakes are still available. Apparently they are, but, according to Yelp reviews, customers aren’t altogether happy with the current iteration of the cake. And, a Miss Grace lemon cake costs $37.07 on Amazon (with a collectible gift tin!).

So, I set out looking for a cake that could live up to my sweet memories of the cake and one that could stay within my budget.

Here it is. If you like to pucker up with a jolt of lemon flavor, this buttermilk pound cake is for you!

The link to the original recipe appears at the bottom of this post.

Ingredients: Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

For the Cake
3 C. all purpose flour (spooned into a measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife, plus more for the pan)
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter (softened)
2 1/4 C. granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 C. buttermilk
2 T. grated lemon zest (packed)
2 T. fresh lemon juice

For the Syrup
1/3 C. water
1/3 C. granulated sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze
1 C. confectioners’ sugar
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 t. lemon zest (packed)
1 t. unsalted butter (melted)


Prepare your oven and your pan. The oven should be preheated to 325 degrees F. Your bundt pan should be sprayed with a generous amount of cooking spray (or buttered) and then should be dusted with flour. My cake was a little cranky about coming out of the pan once it was cooked, so I can’t emphasize enough the importance of properly preparing your pan and being careful when removing the finished cake from the pan.

Place flour, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl and whisk. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed (using the paddle attachment) until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the batter from the sides of your mixer bowl and then add the eggs one at a time. Beat the mixture well after each egg addition. Again, scrape down the sides of your mixer bowl.

Combine the buttermilk, lemon zest and lemon juice in another bowl. Set aside.

Turn your mixer on to a low speed and mix one quarter of the four mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. Then, mix in one third of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat until all the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture have been incorporated into the batter. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using your mixer, give the batter one last fast mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Use a spatula to smooth out the top of the batter.

Bake for one hour and five minutes at 325 degrees F. A cake tester should come out clean when the cake is done.

Remove the cake from the stove and cool the cake on a rack on your counter for at least ten minutes. I gave my cake about 20 minutes and loosened the cake from the sides of the pan with a knife. Take your time with this step.

While the cake is cooling, make the syrup by combining the water and sugar in a pan and bringing it to a boil. When the mixture boils, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Invert the cooled cake onto a wire rack, being careful to ease the cake out of the pan. (Keep your counter clean by slipping parchment paper or aluminum foil under the rack to catch the drips of syrup.)  Using a pastry brush, brush the cake with the hot syrup. The brushing should be done slowly so that the syrup has time to be absorbed into the cake before you brush on more syrup. Once all the syrup has been brushed on the cake, let the cake cool for at least one hour.

Finally, once the cake has cooled, make your glaze combining confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and melted butter in a bowl. Stir the glaze until it is smooth. Your glaze should be thick but pourable (the consistency of thick honey). You can add more sugar or lemon juice to achieve the right consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake and down the sides of the cake.


Here is the link to the original recipe:


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