Maida Heatter’s East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

Lemon Cake 6


It’s strawberry season! Well, almost.

I bought a beautiful three pack of fresh strawberries at yesterday’s Long Beach Farmers’ Market. While the strawberries are not at their prime of sweetness, they are very good. Give them a look. 

What better to complement a beautiful bowl of sliced fresh strawberries that this adaptation of Maida Heatter’s much-lauded East 62nd Street Lemon Cake recipe?

Heatter is the daughter of famous “There’s good news tonight” WWII commentator, Gabriel Heatter, whose optimism in the face of some of the darkest hours of WWII got a lot of people through those awful times. She is a self-taught cook who won wide acclaim from the likes of Craig Claiborne, Jacques Pepin and Wolfgang Puck. Of Heatter’s culinary work, Pepin wrote: “solid stuff, the best of what’s done in America.” Heatter’s work in the kitchen won her several James Beard Foundation awards and resulted in a number of important cookbooks including the best-selling Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts in which she published one of her daughter’s recipes, the East 62nd Street Lemon Cake that I’m posting here.

The lemon flavor of Heatter’s divine cake is a perfect accompaniment for these beautiful strawberries. Add a dollop of whipped cream and you are in for a heavenly treat.

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

Recipe: Lemon Cake

3 C. sifted all-purpose flour
2 t. double-acting baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 pound butter
2 C. sugar
4 eggs
1 C. milk
Finely-grated rind of two lemons
1/2 C. lemon juice
3/4 C. sugar

Sliced Strawberries, Lemon Rind and Whipped Cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a bundt or tube pan and dust it with finely-textured bread crumbs.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl. Add sugar and continue to beat to thoroughly incorporate sugar into butter. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down mixer bowl as you go. Turn your mixer to its lowest speed and gradually add the flour mixture and the milk. (Add flour mixture in three parts and milk in two parts. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down sides of mixing bowl as you go.) Mix in lemon rind.

Your batter will be thick. Using a spatula, scoop the batter into your prepared pan.

Bake one and fifteen minutes or until a cake tester (or wooden skewer) comes out dry when you pierce the middle of the cake around the tube.

Mix lemon juice and sugar.

Remove cake from oven and immediately brush lemon juice and sugar mixture evenly all over the warm cake.

Let cool completely (preferably several hours or overnight) before serving. Garnish with sliced strawberries, slivers of lemon rind,  and dollops of whipped cream.

Cook’s Notes: This recipe makes a large cake. I’m thinking that, once a few days have passed, this lemon cake would work well in a trifle recipe. Stay tuned.

Here is the link to the original recipe:

Maida Heatter’s East 62nd Street Lemon Cake

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