The Best Lemon Cake

Whether it's light or dense, frosted or glazed, the best lemon cakes always strike a perfect balance between tartness and the sweetness.  This is Maida Heatter's East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, and it is my go to cake for birthdays and special occasions. 

It's dense and moist, tart and sugary.  Every time I make this cake, I get so many compliments on it---and every time, I catch people sticking their fingers in the leftover glaze until every drop and crumb is gone.

Maida Heatter's East 62nd St Lemon Cake

The Cake:
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 8 oz. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Finely grated rind of 2 large lemons
The Glaze
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
After preheating the oven to 350ยบ, grease a Bundt or tube pan (photos of both are given--I think they're equally beautiful). Cream together the butter and the sugar, and then add the eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Alternate adding the milk and the dry ingredients until just combined, then stir in the lemon zest. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for around an hour (I always find it's about 50-55 minutes, but some versions of the recipe say longer). While the cake is baking, combine the ingredients for the glaze in a liquid measuring cup (to make the next step easy). When the cake has cooled enough to turn it out onto a plate (around 5 minutes), do so and pour the lemon glaze over it.  

Let the glaze soak into the cake and serve either that evening or in the next day or two. If you can manage to not eat it right away (I know I can't)--this cake gets better with age!

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