Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sunshine Cake

If sunshine was cake, it would taste just like this. The bright flavors of lemon marry with butter and sour cream to create an amazingly tender and moist crumb. I wasn't kidding when I said that butter and lemon were made for each other--just like chocolate and peanut butter...Sonny and hair and black pants.

If you aren't in Southern California like me, chances are that you are very cold and it's probably also dark and dreary out, and you are spending your days slogging through constant mud, rain, snow or ice. This cake will cure you. It will remind you that warmth, and light, and the blessed sun do, in fact, exist and are coming...probably not soon enough, but coming. So run, don't walk, to your kitchen and turn on that warm oven and bake yourself some sunshine! You'll be glad you did.

And don't forget to leave a comment here for a chance to win some Fresh Sugar Lemon Bath and Shower Gel....then you can bathe with sunshine too!

Start with best quality lemons stolen from a neighbors tree.

Put some softened butter and sugar in your stand mixer.

Then beat the heck out of it for about 5 minutes, until it's light and fluffy.

Add your eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. And if your hands look as hideous as mine, go get yourself a manicure...or at least put on some lotion.

Use a microplane to zest your lemon. You do have a microplane, don't you? If not, stop here, run to your nearest kitchen store and get one. You'll thank me.

Add the zest, along with the juice from that lemon to the bowl and mix well.

If you are out of cake flour...or don't have any (and never did) that's okay. Add a some cornstarch (2 tablespoons of it per each cup) to the measuring cup before you measure out your flour. For this recipe you will use 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1 1/2 scant cups of flour. Put it in a small bowl.

Along with a pinch of salt.

And some baking soda.

Whisk it around to blend the dry ingredients completely.

Then add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.

Dump in some sour cream...I never said that sunshine was diet food, did I? Followed by the rest of the flour.

I forgot to add the lemon extract, so I dumped it in at this point. You don't have to use it, but it makes it taste even lemonier. Lemonyer? More lemonish. Or whatever.

Scrape the bowl clean with a rubber spatula and spread it in your loaf pan. Mine baked for almost one hour.

Test it with a toothpick to see if it's done.

Whip up the's made from butter, sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and powdered sugar. Yum.

Pour over your cooled cake.

Let it pour down the sides.

Want a bite?

Lemon Loaf Cake
Printable Recipe

This cake is moist, sweet and tangy and just bursting with bright lemony flavor. If you are out of cake flour, you can make a substitute by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch per each cup of flour. So for this recipe, use 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and a scant 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 8-10 servings


1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sour cream

Lemon Icing:

2 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a standard loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Mix in lemon juice, lemon zest and extract.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Add half to the batter and beat until combined. Then add the sour cream, beating gently, and finally the last portion of the flour mixture. Beat only until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir to make sure the batter is evenly mixed.

4. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

5. For icing, beat sour cream and butter together in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat in lemon juice and zest and drizzle over the cake. Store cake in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've made this twice (and LOVE it!) - but BOTH times, as it baked, the sides baked up, but the center of the cake didn't rise. Any clues what didn't work? Yes, I used cake flour, and yes, I had my eggs and butter at room temp. I used a glass bread pan once and a teflon bread pan on the second try. It still tastes great - just doesn't look as pretty as yours.