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Lemon Buttermilk Cake

This recipe has been around for a long time, due to its great flavor and ease of preparation. It may look ordinary, but it has an extraordinary rich texture and flavor! I like to cut it in small (1 1/2 inch) squares and serve two or three per person.

Lemon Buttermilk Cake

Makes a 13 x 9 inch sheet cake.


Cake Batter:

  • 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 3 medium lemons
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 c fresh buttermilk


  • 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar


Cake Batter:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Add the butter and zest to the dry ingredients and cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
  4. Add the eggs and buttermilk, mixing with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. Batter will be slightly lumpy and thick like biscuit batter.
  5. Spoon batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with a spatula. Tap pan on the counter to remove air bubbles.
  6. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven, and place it on a cooling rack. Let the cake rest for 10-15 minutes before glazing as below..


  1. While cake is resting, combine the juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; stir until sugar is dissolved, the resulting syrup is clear, and it has thickened a bit.
  2. Brush all of the syrup evenly over the cake, repeating until all the syrup is absorbed, and letting it soak in. If desired sprinkle more lemon zest on top.
  3. For ease of slicing, allow to cool completely, place cake on a cutting board, and cut with a sharp knife, cleaning knife between cuts. (This cake will store at room temperature for 2-3 days if well-covered.)


Note: Instead of using a 13 x 9 inch pan, you may divide the batter between 6 mini loaf pans, baking them about 20 minutes. These make a good holiday gift!


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