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Coffee House Lemon Cake

January 23, 2021

I like a lemony cake. Not one with hints, or undertones of lemon, but one that sends a pow of delicious lemon flavor. Certain coffeehouse chains have lemon cake that is really yummy, but it’s made with lemon flavoring, also known as lemon extract. When I bake, I like to keep it real.

I’ve made many lemon cakes in my life, most missing the mark. While some had glaze on top, and others had frosting, or just powdered sugar, none of them were worth making a second time. Recently I found a recipe I couldn’t ignore. And it was made in the food processor! I love making a cake in the food processor. I feel like such a rebel!

So I went to work on the recipe. I changed it up a bit: increased the lemon zest ( yes, you need to buy a a microplane -pictured below- to zest the lemons with if you don’t have one), played with the amount of lemon juice needed, and perfected the glazing process.

Now my lemon cake is ready. The only problem is that you have to make your own coffee to go with it.


Coffee House Lemon Cake

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

For the cake

2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups Cake Flour (the red box, Swans Down)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/4 cups

granulated sugar

3 tablespoons grated lemon zest (about 5 lemons)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Glaze

1/4 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice



Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease a 9” x 5 “ loaf pan with baking spray. Line with a parchment sling.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a microwave safe bowl with a cover, melt the butter, 1-2 minutes.

In the food processor, process sugar and zest until combined, about 5 1-second pulses. Add the lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla. Process until combined, about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream. This should take about 25 seconds. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in 3-4 additions, whisking gently after each addition until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, lower the oven to 325º F and bake for an additional 40-45 minutes. The cake should be golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let the cake cool on a metal rack for 10 minutes. Grab the sides of the parchment and lift the cake out of the pan. Place on the metal rack until completely cool.


Mix the lemon juice and the confectioners sugar together in a small bowl until it forms a white paste. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake.


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