A soft lemon cake with the essence of lemon, brushed with a lemon syrup and then topped with tangy lemon icing. A lemon lover’s cake for sure!
As I was making this Double Glazed Lemon Cake recipe last week, I was fully prepared for another normal birthday full of Facebook greetings and food. In my mind, I already imagined how my birthday on the 21st would end as usual: with a Happy Birthday song and a wish upon a birthday candle.
But my birthday this year was one for the books. It was literally the most eventful birthday I have had… Maybe ever. There were a lot of unexpected things that happened, and there were a lot of unexpected greetings as well. It might be because my birthday fell on a Sunday, but it almost felt like more people had time to join in on making the day extra special. I am sitting here writing all these things, heart feeling full, and having one of those times when words escape me. I am normally quite good at expressing myself, but I think it would be best if I allowed myself to just bask in the love from everyone for once. I feel beyond grateful and blessed; still feeling the afterglow two days later.
While it may be true that many other people have more to say about their 27 years on this earth than I do, I can’t say that my own life has been boring thus far. I have so many great memories. I’ve felt myself grow and mature and change over the years, while realizing at the same time who I am and who I can be. I have met and become close to some amazing people, and even learned to filter out of my life the people who aren’t worth even a millisecond of thought. I have learned the value of letting go. I have also learned to find happiness in the smallest and shallowest of things.
And the thing I am most proud of about my “growing up” is the ability to look at my mistakes and change myself. Doubts and insecurities will be a part of life forever, but I have always believed that God has a perfect time for everything. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over these past few years, it’s that I just have to trust the process.
Now that I’m done with what I have to say, let’s talk about this Double Glazed Lemon Cake. Cake isn’t strictly a priority for me on my birthday so I haven’t been consistently making cakes for my own birthday every year, but when I do, I make sure it’s a cake I will love. Luckily, my brother and co-birthday celebrator also likes lemon cake, and we both like it tangy and tart and just full-on lemon. Which is what I wanted to achieve with this cake, thus the double glaze. It is a double celebration too after all!
The cake itself is nice and fluffy because it’s made with whipped egg whites, and even though it has a great lemon essence because of the part where we rub the zest into the sugar, it is by no means lip-puckering tart. So I took it upon myself to make adjustments in the form of an extra lemon syrup that is brushed onto the cake while warm. And then for good measure, I added a very lemon icing and sprinkled some zest on top.
This cake gets better after it has had time to sit in the fridge and develop its lemon flavors. I made a very thin icing because I wanted more tartness than sweetness, and oh boy, this cake was fabulously lemon. Initially I planned to send half of it my grandma.. But we ended up eating it all haha! I always say every recipe I share here is delicious (because the bad ones don’t end up here, believe me) but of course you don’t have to take my word for it. This is a very easy cake to make!
Just a few notes before I let you go on to the recipe: Make sure your bundt pan is a 12-cup one because this recipe makes a lot of batter. Also make sure you grease and flour your bundt pan very well (every nook and cranny!) before pouring the batter in. It would be awful if after all your efforts the cake ends up ruined because it got stuck in the pan!
Double Glazed Lemon Bundt Cake
For the cake
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1½ + ½ cups sugar, divided use
- Zest from 4 medium lemons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup milk, room temperature (whole or low-fat is fine)
- 3 large eggs, whites and yolks separated
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- ¼ cup ½ stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of cream of tartar, optional but helps
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 1 or more lemons
For the lemon syrup
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, from about 4 lemons
- ½ cup sugar
For the lemon icing
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 5 to 6 teaspoons lemon juice, according to your taste
- Pinch of salt
- Some lemon zest
Make the cake
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and place your oven rack in the lower third. Grease and flour a 12-cup* bundt pan until all the nooks and crevices are coated.
- 2. In a large bowl, using your fingertips, rub together 1-1/2 cups of your sugar with the lemon zest. Rub until the sugar is moist and has taken on the fragrance of the lemon.
- 3. Add in the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda straight into the bowl. Whisk with the lemon sugar until well-combined.
- 4. In a medium bowl and using a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy. Sprinkle in a pinch of cream of tartar, if using, then increase the speed to medium-high. (I find it unnecessary to use cream of tartar for this.) While the mixer is running, gradually add in the last ½ cup of sugar into the egg whites. Beat until the whites are shiny and stiff peaks form. (You can also use a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.)
- 5. In a separate large measuring cup or medium bowl, whisk together thoroughly milk, egg yolks, oil, cooled butter, and vanilla.
- 6. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients, then pour in the lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Add in 1/3 of the stiff egg whites and stir to loosen up the batter. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites (spatula is recommended) until incorporated and the mixture looks light and airy. Do not overmix to avoid deflating the batter.
- 7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out the cake to cool completely.
While the cake is warm, make the syrup
- 8. Whisk together lemon juice and sugar until sugar has dissolved completely. Poke the cake all over with a skewer and brush the syrup generously onto the cake. (I used all of it.) Allow it to soak in as the cake cools.
Once the cake has cooled, make the icing
- 9. Whisk the sugar and the 5 teaspoons of lemon juice together. If you find the icing too thin, add more sugar. If you like a tangier but thinner icing, add the last teaspoon of lemon juice. You can adjust this according to your taste.
- 10. Once happy with the consistency of the icing, spoon it over the top of the cake, allowing the icing to drip down the sides. You may want to set a tray underneath your cooling rack to catch the drippings. Thicker icing will set with a solid white color while a thinner icing will be almost transparent. Before the icing sets, sprinkle with lemon zest for decoration. Let the glaze set for at least 15 minutes before serving.